From £67,202
Targa 4 combines real practicality with serious performance and the pleasure of (largely) open-air motoring. Quite possibly the pick of the range.

Our Verdict

Porsche 911

The Porsche 911 is a sublime all-purpose sports car

Matt Saunders Autocar
20 September 2006

What is it?

Much is made of the Porsche 911’s reputation as the consummate everyday sports car. However, if you’re after the most multi-talented 911 in the range, you need to choose wisely. The new 911 Turbo, for instance, will barely do 200 miles between visits to the petrol pump, while the new GT3’s Carrera GT bucket seats means it is trickier to get into than South Korea’s antisocial northerly neighbour.

Let’s assume that you want a 911 that’s surprisingly practical, comfortable, safe, pleasing to look at and to be in, as well as characteristically wonderful to drive. Porsche may just have launched the model for you – the 997 Targa 4.

What's it like?

Porsche reasons that if you’d rather have a hard-top 911 Targa than a soft-top 911 cabrio for safety reasons, you might well also prefer the security of four driven wheels to two. That’s why the 997 Targa is only available as the wider-bodied 321bhp Targa 4 or the 350bhp Targa 4S.

Like the 996 and 993 Targa, this new car continues with a sliding glass roof that motors back behind the driver’s head and convincingly transforms a closed but airy driving experience into a sheltered, semi-open one.

It offers much more than a posh sunroof though; the new Targa’s got softer spring rates than the coupe, a more generous helping of leather in the cabin, a better tally of standard equipment, more storage space behind the front seats and a glass panel that opens like a hatchback above that rear storage are, and allows you to load things into the space behind the front seats from the kerb, rather than through the driver's door.

Believe it or not, this 911 can accommodate 335 litres of cargo – almost as much as you’ll squeeze behind the rear seats of a Ford Focus – and it does so more easily than any other 911 in the range.

Should I buy one?

The new Targa 4 makes a very talented GT. It rides with more quiet compliance than any 911, and yet sacrifices almost none of the 997 coupe’s body control.

Over the most rutted asphalt we could find, a slight shaking of the roof structure betrayed the fact that this car, though torsionally stiffer than a 997 cabrio, is still only half as stiff as the coupe. On most roads, however, this 911 cruises with amazing refinement and yet it still has the wherewithal to entertain you superbly when prompted.

The Targa 4 might therefore be all the 911 you ever want; not the fastest or the most visceral, but certainly the most complete car in a very impressive bunch.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK