Except that, of course, in this case, it’s a bit of a bluff. Beneath the Targa lies generally the same roof mechanism as the the 911 cabriolet’s, only it’s a bit heftier even than that.
Where the cabriolet’s rear panel swings up and the boot folds below, the entire rear window and roll hoop lifts on the Targa, before the roof panel stows beneath it. Porsche calls the folding and unfolding a spectacle.
Read the Porsche 911 Targa 4S first drive
Porsche’s people are not wrong, but it’s a spectacle that can only be enjoyed when the car is stationary, and one that takes a full 20 seconds. The machinations add 40kg even to the cabriolet’s weight, making it 110kg heavier than the coupé, and its size requires the extra width of the bodywork fitted, as is traditional, to four-wheel-drive 911s.
So the Targa comes as a 4 or 4S only (4 here, incidentally), is vastly heavier than the coupé and yet isn’t, to my perception, massively less desirable than either the coupé or the cabriolet. Call me shallow, but
that’s how I see it.
The Jaguar doesn’t require you to be stationary before its lid does its thing. And I’ve come to rather like how you can drop the roof as soon
as you enter a 30mph zone, below which speed it’s happy to go up or down.
On a cold motorway commute, popping the roof down as you enter your home town, putting the exhaust into grumpy mode and listening to the crackles for just a few minutes adds vastly to enjoyment of the F-type, I think. And I don’t think
that you’d bother doing the same
in the Targa, not least because its rear-slung 3.4-litre flat six engine doesn’t deliver the same urgent aural thrills as the supercharged 3.0-litre V6 in the Jaguar.
Not that it’s without relative merit. The 911 makes peak power, 345bhp of it, at 7400rpm – sports car revolutions. The Jaguar’s all done by then, its peak output, 375bhp, made at 6500rpm. You might argue that there’s something more ‘sporting’ about the Porsche’s gearbox, too: a seven-speed PDK auto that adds £2298 to the Targa 4’s £86,377 price.
Read the full Jaguar F-type review
But the truth of it is that, although PDK has come of age in this generation of the 911, dealing with upshifts with seamless ability and revving on downshifts as accurately and positively as it ought to, there’s not a great deal wrong with the
hook-up of the Jaguar’s eight-speed
Granted, there’s less smoothness as it shifts up, particularly on part-throttle around town, but the
lock-up occurs almost as soon as you’re rolling, so there’s precious little ‘slush’ about what we’d have once called a slushmatic. Besides which, it’s standard and makes the Jaguar look like conspicuously good value at £67,535. This is not a typical twin test for that precise reason.
Pitching the Targa against a rival isn’t totally straightforward, after all. It deliberately occupies a place where, around it, there aren’t too many rivals. But the truth is that both of these do more or less the same job and the chances are that, if you can afford one, you can afford the other; depending on spec, they’ll most likely be a couple of hundred quid apart and about £1000 a month.
The Targa goes some way to justifying its extra price by, despite occupying much less road space, being the vastly more practical car of the two. It has vestigial rear chairs, in which a child or a mate on the way home from school or the pub respectively will gladly sit to stay out of the rain.