Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet (2001)

Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet

With the auto market awash in "retro" designs, the Porsche 911 Carrera stands apart with an enduring shape admired by generations of enthusiasts. Pure and functional, the 911 profile has withstood passing design trends and remained fresh for decades. More than that, the 911 design has evolved into a signature for Porsche. The current-generation model - in coupe and Cabriolet forms - brings this classic shape into a new century.

Slicing Through Air

The Porsche 911 Carrera shape, though classic in profile, meets the air with a very modern and low 0.30 coefficient of drag (Cd). To gain high-speed stability without altering the 911 Carrera shape, Porsche designed a retractable rear spoiler. The spoiler raises at 75 mph (120 km/h) and retracts when speed falls below 50 mph (80 km/h). The driver can raise the spoiler at any time with a dashboard switch.


A smooth underbody design and various underbody panels guide airflow under the car for reduced drag and lift. In front and rear, small, flexible spoiler lips at the front of the wheel arches reduce drag and lift. The rear underbody cover guides airflow to the back of the car without impeding heat dissipation or access to the powertrain.

In the liquid-cooled Porsche 911 Carrera, Porsche installs the dual radiators in front, ahead of the wheels. Large ducts in the bumper feed cool air to the radiators, and warm air escapes just ahead of the wheels - assisted by electric fans when coolant temperature dictates.

The rear-mounted engine breathes through ducts under the rear spoiler. With the spoiler lowered, air flows through the spoiler grillwork. The raised spoiler helps improve airflow in and out of the engine compartment at higher speeds.


Porsche introduced the first 911 Cabriolet model in 1984. The open 911 quickly proved popular with Porsche devotees and helped attract new customers to the brand. The current Cabriolet roof lowers in 20 seconds at the touch of one console-mounted button, or by turning the key to unlock the door. When lowered, the roof stores beneath a metal body flap to preserve the car's sleek lines. The three-layer roof features a durable top layer and a rubberized center layer for noise and temperature insulation. Inside, a true headliner makes the car feel like a closed coupe, especially in terms of sound level. A wind deflector, included with the Technic and Advanced Technic option packages, reduces air buffeting with the top down.

Porsche includes an aluminum hardtop with the Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet as standard equipment. Customers can delete the roof for credit off the MSRP. Two people can install or remove the hardtop, which weighs 71 pounds (32 kg). Dual-layer construction minimizes wind noise. A headliner, glass rear window with defroster and an interior hat shelf give the hardtop-equipped car a true coupe ambience and feel.

Interior Blends Classic Design and High-Tech

The Porsche 911 Carrera interior echoes the "functional evolution" theme of the exterior. Soft-touch grain gives the interior surfaces a high-quality tactile finish. Aluminum-look trim adorns the side airbag symbols, handbrake release button and shifter knob. Cars with black upholstery feature seams and stitching in a contrasting color on the handbrake cover, seats and all visible leather-like features. Dual cupholders were added for model-year 2001.

Beginning with the 2001 models, all Porsche models feature new 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.

Previous 911 owners will feel right at home with the ignition switch to the left of the steering wheel and the gas pedal pivoted from the floor.

Instrument Panel

The large center instrument pod houses the tachometer and digital speedometer readout. On cars equipped with the onboard computer, this pod also contains the indicators for driving range, average speed and fuel consumption. The traditional analog speedometer to its left includes a digital odometer and trip odometer. The far-left gauge contains a voltmeter. The pod to the right of the tachometer contains the coolant temperature gauge, fuel gauge and oil level indicator. On Tiptronic-equipped cars, this pod also includes the gear indicator. The rightmost pod contains an oil pressure gauge.

The center console houses the climate control and stereo systems. On cars equipped with the optional Porsche Communication Management (PCM), the PCM screen and control panel occupy the upper section of the console, and the climate control system occupies the lower section. The PCM, which integrates Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) navigation, includes audio system displays and the cassette player.


The Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe and Cabriolet feature 2+2 seating, and the individually folding rear seats provide a versatile space for luggage.

Standard features include a power sunroof; automatic climate control with dust/pollen and activated charcoal odor filters; AM/FM cassette stereo system; power windows with one-touch up/down; partial leather seats with power recline; leather-covered telescoping steering wheel; remote locking system; anti-theft system with engine immobilizer; heated windshield washer nozzles and heated power sideview mirrors.

