BOLZANO, ITALY It's eighteen degrees Fahrenheit. Factor in the wind chill, and it's red-nose, red-ears, red-runny-eyes cold. But on a day like this and in a car like this, who cares? After all, we're in Porsche's new, 355-hp Carrera S convertible, meandering from Bavaria to Italy, searching for the sun, which in mid-January tends to be a very capricious star.
Just before noon, we approach the summit of the snow-covered Passo Giovo. Officially, the road to Merano is closed at this time of the year. Unofficially, however, a big Steyr snow plow has cleared the top section all the way to the Caf Luna, so we have five miles of virginal S-bends, dips, and crests all to ourselves.
The picturesque twisties are mainly second-gear stuff, taken at 40 to 65 mph. The Sport mode for ultrasharp throttle response, the full 7300 rpm on hand, and the PSM stability control cut it almost too fine for highly strung nerves. On the narrow, slippery, and uneven pavement, the prime worry is not excessive oversteer but terminal understeer.
The cumbersome hard top, which used to be standard equipment, is now an option. The wind deflector, on the other hand, which was an extra, is now included in the virtually unchanged list price. Do we need it? No. Erect, it looks like the mechanical equivalent of Vidal Sassoon's full-strength hair spray.... Read full article