Porsche 911 Targa 4s

Totally smitten!

"Targa in Italy means license plate"

"Interior is distinctly Porsche with classic layout and premium fittings"

"Equally attractive when it’s a fully open convertible or a closed coupe"

"Is it a daily sports car? The answer is a definite YES!" said Ershad

Time and again we repeat: "Back to basics." While I’ve kept myself busy sorting out a big list of Porsche 911s, this is a spot for a very special car. Let me introduce the all new Porsche Targa which made its world debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. Being a German, it would not want to lug an Italian badge, but that is our story here. "Targa" in Italy means "license plate", and to add even more drama, think about one of the oldest sports car racing events called Targa Florio, which was discontinued in 1977 due to safety concerns. Now in its third generation rollout, the model has its own tale of ups and downs.

Initially launched as a traditional drop top variant in 1965, the model got into showrooms after two years. Porsche had to sort out the American safety legislation who wanted to outlaw full convertibles. The solution was a simple tweak: an addition of a fixed rollover hoop which proved successful. After a break, Porsche 993 Targa joined the lot with glass that spanned the entire roofline. Moving forward, today we find one of most beautiful Porsches in town.

Exterior
Our tester Targa 4S dressed up in a Sapphire blue metallic color was a show off piece; equally attractive as a fully open convertible or a closed coupe. The live concert lasted for about 19 seconds, thanks to the super complex roof top setup. The robotic show looks really complicated with big panel movements back and forth, and only works while in a stationary position. When the switch in the center console is activated, the rear glass screen hinges up and backwards, the roof panel slides rearwards and lands above the engine, while the metallic rollover hoop remains fixed in place.

The model is based on the current Carrera 4 with extended rear axle and wider tires. The structure looks solid and the model comes with a four wheel drive system only. There is full LED headlights with Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus (PDLS+) for night visibility. The highlight, however, is the wraparound rear window and a nice silver "hoop" behind the driver's seat. Our test car was equipped with attractive black painted 20 inch Carrera S wheels and sports twin exhaust pipes. In short, I see a nice vintage coupe with an option of convertible.

Interior
Interior is distinctly Porsche with a classic layout and premium fittings. We see leather seats in black with a seat heating and ventilation option, a sport design steering wheel, center console and vehicle key-trim paint, good looking floor mats and auto dimming interior/exterior mirrors. The five round instrument clusters under the steering with the rev counter in the middle are eternal, and the high resolution 4.6 inch color screen displaying navigation instructions fits in easy. Steering was in a well-balanced position with a power steering plus option. To settle in, there is a 14 way fully electric sports seat with memory package and on the top of that, there’s a Porsche crest embossed on the head restraints.

Drivetrain
Targa 4S delivers 400 hp from a 3.8 liter flat 6 cylinder positioned low down at the rear of the car. Torque ticks 440Nm at the rate of 5600rpm. It runs on a 7 speed dual-clutch PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung) automatic transmission.

Driving Impressions
With a flat 6 inside, Targa was quick to respond with refined Porsche clatter. Handling felt sharp and involved because of the recalibrated suspension setting done for Targa. We had a quick exciting round in the city, especially with the paddle shifters on play. With PDCC (Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control) on, the body tightens up and behaves quite direct on every turn and corner. The car has one of the most powerful naturally aspirated engines in the Porsche range but we need to know how it’s going to cope, particularly knowing that it’s heavier than a standard Carrera.

The engine is made out of light-alloy making it structurally rigid, but the car is still heavier than a Carrera or a Cabriolet partly due to the rooftop setup. This may have been the reason that Porsche opted for the safe all wheel drive system. Brakes are strong and striking. We could see red six piston mono-block aluminum fixed brake calipers at the front and four piston aluminum mono-block fixed calipers at the rear. Road grip is there and I think it’s due to wider wheels and torque vectoring system that do well on corners. With the roof down and accelerator pushed hard, you neglect to find anything wrong with the Targa - thanks to the lovely sports exhaust note

Verdict
At the end of the day, we wanted to know if it could be a daily use sports car and the answer is a definite yes. Why not? There’s no risk with an AWD setup so no worries about powertrain and control. The retro design means it’s easy to make out the Targa. The ride is direct, quick and responsive. The roof top mechanism works only when the car is stationary and it takes you about 19 seconds, but hey, isn’t that worth the wait? We are smitten, totally!

Pros: Retro design, good punch and handling, exhaust note, good rear visibility, attractive roof top mechanism
Cons: Time consuming roof mechanism
Rivals: Jaguar F-Type Convertible, Chevrolet Corvette, Mercedes-Benz SL, Audi R8 Spyder, BMW 6 Series Convertible, Ferrari California
Engine: 3.8 liter flat 6 cylinder, 400 hp, 440 Nm
Transmission: 7 speed dual clutch PDK, AWD
Performance: 0-100 kph: 4.8 sec, 10 L /100 km, Top speed: 296 kph
Curb Weight: 1575 kg

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