Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet (2003)

Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet

The 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet combines the classic beauty of the 911 convertible with the superior all-weather traction of all-wheel-drive and the enhanced control of the Porsche Stability Management system (PSM).

"While the Carrera 4S gets the full Turbo-look, wide-body treatment, the Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet retains the elegant styling of the classic 911 Carrera," says Frederick J. Schwab, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America.

Fully automatic power top with integrated solid tonneau

The fully automatic power soft-top with glass rear window and integrated defroster on the Cabriolet folds compactly into a compartment behind the rear seats. A solid tonneau cover fits flush against the body with the roof lowered, preserving the sleek, uncluttered appearance. A removable aluminum hardtop with a heated rear window is included as standard equipment.

All-wheel drive

Based on the 911 Carrera Cabriolet, the Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet differs most in that its drivetrain powers all four wheels. It uses an all-wheel drive system based on a viscous multi-plate clutch located directly behind the front differential. Weighing only 120 pounds (54 kg), the all-wheel drive system in the Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet qualifies as one of the lightest such systems in the industry.

The all-wheel drive system directs 5 to 40 percent of the torque to the front wheels, depending on available traction and power applied. The viscous unit compensates for differing wheel speeds during cornering. While the Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet exhibits superior traction on all road surfaces, Porsche did not intend the all-wheel drive system as an all-weather traction assistant. The all-wheel drive system was designed to handle the unexpected curves and bends in the roads as Porsche racecars always have.

Porsche Stability Management

Porsche equips the 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet with the advanced Porsche Stability Management system (PSM) as standard equipment, and offers it as an option on the 911 Carrera. Using data from several sensor inputs, PSM can detect a loss of grip at the front or rear and reduce instability by applying braking to individual wheels and, if necessary, altering engine power.

On slippery roads, PSM can help keep the Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet going in the direction the driver steers. The PSM system operates so quickly that most drivers likely will not feel it make corrections. The driver can disengage PSM with a dashboard switch. However, for safety, PSM will engage under braking and then disengage when the driver lifts off the brake. While the system provides dynamic handling aid, Porsche cautions drivers that PSM cannot counteract the laws of physics.

Titanium-color exterior trim

Subtle exterior differences that distinguish the Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet from its rear-wheel drive sibling include plainly visible titanium-color brake calipers and a titanium-color "Carrera 4" logotype on the rear engine hood.

New digital radio for 2003

In 2002, the Carrera Coupe, Cabriolet and Carrera 4 Cabriolet gained a more powerful engine, strengthened body structure and updated styling cues. The only significant change for 2003 is the installation of a standard digital AM/FM radio featuring an in-dash CD player.

Designs enhance forms and function

The design changes were much more than cosmetic. The new front air intakes increased airflow to the radiators by 15 percent. Reshaping the radii of the front wheel arches and adding small, flexible spoilers ahead of the front wheels reduced lift at the front by 25 percent and at the rear by 40 percent. In addition, new air intake ducts enhanced front brake cooling, and a new under-floor duct enhanced transmission cooling by 20 percent.

The new headlight design designed from the 911 Turbo improved lighting performance.

Porsche also enhanced comfort and convenience. A standard onboard computer conveys information on an LCD display in the lower third of the tachometer. In addition to information about fuel consumption and driving range, the computer can display engine oil level, outside temperature and 35 different warning messages in plain text.

The remote entry system controls seat memory function when the optional power seats are ordered. The remote determines which of the four car keys is in use and transmits the information for driver's seat position and exterior mirrors to the memory control unit. Apart from the function provided by the four programmable keys, the driver can select two other seat positions via buttons to the left of the seat.

Optional parking aid with sensors integrated into the bumper covers can help prevent parking maneuver fender-benders by sounding an audible alert as the car gets closer to an obstacle.

315-horsepower engine

Thanks to Porsche-patented VarioCam Plus valve time and lift, the 3.6-liter "boxer" engine produces 315 horsepower (SAE) at 6,800 rpm and 273 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,250 rpm, with at least 236 lb.-ft. from 2,500-7,000 rpm, and at least 265 lb.-ft between 3,800 and 6,000.

VarioCam Plus not only adjusts camshaft position to provide continuously adjustable valve timing, but incorporates two camshaft profiles and two sets of tappets to vary both valve lift and duration, as well. The new system helps "fatten" and smooth out the torque curve, while helping to reduce emissions. The dual-stage resonance air intake system helps boost power and torque at midrange engine speeds.

Patented LOKASIL high-silicon cylinder liners help reduce friction and wear to such a level that Porsche can recommend a 15,000-mile (24,000 km) oil change interval and a 30,000-mile (48,000 km) oil filter change interval.

Choice of two transmissions

Porsche offers a choice of two transmissions: a precisely shifting standard six-speed manual and the optional Tiptronic S five-speed automatic transmission.

