The Porsche badge is considered the best sports car in the world, and for good reason. Even those who don’t take much liking the brand will admit that a basic 911 is a good car. If you disagree, my suggestion would be to go with an open mind and drive one. With such a rich history in car making and motorsport, it would come as no surprise that one of the more exclusive and prettier looking models would have a difficult birth and good story, and for that, you can thank the United States of good old America.
When the 911 was introduced for the first time in 1963, Porsche was always looking to make a convertible version and while doing so came across a problem in one of their biggest markets. While the car did well all over the world, the Americans weren’t so convinced on the safety of a drop-top 911 in a roll and crash, which during the mid-sixties, threatened to ban convertibles. To solve this, Porsche removed the B-Pillars and replaced it with a silver rollover hoop-bar and a fold-down rear screen. The best compromise ever right? Brushed aluminium and cloth trim, while still having a true open-top experience while complying with safety rules. It was such a hit that over the next 55 years Porsche went on to perfect this design as their own and have the Targa as one of their best selling 911s.
The name Targa came from celebrating Porsche’s victories in the Targa Florio road race, and for 2020 Porsche completes its sports car trio with the other variants being the Coupé and Cabriolet. Featuring all the new tech and design elements of the new 992, the Targa name brings the classic and iconic look and feel to the modern-day 911.
The big changes from the previous Targa are in size and tech, all carried on from the current generation 911 Carrera. The chassis is now stronger and the body is all aluminium equals to a 45 mm wider car than its predecessor, making it more visible on the outer sections of the car. While it remains almost identical to the current 992 convertibles, the visual focus of the Targa models is shifted towards the middle of the vehicle. The roof or Targa part of the car consists of two moving parts, a soft top and a glass rear window which can be opened and closed in just 19 seconds.
Powering the new Targa is one of Stuttgart’s best 3 litre, 6-cylinder engine ever. The new twin-turbocharged boxer engine found in all-new 992 models comes two power derivatives of 283 kW (385 PS) for the 911 Targa 4 and 331 kW (450 PS) for the 911 Targa 4S. If you are concerned about the sound this car makes at this point, have no fear. The new Targa has a new standard exhaust system and includes a map-controlled variable exhaust flap. A sports exhaust for a more aggressive soundtrack can be fitted. The Targa is also now fitted for the first time with the new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission (PDK) for a smoother and faster gear change experience, but for the purist, the news gets better. Available as an option is a seven-speed manual gearbox.
So what is the big deal with the Targa anyway? It seems to be identical to a current 992 Carrera apart from a few minor things and only being available in all-wheel drive. While that is true, the Targa is all about the experience, something that isn’t found in many cars these days. While most are prone to technology and efficiency and making a kinder experience to the environment, much of which Porsche are a part of, the Targa adds the human element of enjoyment, sound and mother nature without taking away driver thrill.
The new Targa slots perfectly in the model line up for the best of both worlds in the new 911 range. It is not as simple as the standard 992 coupé, yet not as dramatic as the full convertible version either. A touch of class is added with the glass back roof and while the traditional aluminium hoop-bar reminds you that history is not forgotten for the compromise of tradition.