Custom Choices

Customers can build a custom Porsche 911 Carrera with optional equipment. Interior trim packages include "Leather," "Maple Burr" and "Carbon." Audio system choices include a single CD player or CD changer, a high-power 10-speaker audio system and digital sound processing. Various seating options - all of which can be combined with adjustable front seat heaters - include power lumbar adjustment and leather sport seats. As an option, customers can choose from among several special exterior paint colors and can even order paint and upholstery custom-matched to almost any color.

Optional Navigation System

The optional Porsche Communication Management system integrates controls and displays for Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) navigation, the audio system, onboard computer and climate control. A five-inch (diagonal) LCD color screen displays all functions.

For precise navigation, the PCM integrates navigation maps on CD-ROM discs (produced by Navigation Technologies), a GPS antenna mounted in the dashboard, ABS wheel speed sensors and a gyroscope. The system reads directions aloud and displays the car's progress via onscreen maps. The driver or passenger can enter specific addresses or various points of interest.

The onboard computer, which is also included as part of the Technic and Advanced Technic option packages, features displays for remaining driving range, average fuel consumption, ambient temperature and other functions.

Passive Safety

Designed for pure driving pleasure, the new-generation Porsche 911 Carrera also offers the utmost in passenger protection. The "Chassis" section details elements of active safety, including the racecar-derived brakes, advanced ABS 5.3 anti-lock brake system, as well as the Porsche Stability Management System (PSM) that's standard for the all-wheel drive Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and optional for the 911 Carrera.

Advances in passive safety - the ability of the car and its systems to protect the occupants in a collision - include a Porsche-patented design for front and rear impact energy absorption and dissipation, an extremely rigid passenger compartment and the Porsche Side Impact Protection System.

Because the term "crumple zone" has become commonplace in the auto industry, it's important to describe the Porsche-patented system. In a frontal impact, several defined energy paths direct impact energy toward the high-strength steel bulkhead and sidemembers. Front and rear crumple zones protect the extremely rigid passenger compartment.

Porsche arranged front impact protection in two tiers. The first tier includes the front lateral body shell members. The front longitudinal members and bulkhead crossmembers behind the luggage compartment form the second tier. The front-mounted fuel tank and fuel pipes lie outside the crumple zone. The rear crumple zone dissipates crash energy in a similar way, with the rear bulkhead designed to prevent engine intrusion into the passenger compartment.

Restraint Systems

Porsche has equipped all its cars with dual airbags as standard equipment since 1989. All Porsche models feature the Porsche Side Impact Protection System, which includes boron door reinforcement beams, energy-absorbing door panels and door-mounted side airbags. The 30-liter capacity sidebags provide protection for the chest and head, while the door panels provide protection for the pelvis. Airbags supplement the protection offered by the three-point seatbelts.

Child Seats

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

Rollover Protection

The Porsche 911 Carrera coupe models meet all applicable rollover standards. Cabriolet models feature their own system to reduce the risk of injury to occupants in rollover accidents, which includes extremely strong boron steel tube reinforcements inside the windshield header and A-pillars and a hidden automatic-deploying supplemental safety bar system. Spring pressure deploys the structure in a fraction of a second if a "tilt" sensor on the rear suspension detects full extension of one wheel (indicating that body tilt is lifting it off the ground).


Porsche has always built the 911 models to function in extremes - from comfortable (yet entertaining) everyday commuting to racetrack high-performance driving. The new-generation Porsche 911 Carrera extends those extremes, with a chassis that delivers even greater levels of performance and driving comfort than any 911 before.

The traditional rear engine location combines with the latest suspension and brake technology from Porsche to bring the 911 into the 21st century. Compared to the previous-generation Porsche 911 Carrera, the new-generation model features a 3.2-inch longer wheelbase to accommodate new crash structures and improve ride comfort and stability.

Body Structure

"Chassis" in a Porsche 911 has always meant unibody, or, for purists, "monococque." The 911 unibody incorporates welded box sections and bolt-on front fenders. Steel makes up the entire unibody structure in a 911, including high-strength low-alloy (HSLA) steel and boron steel for high-load and safety-critical areas.