The Tiptronic S transmission is adopted from the 911 Turbo, which can handle greater torque output. The lock-up torque converter and shifting programs have been specially tailored to the naturally aspirated engine.

In automatic mode, Tiptronic S uses infinitely variable shift points to respond to the driving circumstances and the driving style. During leisurely driving, Tiptronic S will upshift early to provide a quiet ride and the best fuel efficiency. With quicker gas pedal action, the transmission responds by raising shift points to hold each gear longer for crisp response and power. The Tiptronic S transmission draws from among 250 different shift maps to provide optimal performance at all times.

Even while in automatic mode, the computer-controlled Tiptronic S responds like a driver working a manual transmission, downshifting or holding lower gears when cornering and driving on hills. Tiptronic S allows the driver to select manual mode by pressing an up- or downshift button, even with the shift lever in the "D" position.

Tight turning circle

The 911 Carrera and 911 Carrera 4 models share suspension systems. The four-wheel independent suspension features a Porsche-optimized MacPherson-strut design in front and a multilink setup in the rear, both with aluminum suspension components to reduce unsprung weight. Front and rear stabilizer bars and gas-charged shock absorbers provide flatter cornering. Standard power rack-and pinion steering yields a quick 2.98 turns lock-to-lock and a tight 34.8-ft. (10.6-meter) turning circle.

Tires contribute to neutral handling characteristics

A "staggered" wheel/tire array (wider wheels and wider, lower-profile tires on the rear) contributes to neutral handling. The standard aluminum alloy wheels measure 17 x 7 inches in front and mount 205/50 ZR17 tires; the 17 x 9-inch rear wheels mount 255/40 ZR17 tires. The optional 18-inch wheel/tire package further enhances the already sharp handling. The wheels measure 18 x 8 inches in front and 18 x 10 inches in back; tires are 225/40 ZR18 in front and 285/30 ZR18 in.

Race-proven brakes

The 911 Carrera models stop with four-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS 5.3 anti-lock control. Derived from the Porsche GT1 racecar, one-piece brake calipers reduce heat and unsprung weight. The front discs measure 12.5 inches in diameter and 1.1-inch thick (318 mm x 28 mm). The rear discs measure nearly as large at 11.8 inches in diameter and 0.95-inch thick (299 mm x 24 mm). The cross-drilled rotors dissipate heat to maintain braking performance and brake feel even under hard usage. (Porsche requires brakes to provide 25 consecutive full-force stops without fade.)

Safe by design

With the high performance potential of the Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet comes a high level of occupant protection. A patented crumple zone body structure protects a reinforced passenger compartment. Supplementing the three-point inertia-reel seatbelts are seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters. All new Porsche models include dual front airbags plus the Porsche Side Impact Protection System that includes boron-steel door reinforcement beams, energy-absorbing door panels, and door-mounted side airbags. The 30-liter capacity sidebags provide additional protection for the chest, head, and pelvis.

In the 911 convertible models, the boron-steel reinforced A-pillars and windshield header combine with automatic-deploying supplemental safety hoops to reduce the risk of injury in the event of a rollover accident.

At a customer's request, a U.S. Porsche dealer can install a system that deactivates the passenger airbags when a U.S. Porsche-approved child seat is used. The system features a cross brace with belt lock in front of the passenger seat. Buckling the special child seat into this brace deactivates the airbags. To install the system, the dealer also must reprogram the airbag control module.

Communicating at the speed of light

Porsche's new Communication Management system (PCM) comprises tuners, CD player, navigation system, and trip computer, all linked through Media-Oriented Systems Transport (MOST) digital databus. The MOST system incorporates light-wave conductors that exchange data between the individual components without loss of quality and at ultra-high speeds.

PCM includes a 5.8-inch color screen with its 16:9 aspect ratio and 12-position keyboard for easily and efficiently entering radio frequencies. The system assures excellent audio quality.

The navigation module provides such features as road junction zoom-in, dynamic navigation to avoid congestion, map scrolling so you can see beyond your current position, tour planning with the ability to memorize as many as eight destinations in a row and a CD-ROM system that can be used for the navigation system or for music.

Comfort and convenience

Reflecting its evolution into a grand touring sports car, the 911 Carrera models come with many standard luxury features:

  • Digital AM/FM cassette stereo system with in-dash CD player
  • Anti-theft system with engine immobilizer and alarm
  • Automatic climate control with dust/pollen and activated charcoal odor filters
  • Heated power sideview mirrors
  • Heated windshield washer nozzles
  • Leather-covered telescoping steering wheel
  • On-board computer
  • Partial leather seats with power recliners
  • Power windows with one-touch up/down
  • Remote locking system

All Porsche models feature light-emitting diode (LED) interior orientation lights. One LED provides gentle illumination of the cockpit and center console. An LED on the driver's side door handle illuminates the ignition lock and light switch, and an LED illuminates each door latch.