2014 Porsche 991 Carrera 4 Targa

Price new/now: £86,377/£96,413Engine/power: 3.4-3.8 flat-six/345 -395bhp0-60/Top speed: 5.2-4.6 secs/173-183mphNumber produced: Still in production

With the introduction of the 991-generation Targa earlier this year, the story has come full circle. This new model combines all of Porsche’s latest engineering skill, in terms of performance, handling and in-car technology, with a design that pays homage to the 1966 original.

Like the 997 model, the latest Targa features four-wheel drive as standard – there’s no rear-drive option – and it’s offered in Targa 4 and more powerful Targa 4S forms. The Targa 4 comes with a 345bhp 3.4-litre flat-six engine, while the S model is pumped up to 395bhp and also gets a wider track front and rear for even more focused handling.

Whichever version you choose, you’re guaranteed to have a smile on your face, as the latest 911 is one of the best handling cars money can buy. Fast, direct steering, sure-footed grip and a well balanced chassis mean the 991 is far more user-friendly than its predecessors, while the flat-six engine uses the latest direct-injection technology to deliver acceleration that belies its compact size.

While performance is the 991’s forte, the Targa adds some extra visual drama to the mix. Porsche’s designers have turned back the clock and reintroduced the distinctive silver roll hoop and black roof section last seen on the 964-era machine.

What’s more, they’ve added some of the design flourishes seen on the 1966 original, including the three ‘gills’ on either side of the roll hoop, as well as the trademark Targa script.

However, rather than go the whole hog and return to a manually removable top that you can stuff in the nose when you want the wind in your hair, the latest Targa has a new, electrically operated trick up its sleeve.

Press a button on the dash, and the entire rear glass section, along with a fair portion of the bodywork, lifts in the air, while the roll hoop splits and rises to allow the centre section to fold and collapse out of sight. Then the roll hoop returns to its usual position, and the rear glass drops back into place, leaving a clean rear deck and no sign of the folding top. 

The end result is a roofline that’s very similar to the original 911 Targa’s, and a car that’s arguably more interesting to look at than its full convertible cousin.

The whole process to get the top down takes around 19 seconds, but unlike its immediate predecessors, which had panoramic glass that could be operated while on the move, the complex mechanism means you can only perform this party trick at a standstill.

However, with such a complex movement, you’ll probably want as many passers-by as possible to stand back and watch in amazement as the roof mechanism does its thing.

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