The 911, pronounced ‘nine eleven’, has become an iconic automotive design that is globally recognized and associated with the success of Porsche. For this reason, they stuck with the form and found ways to modify it without upsetting their loyal fans. So, in 1966, they decided to make a semi-convertible 911, with a section of the roof that could be removed, and called it the Targa.
This added some flair to the design and gave drivers a more engaging experience with the road. There was a big concern, which was the safety of the driver, if the vehicle rolled over. For this reason, the company placed a roll bar behind the front seats.
More than half a century later, the Targa is still going strong, as Porsche finds a way to incorporate it with each iteration of the 911.
The version I tested was the 911 Targa 4 GTS, and the best way to explain it is that it’s like a Porsche 911 Carrera super sports car. I say this because Porsche has a very complicated naming system for all of its models and despite my endless research I sometimes get confused with the names of the different versions.
This color is called Shark Blue and it is sure to turn heads as the black roof contrasts this color in a gorgeous way. Form-wise, everything remains the same, as expected, except for the use of LED-Matrix Design headlights.
The interior evokes a youthful exuberance that only a sports car of this magnitude can achieve. It’s the leather seats with the blue seatbelt and button layout that make the interior resemble an airplane cabin, as opposed to a car.
The black leather seats are sculpted and serrated to wrap around the driver’s torso and upper back, and the Porsche badge is embedded in the headrest.
On the dash is the Porsche Communication Management system, which is a 10.3-inch touchscreen that looks like an extension of the screen that displays the gauge cluster.
The version I tested was an eight-speed PDK transmission, controlled by a gear selector, which looks like a key fob. Behind this are the switches that many drivers will fall in love with, they control the roof and this is where the fun begins.
The tested model had a 3-liter twin-turbo engine that produces 473 horsepower at 6,500 rpm, giving it an adrenaline rush. Every time I stepped on the gas, I heard the engine roar through the exhaust pipe. My only regret is that I didn’t get the manual version, as these vehicles are meant to work in every possible way.
It comes with an all-wheel drive system with 20-inch wheels, wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tyres, at the front and 21 at the rear, to ensure the car stays on the road with no body roll when cornering. The standard steel brakes are extremely responsive in a way that’s very distinctive from a regular sedan, bringing the car to a stop quickly and convincingly. I was surprised when I found out they weren’t carbon ceramic as these were the only brakes I expected to work like this.
The steering wheel has excellent weight and the overall feel of the vehicle is robust and agile. When in sport mode, you can feel the steering tighten up a bit and the suspension get a bit firmer, helping to deliver optimum performance.
Of course, when in this mode, the ride is very steady and it’s not practical to be driving like this all day. In this way, the driver can switch the suspension back to comfort mode, where it has a greater damping effect.
It’s hard to drive a Porsche and have a bad experience, as these vehicles are precision built. They always feel like you’re driving a race car because of their speed and handling capabilities. And that’s the thing with Porsche, they have a simple formula and they stick to it.
Engine: 3.0 liter flat 6 cylinder with twin turbocharger
Torque: 420 pound-feet of torque between 2,300 and 5,000 rpm
Horsepower: 473 horsepower at 6,500 rpm
Transmission: AWD, 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
Fuel tank: 17.6 gallons
Body type: Coupe
Vehicle provided by ATL Motorsports, 876-754-0013, [email protected]