From £90,2408
Slick looks, open-top fun and 911 handling sound brilliant, but the Targa has historically trailed the Coupé. How does the new model fare on UK roads?

Our Verdict

Porsche 911 Targa

A poseur's boulevardier it may be, but with a turbocharged engine does that change the recipe?

  • First Drive

    2016 Porsche 911 Targa 4S review

    Slick looks, open-top fun and 911 handling sound brilliant, but the Targa has historically trailed the Coupé. How does the new model fare on UK roads?
  • First Drive

    2015 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS UK review

    Suffers a little for its added weight and broadness-of-remit. A fine sports car - but not such a fine example of the modern 911 breed

What is it?

In recent years, the Porsche 911 Targa has never quite been held in the same high regard as the lighter, cheaper 911 Coupé. The mysterious lack of the Carrera name – officially present on the Cabriolet and Coupé models but missing on the Targa – and the fact that the Targa isn’t offered with rear-wheel drive in the UK, even seems to suggest that Porsche itself see this variant as a touch more lifestyle purchase than sporting substance.

However, with the new turbocharged engines now at the heart of the range, it seems this may be the best opportunity that the Targa has to redeem itself. After all, it’d be fair to expect the low-down torque to conceal the extra 90kg it weighs (over the Coupé) better than before, although the circa £9k premium it commands still stings a bit, and handling has always been the bigger bone of contention with the Targa, rather than its performance.

Regardless, the appeal of the Targa is writ large in its retro-fantastic looks, and you’d have to be pretty lifeless to not enjoy a 911 with the roof off. This being our first go in the new 911 Targa 4S in the UK, it’s the perfect opportunity to find out if it’s upped its game. 

What's it like?

It’s unlikely that anybody would be disappointed. To say that this doesn’t handle quite as well as the Coupé, or even to a lesser extent, the Cabriolet, is a bit like saying that Michaelangelo’s David isn’t quite as impressive as his job on the Sistine Chapel, but it’s true nonetheless.

Get the weight on the nose, and the Targa 4S turns in with fluid precision before hunkering down and booting you out of the corner with prodigious grip levels. For all the much-debated foibles of the electrically-assisted steering, its weighting and fair sense of connection still leaves you in no doubt as to what’s going on between tyre and Tarmac. Despite not having the optionally available rear-wheel steer or active anti-roll bars, the Targa feels keyed in and worthy of the 911 badge.

For all that – and in part because of the lack of those extras – it does feel more inclined to understeer and a touch sloppier through corners, falling short of the incisive precision of the Coupé.

The ride is well judged, though. That extra weight hasn’t corrupted it, and while it’s still a firmly sprung car that delivers the inevitable short-travel bobbing and bucking over scruffy surfaces inherent in that, its damping takes the sting out of all but the worst ruts and leaves you generally unflustered.

Performance remains of a senior supercar level, too. The official 0-62mph time of 4.0sec (when fitted with Sport Chrono and switchable modes) is 0.2sec behind the hard-top C4S, but predictably the 3.0-litre turbo’d engine still has the low-down urgency and long-revving potential that makes the performance so accessible and fun, if - we'll say it again - not quite as good as the naturally aspirated engine it replaces. The seven-speed PDK gearbox fitted to our car is also as rapid-fire precise as ever.

The interior of the Targa is the same as that in other 911s, meaning you get an immaculate finish, mostly logical switchgear layout, the new 7.0in colour touchscreen and two cripplingly uncomfortable seats in the back for people that are better reserved for bags.

Drop the roof, which has to be done when you’re stationary and with plenty of space behind to allow for the sizable rear section to lift and extend backwards, and you’re well protected from buffeting even at higher speeds. With the roof up, refinement is also virtually on a par with the Coupé.

Should I buy one?

Well, if you wanted the fresh air factor then we'd say that the identically priced and – oddly – slightly sharper handling Cabriolet is a better bet. Or, the much cheaper Coupé remains our 911 of choice in any other situation. Which leaves the Targa still trailing in the 911 stakes. Sure, if you love the looks and the open-top lifestyle, the Targa will make you tingle in all the right ways. Even so, it'd be our last choice of 911. 

Porsche 911 Targa 4S PDK

Location: Surrey; On sale: Now; Price £102,072; Engine 6 cyls horizontally opposed, 2981cc, twin-turbo, petrol; Power 414bhp at 6500rpm; Torque 369lb ft at 1700-5000rpm; Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic; Kerb weight 1675kg; Top speed 187mph; 0-62mph 4.0sec; Economy 35.3mpg; CO2 rating & BIK tax band 184g/km / 33%

Join the debate

Comments
17

27 April 2016
But can't you get 2 spec'd up Porsche Boxsters for the same money OR a spec'd up Boxster and a Volvo XC90, which in my book makes this car look overpriced.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

27 April 2016
Aren't most cars overpriced?????

27 April 2016
xxxx wrote:

But can't you get 2 spec'd up Porsche Boxsters for the same money OR a spec'd up Boxster and a Volvo XC90, which in my book makes this car look overpriced.

You could probably buy ten small hatchbacks instead of this Porsche but that is not what any potential buyers would consider. Porsche makes desirable cars that people are willing to pay a high price for.

27 April 2016
Campervan wrote:
xxxx wrote:

But can't you get 2 spec'd up Porsche Boxsters for the same money OR a spec'd up Boxster and a Volvo XC90, which in my book makes this car look overpriced.

You could probably buy ten small hatchbacks instead of this Porsche but that is not what any potential buyers would consider. Porsche makes desirable cars that people are willing to pay a high price for.

10 small hatches, - bad example, why would anyone want 10 small hatches for person use. Willing to pay, yep but in this case it's to higher price IMO.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

27 April 2016
Boxster is not the same thing as 911 though.

No manual - no fun

27 April 2016
To my eye this the best looking 911 in a very long time. If I had the money to buy one, I don't think I would be concerning myself with the fact I could buy a Boxster and an XC90 for less.

Do Ferrari 488 buyers worry that they could buy 2 911s for less money?

Citroëniste.

27 April 2016
Bob Cholmondeley wrote:

To my eye this the best looking 911 in a very long time. If I had the money to buy one, I don't think I would be concerning myself with the fact I could buy a Boxster and an XC90 for less.

Do Ferrari 488 buyers worry that they could buy 2 911s for less money?

Don't know, article and comments are about this particular Porsche. It’s my observation and preference so I’m not sure why you feel the need to question it

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

27 April 2016
xxxx wrote:
Bob Cholmondeley wrote:

To my eye this the best looking 911 in a very long time. If I had the money to buy one, I don't think I would be concerning myself with the fact I could buy a Boxster and an XC90 for less.

Do Ferrari 488 buyers worry that they could buy 2 911s for less money?

Don't know, article and comments are about this particular Porsche. It’s my observation and preference so I’m not sure why you feel the need to question it

What's the point of posting if you feel that people shouldn't question what you write?

What makes you think that anyone would want to subsist on a meagre diet of your unchallenged banalities?

27 April 2016
beechie wrote:
xxxx wrote:
Bob Cholmondeley wrote:

To my eye this the best looking 911 in a very long time. If I had the money to buy one, I don't think I would be concerning myself with the fact I could buy a Boxster and an XC90 for less.

Do Ferrari 488 buyers worry that they could buy 2 911s for less money?

Don't know, article and comments are about this particular Porsche. It’s my observation and preference so I’m not sure why you feel the need to question it

What's the point of posting if you feel that people shouldn't question what you write?

What makes you think that anyone would want to subsist on a meagre diet of your unchallenged banalities?

HAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHA HAHAHHAHAHAHAHA


28 April 2016
beechie wrote:
xxxx wrote:
Bob Cholmondeley wrote:

To my eye this the best looking 911 in a very long time. If I had the money to buy one, I don't think I would be concerning myself with the fact I could buy a Boxster and an XC90 for less.

Do Ferrari 488 buyers worry that they could buy 2 911s for less money?

Don't know, article and comments are about this particular Porsche. It’s my observation and preference so I’m not sure why you feel the need to question it

What's the point of posting if you feel that people shouldn't question what you write?

What makes you think that anyone would want to subsist on a meagre diet of your unchallenged banalities?

What is there to question. To demonstrate that I thought it was expensive I said I'd rather have a Boxster, XC90 and some change, there's no facts to question. It's what I'd rather have with over a £100,000. "unchallenged banalities" emm said like a true fanboy

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

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