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The 911 Turbo Cabriolet has 520 horses under the hood. (Porsche)
The 911 Turbo Cabriolet has 520 horses under the hood. (Porsche)

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Porsche releases price and details about its new 911 cabriolets Add to ...

After the 911 Turbo’s unveiling in Frankfurt earlier this month, Porsche has decided to release pricing and information about its Turbo and Turbo S convertible versions, which are to debut in late November at the Los Angeles auto show.

Both models will come standard with the PDK seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, meaning it may become the first 911 Turbo Cabriolet to not offer a manual transmission. The Turbo and Turbo S models climb to 520 and 560 hp respectively, bringing factory 0-100 km/h times down to 3.5 and 3.2 seconds. That’s a barely noticeable 0.2-second improvement each, though owners are more likely to see and (perhaps) appreciate the possible 15-per-cent improvement in fuel efficiency, which now averages 9.9 litres/100 km overall for both on the lenient NEDC ratings scales.

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Granted, you’ll achieve nowhere near those figures if attempting to reach the Turbo S Cab’s top speed of 318 km/h.

New features and options on the droptop range-toppers include rear-wheel steering, available Burmester sound system and active aerodynamics, which the driver can adjust to maximize performance or economy.

The 911 Turbo convertibles will make their auto show debuts in L.A. on Nov. 20, 40 years after the original 911 Turbo was unveiled and 50 years after the first 911 came out. Porsche Canada announced this week that the 2+2 Turbo cabs will be available in early 2014, starting at $183,400 for the Turbo Cabriolet and $221,200 for the Turbo S droptop.

That’s pricier than the base prices of the equivalent trim levels in the United States, at $160,700 (U.S.) and $193,900 respectively, though the percentage difference has narrowed in recent years. But the ’14 Turbo S Cabriolet starts at $24,800 more than the base MSRP of the prior-gen 2013 Canadian Turbo S, suggesting that Porsche is rethinking this narrowing strategy, at least in its top-line products.

B.C. city mandates alternative fuel options at new gas stations

New gas stations in Surrey, B.C., will have to install either an electric vehicle fast charger, or at least one pump for fuel cell vehicles (using hydrogen), natural gas or propane fuelling infrastructure, thanks to a city bylaw implemented in Vancouver’s largest suburb.

The move was announced in mid-2012, but received a wide boost in attention in the green car and gasoline retailing world this week with word that at least one other B.C. city, Richmond, is studying similar measures within its borders in the next few weeks and months.

Surrey’s mandate on gasoline and diesel retailers is the first such city rule requiring alternative fuelling infrastructure, either right on the property of new or renovated stations, or off-site in the case of the DC quick chargers to encourage more convenient placements. Surrey is the second-largest city in the province, with more than 500,000 residents, while Richmond is at 190,000. The city of Richmond is collecting public feedback on a similar plan in the next few weeks to go along with its wide-ranging Community Energy and Emissions Plan that will submit proposals to city council by November for consideration.

Surrey only receives one or two new gas station applications a year, said a city report, so the implementation would be gradual at best. But the city envisions fast charging will make up the majority of these installations, even though it acknowledged that the increased costs may slow down redevelopment of older stations or the opening of new ones.

An environmental assessment by Surrey city staff found that EVs have the lowest overall [well to wheel] greenhouse-gas emissions by far, thanks to B.C.’s largely hydroelectric electricity and the zero tailpipe emissions of BEVs. It notes the challenges of greater infrastructure costs and different charging patterns of level-three charging, which takes between 20-30 minutes for an 80-per-cent charge, but still concludes the brightest potential of these four in the next three years lies with EVs.

“Despite these considerations, EV technology is arguably the most viable alternative fuel currently,” said the Surrey report to city council.

2014 Mazda3

Mazda bringing new 3 soon, then three more models

A former challenger for best-selling car in Canada, the redesigned 2014 Mazda3 officially goes on sale in October, to be followed by new versions of the smaller Mazda2, as well as two new crossovers, one of which reportedly will slot in below its popular CX-5.

The ’14 Mazda3 compact sedan will start at $15,995, the company recently announced, and will feature two engines that use its full suite of fuel-saving SkyActiv technologies, in a base 2.0-litre and an upsize 2.5-litre in GT versions. The six-speed automatic, that’s the slightly less thirsty option, is rated at 6.7 litres/100 km city and 4.7 highway, while the equivalent numbers for the 2.5 are as low as 7.1 city/5.0 highway when equipped with the optional capacitor-based i-ELOOP regenerative braking system.

Mind you, that fully loaded GT hatchback is listed at $25,855, which includes Mazda’s first heads-up display, and that’s before adding the Technology package that adds i-ELOOP, blind-spot warnings, lane-departure warnings and cross-traffic alerts.

Nuggets of info about future Mazdas are much less detailed, with British magazine Autocar reporting online that the Mazda2 is scheduled for replacement for 2014, the MX-5 sports car in 2015, and two new crossovers will arrive by 2016, according to Mazda president Takashi Yamanouchi. Presumably, the larger one would be a successor to the aging CX-9 seven-seater, while the smaller one would go up against smaller crossovers like the Nissan Juke and Buick Encore.

Children not belted in properly, says NHTSA

More than a third of children under age 13 killed in U.S. car crashes were not properly restrained, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said after examining figures in that country for 2011, either because they were not using booster seats, or not wearing a seat belt at all.

From 1975 through 2011, NHTSA estimates that approximately 10,000 lives were saved by child restraints for children under the age of five in passenger vehicles. The report cites a recent New Safe Kids Worldwide report underwritten by General Motors that suggested that one in four parents admit to driving with Junior improperly buckled in or not at all.

Laws vary across provinces, but child safety laws in Ontario mandate that children continue to use supplemental restraint and then booster seats until children are either eight years old or 80 pounds or until the child is 4-foot-9 tall.

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