The last three generations of Porsche 911 Targa have been little more than Coupes with a glorified sunroof but this latest 991 model is taking inspiration from the 1965 original, complete with silver rollover hoop and proper open air motoring.
Say you’ve just shelled out £100,000 for your new Targa, you’d be a little disappointed to have to remove the roof panel yourself – as the 49-year-old original required – so Porsche has made it fully electric. When the car is stationary, the glass rear screen moves up and out, the metal hoop splits and the roof panel slides backwards and sits above the engine. About 19 seconds later and the rear windscreen is back in place and you’re free to set off with the roof down.
But that sounds a lot like a 911 Cabriolet, doesn’t it? It does, but the early signs are that buyers like the Targa for its retro appeal and its style. In the metal, it’s a gorgeous car and certainly more interesting than the standard Cabriolet – we can definitely see why the Targa looks set to win the aesthetic argument.
The roof is complicated, and as a result it’s heavy; this car is 40kg heavier than the equivalent Cabriolet and 110kg more than a 4S Coupé. In our manual car, that means 0-62mph takes 4.8 seconds – three-tenths down on the 911 hard-top.
We’d go for the PDK box, though, which better suits the laid-back Targa and knocks 0.2 seconds off the 0-62mph sprint. The 3.8-litre flat-six’s accustomed urgency at low revs is missing in the Targa, and that’s down to the long gearing and extra kerbweight. Often you’ll think fourth should suffice at 40mph, but you’ll pin your foot to the floor and find third or second would’ve been better.
Porsche has recalibrated the suspension settings for the Targa and the fact that the handling feels just sharp and involving, proves that the tweaks have been a success. In corners, little of the 911’s handling magic has gone missing, but you’ll notice a bit more roll and less grip. This is, though, still one of the finest-handling cars on sale.
The Targa is only available with 4 or 4S models and Porsche’s latest four-wheel-drive system is the best yet. You get an element of extra traction in the wet and a little bit of help from the front wheels and torque vectoring system in the bends but this is a car that still feels rear-wheel drive.
If you’re looking for a 4 or 4S 911 convertible – there are no rear-wheel-drive Targas – then we’d pick a Targa over the Cabrio. It looks great, it’s more comfortable without sacrificing
too much in the bends – and, as a bonus, it’ll cost you around £650 less.