Aluminum accounts for about 20 percent of the car's weight. However, Porsche uses aluminum mainly for the mechanical systems, including the engine, the transmission case, suspension components, brake calipers and wheels. The automaker believes steel provides the best combination of strength, safety, weight and repairability for the unibody and exterior body panels.

Porsche builds a small percentage of the Porsche 911 Carrera structure - the front bulkhead, rear inside sidemembers and rear floor section - using tailored blanks. Offering greater rigidity than large single pressings - especially for complex shapes - tailored blanks start as separate sheet steel pieces made from different thickness and qualities. Laser welding the pieces subjects them to little heat, producing one larger distortion-free "blank." Deep-drawing the blank produces a tailor-made panel of exceptional strength, yet low weight.

Porsche achieved significant gains in body stiffness with the new-generation Porsche 911 Carrera, increasing torsional stiffness by 49 percent and bending stiffness by 82 percent. These improvements contribute to the handling response, noise reduction and ride comfort.

Front Suspension

The Porsche-optimized MacPherson strut design uses an aluminum lower control arm, aluminum wheel carrier, aluminum crossmember, coil springs, twin-tube gas-charged shock absorber and a 23.1 mm (0.9-inch) diameter tubular stabilizer bar. The aluminum crossmember carries the lower control arms, diagonal steering arms and the rack-and-pinion steering.

The MacPherson strut design provides exceptional lateral and longitudinal rigidity with low unsprung weight. Negative steering offset helps stabilize the car under varying braking forces, including ABS intervention. The suspension geometry prevents brake dive.

Rear Suspension

The new-generation Porsche 911 Carrera models feature a refined version of the multilink suspension introduced on the previous-generation 911 models. The suspension components mount to an aluminum subframe, which itself provides lateral reinforcement and noise isolation for the unit body.

Five aluminum control arms locate each wheel - three lower arms (toe control arm, transverse arm and diagonal strut) and two upper control arms. Conically shaped, progressive rear springs mount non-concentrically around monotube shock absorbers (versus dual-tube shocks in the front). An 18.5 mm (.73-inch) stabilizer bar completes the setup. Suspension geometry prevents "squat" during acceleration.

The rear suspension features the "Weissach axle" toe-control concept - so named for its development at Porsche's Weissach, Germany, test track. During cornering, the toe control arms effect slight toe-in on the outside wheel. This self-steering response helps generate stable, neutral handling in the new-generation Porsche 911 Carrera models.


Derived from the Porsche GT1 racecar, the 911 Carrera four-wheel vented disc brakes use innovative one-piece "monoblock" brake calipers, which contribute to quick brake release for reduced heat and optimal brake pedal travel and feel. The monoblock design reduces unsprung weight because it does not require the connection bolts of a two-piece caliper. The four-pistons in each caliper vary in diameter to help prevent uneven brake wear. Porsche broke a 911 tradition with the brake and clutch pedals, suspending them from the dashboard rather than pivoting them from the floor.

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 x 24 mm). Cooling air flows to the front discs through two ducts and through guide spoilers on the longitudinal suspension arms.

The Porsche 911 Carrera features an anti-lock brake system (ABS) as standard equipment. Electronic brake force distribution, integrated with Porsche Stability Management (see later in this section) routes braking power to the wheel or wheels that need it most, depending on weight transfer.

Porsche Stability Management

To give the Porsche 911 Carrera the highest level of stability and another measure of dynamic safety on slippery roads, customers can order the advanced Porsche Stability Management system (PSM). PSM, already standard on the all-wheel drive Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and 911 Turbo models, replaced the previous optional traction control system on the Porsche 911 Carrera. The system is also available as an option for the Boxster and Boxster S models.

Simply put, PSM can detect any loss of grip at the front or rear wheels and prevent instability by applying selective braking - braking one wheel. On slippery roads, PSM can help keep the Porsche 911 Carrera going in the direction the driver steers. On the racetrack, PSM can lend a "helping hand" through the slalom and fast turns.

How PSM Works

PSM collects data from a steering angle sensor, lateral acceleration sensor and the ABS wheel speed sensors to determine if the car is heading in the direction the driver aims, at the speed the driver desires. If PSM detects any deviation, it attempts correction by applying an "opposite yawing moment." Translation: PSM nudges the car back on course.

