Road tests

New Porsche 911 Targa 4S 2020 review

The new Porsche 911 Targa 4S is lovely to look at and great to drive

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Verdict

It’s not cheap, but the new 911 Targa is a lovely thing to look at, is great to drive and in 4S guise also extremely rapid. We’re not totally convinced about the roof down refinement, which does seem to spoil the idea of having a Targa in the first place. But overall this is yet another winner from Porsche, who seems capable of doing very few things wrong nowadays, and in a way that justifies the price.

Created in the 1960s to compete in the famous Sicilian road race, known as the Targa Florio (the world’s second oldest race), the Porsche 911 Targa has long been a staple member of the 911 line-up. Not every new edition has been offered as a Targa but the fact that the new 992 model is here is surely cause for celebration, even if the Targa weighs more than the coupe and, in 4S guise, costs a relatively whopping £109,725.

For this, however, you do get the potent 444bhp version of Porsche’s latest turbocharged 3.0-litre flat-six engine, backed up by a strong 530Nm, which combined is enough to send the Targa 4S from 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds, or just two tenth faster with the Sports Chrono option fitted, as it was to our test car. Top speed is 189mph, so we’re talking about a genuinely serious high-performance car here.

The regular, non-S version costs a whisker less than £100k and gets a 380bhp motor, which is still enough to provide the 1,750kg Targa 4 with a sizeable hit of performance (as in 4.2 seconds from 0-62mph) plus a touch better economy than the 25.4mpg Porsche says you’ll get from our S version.

The roof itself is an all-electric affair, and it looks suitably theatrical when being raised or lowered, which takes all of 19 seconds. When it’s down a small aerodynamic winglet appears at the top of the screen to help smooth wind flow throughout the cabin, which works well. But if it’s not deployed – you can quite easily lean on it and press it back in by mistake when getting into and out of the car, for example – there is some major buffeting that invades the cabin at anything more than 30-35mph.

The Targa does look pretty breath-taking with its roof down however, and with the hood up it drives and feels very much like the regular coupe, with zero air rush coming in via the roof or the rear screen.

All Targas are four-wheel drive and benefit from the much improved cabin design of the regular 992. In the S you get a big 12-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dash that’s essentially the car’s control centre, with high-quality and also pleasingly intuitive navigation and media system with Android connection and Apple CarPlay as standard. The secondary TFT display just to the right of the main instruments is less successful however, with half the screen being obscured by the steering wheel rim.

On the wheel itself you get a refreshing lack of buttons to get confused by, but to the bottom right of the wheel is a small round button that allows you to scroll between the various different drive modes (normal, sport, sport + and so on) far more easily and readily than many other such systems. In its most comfortable mode the 4S rides – and just drives generally – with a surprising degree of refinement.

On a sunny day, hood down (winglet deployed…) it’s a remarkably relaxed thing to drive about in; with brilliant ride quality and a fairly muted engine when you’re just taking it easy.

Scroll through to Sport or Sport + though and the ride gets stiffer, the steering feels crisper, the standard-fit PASM system offering much more control of the 1,750kg mass at higher speeds, and the noise from the flat six goes up a notch too – although sadly the Targa S never makes a truly epic sound. Not like 911s of old once did, and that’s due solely to the emissions regulations that current 911s must adhere to.

No matter, because overall the 911 Targa 4S is still truly a delightful sports car to drive, or to be in, or to look at, even if it does suffer from a slightly curious aerodynamic issue with the roof down.

Model:Porsche 911 Targa 4S
Price £109,725
Engine 3.0-litre flat-six, twin-turbo
Power/torque:444bhp/530Nm
Transmission:Eight-speed automatic
0-62mph:3.6 seconds
Top speed: 189mph
Economy/CO2: 25.9mpg/247g/km
On sale:Now

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