Originaly published: 2014-04-18, From Edmunds.com
Read the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet’s introduction to our long-term fleet.
See all of the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet’s long-term updates .
What We Got
Porsche makes it easy to customize your new car. Nearly anything is possible, but it all comes at a price. We wanted a 2013 Porsche 911 for as little money as possible, and we struggled to locate a car to satisfy our wants, yet stay below our mental cap of $100,000.
The base price for a 2013 Porsche 911 was $83,050. But there were must-have features for our ideal version of the new 991 series. First, we wanted the Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) seven-speed auto-clutch manual. This was the volume-selling transmission, so it made sense. Our hearts were set on the 400-horsepower 911 S, but the budget guided us to the more affordable, 350-hp, 3.4-liter flat-6 of the base Carrera. We started shopping.
This sale needed to happen before year’s end, so there wasn’t time to order a car. We utilized the car-buying concierge services of AutoNation Direct. It was soon able to find us a car for the price we wanted. The proposed car had Agate Grey Metallic paint ($710), the Premium package ($2,940), PDK transmission ($4,080), 20-inch Carrera Classic wheels ($2,730) with the Porsche crests ($185), ventilated front seats ($840), satellite radio ($750), the SportDesign steering wheel ($490) and the Sport Chrono package ($2,730). It was as close to what we wanted as was out there. Sticker was $109,745 but we got it down to $98,045 for our 2013 Porsche Carrera Cabriolet with the aforementioned options. The car was delivered the same day on a flatbed trailer. Our test was under way.
“The harder you drive it the better it feels. Its 3.4-liter flat-6 isn’t a torque monster around town, but keep it over 3,500 rpm in the hills and the 911 storms from corner to corner, and with the top down the soundtrack from the rear-mounted motor will give you goose bumps. But it’s the Porsche 911’s brakes and grip that really impress. Overheating the brakes seems impossible and even rough patches in the pavement don’t upset the chassis.” — Scott Oldham
“As much as I’d prefer that our long-term 911 was equipped with the conventional manual gearbox, I have to acknowledge the brilliance of its PDK transmission. It really is the best dual-clutch gearbox in production today. Not only does it shift imperceptibly smoothly, the gearchanges occur in what appears to be no time at all. These characteristics are no surprises, and they’re ones we’ve come to expect from competent, modern dual-clutch gearboxes. Where the PDK stands above the rest is its manners, intuitive programming and quick reflexes. Unlike many other dual-clutch ‘boxes, with PDK there’s no low-speed nonsense, no clunkiness, and during three-point turns it swaps between ‘R’ and ‘D’ and back immediately.” — Jason Kavanagh
“There’s a layer of snow on the road and it’s about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. I turn off my Baseball Tonight podcast and focus on driving well. The 235/40R19 (front) and 285/30R19 (rear) Pirelli Sottozero Series II snow tires we put on prove their worth here. There’s plenty of grip, and the only time I need to do any extra steering is when I hit a patch of straight-up ice, which happens a few times…. Overall, though, I feel confident and relaxed, or as relaxed as you can be on a narrow, slippery mountain road where no one would find me for days if I went off.” — Erin Riches
“As far as the ride goes, it is on the stiff side. Sure, it’s a sports car and all, but I just drove a Corvette ZR1 not too long ago that pulled over 1.0g on the skid pad and delivered a plush ride on the highway, too. Speaking of Corvettes, I noticed that the shape of the seats in our 911 isn’t all that different from those found in the current Corvette. Funny then, that the Porsche’s seats are supremely comfortable and supportive, while the Chevy’s chairs are a blubbery mess. It’s all in the details, I guess.” — Ed Hellwig
“One thing I haven’t disclosed yet is that I dislike our 911 convertible’s driver seat. The seatback is nicely contoured and very supportive, but no matter how I adjust the seat-bottom cushion, I can’t go more than two hours without getting uncomfortable. Using cruise control helps a little but not enough.” — Erin Riches