PSM requires an electronic throttle ("drive-by-wire") because it may need to reduce or increase torque - not just apply selective braking - to help restore stability. Under such circumstances, PSM will first adjust ignition timing and then, if necessary, fuel flow.

The PSM system operates so quickly that most drivers likely will not feel it making 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.

A warning lamp on the instrument panel indicates when PSM operates. While confident in the system's ability as a dynamic handling aid, Porsche cautions drivers that PSM cannot counteract the laws of physics, such as gravity and friction. The driver should heed the light and adjust his/her driving technique.


Rack-and-pinion steering combines the benefits of light weight, quick response and excellent road feel that Porsche drivers demand. Unlike previous 911 models, the steering gear on the new-generation car mounts ahead of the front axle line, rather than behind it. This location improves steering response and feel.

The hollow steering rack reduces unsprung weight, while the hydraulic power assist eases low-speed maneuvering without compromising higher-speed response or road feel. A second power steering fluid non-return valve reduces susceptibility to road shocks.

The 16.9:1 steering ratio yields 2.98 turns lock-to-lock. A tight 34.8-ft. turning circle ensures outstanding maneuverability whether negotiating twisty, narrow back roads or parking garages. For driver comfort, the standard 15-inch (380 mm), leather-wrapped steering wheel telescopes up to 1.6 inches (40 mm).

Wheels and Tires

The Porsche 911 Carrera models come equipped as standard with 17-inch wheels in a "staggered" configuration - wider, lower-profile tires in rear. The front wheels measure 17 x 7 inches and mount 205/50 ZR17 tires; the rear wheels measure 17 x 9 inches and mount 255/40 ZR17 tires. An optional 18-inch wheel/tire package for both models features 18 x 7.5-inch wheels in front with 225/40 ZR18 tires and 18 x 10-inch wheels in rear with 265/35 ZR18 tires.

Liquid Cooled Boxer

The 3.4-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine that powers the Porsche 911 Carrera produces 300 horsepower at 6,800 rpm. With 258 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,600 rpm and at least 220 lb.-ft. available between 2,700 rpm-7,000 rpm, the Porsche 911 Carrera can accelerate from rest to 60 mph in just 5.0 seconds.

A horizontally opposed ("boxer") six-cylinder engine has powered every Porsche 911 model since the first one in 1965. Tradition alone could account for Porsche locating the boxer engine behind the rear axle line in the new-generation Porsche 911 Carrera. Yet, decades of experience on the road and winning races have proven the performance and durability of the "flat six" configuration and the effectiveness of its rear placement. Inherent benefits of a boxer engine include low vibration and compact packaging.

The new-generation Porsche 911 Carrera introduced the first liquid-cooled engine in a standard production 911 road car. To increase performance over the previous 911 while meeting long-term performance and durability requirements for emission controls, Porsche closed the book on air cooling. Compared to air-cooling, liquid cooling provides more consistent engine temperature control, contributing to greater performance and durability.

Liquid cooling allowed Porsche to use double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder for the first time in a 911 engine, lending a significant boost to volumetric efficiency. Yet, despite the added valvetrain components, the switch from air to liquid cooling also resulted in an engine package 2.75 inches (70 mm) shorter and 4.7 inches (119 mm) lower than the previous-generation air-cooled engine.

Liquid cooling also reduces oil capacity in the 911 by about a third to 10.8 quarts (10.2 liters). In the air-cooled engine, oil functioned not only as a lubricant, but as an "assistant" cooling medium.

Building Blocks

The 3.4-liter Porsche 911 Carrera engine uses a 3.78-inch (96 mm) bore and 3.07-inch (78 mm) stroke to yield a displacement of 3,387 cc (207 cu. in.). The complete engine, including the flywheel, weighs 394 lbs. (179 kg). With the Tiptronic transmission, the engine weighs 419 lbs. (190 kg), including the torque converter.

The Porsche 911 Carrera engine features a two-piece (vertically split) aluminum block (crankcase). The block holds the two-piece (also vertically split) aluminum bearing case, which feature nodular cast iron bearing shells. This construction technique reduces bearing clearance changes caused by temperature fluctuations, which in turn reduces noise. Oil spray jets inserted into the bearing case provide additional piston cooling. Multi-piece engine construction allows Porsche to cast oil and coolant passages into the block rather than drill them in later. That simplifies engine construction and reduces the chances of debris getting into the engine.