Pronounced “nine eleven”, the 911 has become an icon of automotive design, recognized worldwide and associated with Porsche’s success. Because of this, they stuck to the form and found ways to tweak it without upsetting their loyal followers. So in 1966 it was decided to build a part-cabriolet 911, where part of the roof could be removed, and called it the Targa.
This added some flair to the design and gave drivers a more engaging driving experience. There was one major concern, which was the safety of the driver should the vehicle overturn. Because of this, the company placed a roll bar behind the front seats.
Over half a century later, the Targa is still going strong as Porsche finds a way to fit it into every iteration of the 911.
The version I tested was the 911 Targa 4 GTS and the best way I can explain it is that it’s like a super sporty Porsche 911 Carrera. I say this because Porsche has a very complicated naming system for all of their models and despite my endless research I sometimes get confused with the names of the different versions.
This color is called Shark Blue and is an absolute eye-catcher, as the black roof forms a great contrast to this color. As for the shape, everything stays the same as expected, except for the use of LED Matrix Design headlights.
The interior exudes a youthful exuberance that only a sports car of this magnitude can evoke. It’s the leather seats with the blue seat belts and the layout of the buttons that make the interior more like the cockpit of an airplane than that of a car.
The black leather seats are shaped and indented to wrap around the driver’s torso and upper back, and the Porsche badging is embedded in the headrest.
The dashboard houses the Porsche Communication Management system, a 10.3-inch touchscreen that looks like an extension of the screen that displays the instrument cluster.
The version I tested was an eight-speed PDK transmission controlled by a gear selector that looks like a key fob. Behind are the switches that many drivers will fall in love with, they control the roof and this is where the fun begins.
The tested model had a 3-liter twin-turbo engine that produces 473 hp at 6,500 rpm, which provides an adrenaline rush. Whenever the gas pedal was pressed, I could hear the engine roaring through the exhaust. My only regret is that I didn’t get the manual version as these vehicles are meant to be used in every way imaginable.
It is equipped with an all-wheel drive system with 20-inch rims shod with Pirelli P Zero tires at the front and 21-inch tires at the rear to ensure the car stays on the road in corners without body roll. The standard steel brakes respond in a way that differs from a regular sedan, stopping the car quickly and convincingly. I was surprised to find out they aren’t carbon ceramic as these were the only brakes I expected to perform that way.
The steering wheel is an excellent weight and the overall feel of the vehicle is robust and agile. In Sport mode, you’ll feel the steering tighten up a little and the suspension tighten up a little, helping to optimize performance.
In this mode, of course, the ride is very firm and it’s not practical to drive around like this all day. This allows the driver to switch the suspension back to comfort mode, where it has a more dampening effect.
It’s hard to drive a Porsche and have a bad experience because these vehicles are built for precision. Because of their speed and handling, they always feel like you are driving a race car. And that’s the thing about Porsche, they have a simple formula and they stick to it.
Engine: 3.0 liter 6-cylinder boxer engine with two turbochargers
Torque: 420 pound-feet of torque between 2,300 and 5,000 rpm
Power: 473 hp at 6,500 rpm
Transmission: AWD, 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
Fuel tank: 17.6 gallons
Body type: coupe
Vehicle provided by ATL Motorsports, 876-754-0013, [email protected]