Porsche’s bumf describes the opening and closing of the Targa’s roof as a real spectacle. That it is. The problem of stowage - inherent in the car’s shape and glasshouse - is solved by a magic show of motors, pivots, supports, panels and gizmos. There’s plenty of time to admire Porsche’s ingenuity, too; the packaging process takes almost 20 seconds - easily long enough to make you nervous of attempting it while sat at traffic lights.
There’s no cheating either in this regard. So hefty is the rear section that it cannot be unfolded even at a crawl; if you want anything more than warning beeps to sound, the Targa must be stationary.
Even then, the car behind you may have pulled too close: the system’s real estate requirements beyond the rear bumper are programmed into the parking sensors so you might be spared a potentially embarrassing insurance claim.
So there are limiting factors at work here. But, conspicuously, none come to mind when you’re within gawping range of the new model. The previous few generations of Targa, for all their hatchback practicality and functional simplicity, were a determinedly anonymous breed; the new version, with its fabric roof tidied away to reveal the evocative profile, is as visually debonair as the 991 currently gets.
The cutaway shape, and that Alcantara-clad Targa bar, means the interior comes not only with an added aura of security - as was always intended - but also the pleasing sensation of feeling only partially exposed to the elements and pedestrian curiosity.
While the cabin is not spared from a significant slice of the airflow (even with the standard air deflector located above the windscreen it gets seriously turbulent on the motorway), big speeds do not come with the same sense of vulnerability or public indecency as they do in the cabriolet. Moreover, lid up, its refinement is first-rate.
The driving experience, though, is not dramatically different. The Targa’s additional bodywork - particularly all that laminated, heated glass - amounts to a 40kg weight penalty over its open-top stablemate (making it a full 110kg distant from the coupé). Most notably this further blunts the car’s ability to overcome the flat-six’s natural lethargy below 5000rpm, making it seem a far bulkier prospect at cruise than it does when being wrung out.
Porsche has introduced rebound buffer springs front and back, and retuned the suspension to take account of the new load, although the aim is clearly to keep the car comfortably well-mannered rather than dynamically incisive. To that end, all-wheel traction and standard torque vectoring magnify the Targa’s competence without significantly amplifying the entertainment.