It's easy to forget that Porsche has a long and illustrious history with topless cars but the 911 seems to have been unfairly exempted from that lineage. You'd have thought that a bloodline going back over quarter of a century would cut the 911 Cabriolet a little slack but there are still many who think a topless 911 is a 911 that's been butchered. Thing is, these folks tend not to have driven the latest 911 drop tops. In its current 997 guise, the Cabriolet models are simply excellent and lose vanishingly tiny quantities of dynamic purity to their hard top siblings.
To put this car into perspective, we first need to wind the clock back to 1997 and the introduction of water rather than air cooling. The model that ushered this change in was the 996 generation (latter day Porsche models having a three number 'code' to denote their model type. For example an early Boxster is a 986, a late one a 987 in Porsche speak). The '996' marked a shift in Porsche's development of the 911 range.
The 996 also did enormously well for Porsche and survived fully seven years before the model we examine here, the 997, was launched. Where the 996 was revolutionary, the 997 is more an evolutionary finessing of the 996 theme, tidying up the styling, imbuing the car with a higher quality, more technologically dense feel and adding even more exciting models to the mix. The Cabriolet models debuted in December 2004, with both two and four-wheel drive variants in both standard guise and more powerful S trim. A six speed manual gearbox was offered as standard with the later option of a Tiptronic S auto transmission. The range was augmented in summer 2007 with the addition of the Turbo Cabriolet.
In mid-2008, Porsche announced a revised range featuring their new Direct Fuel Injection (DFI) engine. Buyers could also specify the revolutionary PDK semi-automatic gearbox, offering manual pleasure with automatic convenience. There were also a series of very subtle styling changes. These included larger rear view mirrors, newly-designed 18-inch and 19-inch wheels and new lights featuring LED technology.