“This past weekend my family used our 911 more like a minivan than a supercar…to the Honda Center in Anaheim to see How To Train Your Dragon …to my daughter’s basketball game, out for fro-yo, to the pet food store, to the movies, to Home Depot and, wait for it, to Staples for some new printer ink cartridges. Turns out my daughters (age nine and seven) fit snugly in the Porsche’s backseat. And it turns out that every other mom and dad at the basketball game wishes they too had a 911 Cabriolet. No shock there. In the sea of crossovers, SUVs and minivans, the 911 stood out like Kate Upton at an Oldham family reunion.” — Scott Oldham
“As I was pulling into the airport I started questioning how smart a choice the 911 convertible was. And how much luggage my mom would have. Turned out it wasn’t a problem at all. I flipped down the two rear seatbacks to form a shelf for her large checked suitcase. And put her trumpet bag (she’s a professional musician in her spare time) and backpack up in the front trunk, or frunk.” — Mike Monticello
“Everything that makes the 911 great on a track or on a mountain road makes it great in NYC. You can squeeze in the smallest gaps. You can beat everything off the line. And because pedestrians think you’re a banker who already doesn’t care about people, pedestrians and bicyclists have some sort of internal fear/respect for a Porsche on the streets of N.Y. Best of all, the new 19s take a lot of the crashiness out of the suspension. If I didn’t get a flat here, I was convinced I wouldn’t get one for the next 3,000 miles.” — Mike Magrath
Maintenance & Repairs
Routine service is scheduled at 10,000-mile intervals for the 911. So we weren’t very surprised when the onboard maintenance minder lit up with 10,000 and 20,000 miles on the odometer. We averaged $582 per visit.
We spent more out of pocket to keep the 911 afloat. On two separate occasions sharp, pointy objects bested our defenses, requiring tire patches at $30 apiece. The third time was a charm, as a pothole cut the sidewall. That cost $660 for a new tire. Add $90 to mount and dismount snow tires. We’ll call it $1,975 to maintain our Porsche for a year.
One recall was issued during our test. It addressed a detaching tailpipe issue . Our car was not updated while we owned it.
Two warranty repairs were made to our 911. One was the replacement of the tank leakage diagnostic module . The other was the installation of new adjusting motors for both exterior mirrors.
Fuel Economy and Resale Value
Observed Fuel Economy:
Combined EPA fuel economy was 23 mpg combined (20 city/28 highway) for the 911. We averaged 21 mpg, with a best single tank of 31 mpg. The best single fill-up took us 511 miles before the 911 pleaded for fuel.
Resale and Depreciation:
We paid $98,048 for our 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet, a reasonable discount from its $109,745 MSRP. After one year and 23,000 miles, Edmunds’ TMV ® Calculator valued the car at $82,740 based on a private-party sale. When neither CarMax nor a local Porsche dealership could offer us what we wanted, we listed the car on AutoTrader.
Ultimately, our 911 found a new home in Pittsburgh . The car sold for $81,000 and just 17 percent below our paid price. We hope the new owner has as much fun with it as we did.
Pros: PDK transmission is brilliant, dynamic performance is top-notch, solid feel to all the controls, unflappable brakes, surprising utility, capable of 500 miles on a single tank of fuel, resale value is remarkably high.
Cons: Ride is stiffer that many of its competitors, not everybody loved the seats, button-heavy interior design, high maintenance costs.
Bottom Line: As much as you might covet the Carrera S with a manual transmission, this 911 is still a superb sports car with the base engine and PDK automatic. It’s not cheap, but it’s not necessarily overpriced either.
Total Body Repair Costs:
Total Routine Maintenance Costs:
$1,163.84 (over 12 months)
Additional Maintenance Costs:
Replace adjusting motors on both exterior mirrors, replace tank leakage diagnostic module
Replace pothole-damaged tire
Scheduled Dealer Visits:
Unscheduled Dealer Visits:
Days Out of Service:
Breakdowns Stranding Driver:
1 for tire damage requiring a tow
Best Fuel Economy:
Worst Fuel Economy:
Average Fuel Economy:
True Market Value at service end:
$82,740 (private-party sale)
What it Sold for:
$17,048 (17% of paid price)
Final Odometer Reading:
Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
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