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Engine options, speed, acceleration and refinement

The extra mass of that folding roof doesn’t seem to weigh the 911 Targa down at all – either subjectively on the road, or objectively against the stopwatch.

Our PDK-equipped test car was aided by Porsche’s launch control system, but even once away from the line, it continued to go hard enough to satisfy all but the most demanding sporting purposes and tastes.

If you're moving, don't expect any commotion when you hit the button to activate the roof. All the car will do is beep at you

Hitting 60mph from rest in 4.3sec and 100mph in 9.8sec makes the car faster on both counts than the considerably more powerful Mercedes-Benz SL 500 and fully 2.3sec quicker to three figures than a F-type coupé V6 S. Not bad for Zuffenhausen’s softer option. The new twin-turbo engines give the 911 Targa even more flexibility meaning it may not rev as freely as before but its powerful is far more exploitable lower down.

Porsche’s bigger flat six gets going much sooner than the 3.4 we sampled in the standard 991 coupé two years ago. It has enough torque to make the Targa 4S feel as fast as most will ever want in give-and-take situations and, at the same time, it sounds deliciously pure and unfettered at medium and high crank speeds.

It’s one of a dwindling number of quality-over-quantity powertrains left, even among true sports cars, but that said, it’s a true hard-hitter as well.  

The PDK automatic 'box is excellent and capable of delivering more precisely timed shifts than you ever could in a manual. But it’s still at its best in paddle-shift manual mode. Left in Drive – even when you select Sport mode, sometimes – the gearbox can be a touch slow and clunky kicking down.

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It also isn’t always quite as smooth as a torque converter auto might be around town. Neither is a serious demerit, but both foibles are just present enough in the general driving experience to be noticed.

And, you’d guess, a Targa driver might notice them more often than the average Joe.