Bridging the gap between its coupe and convertible brothers, the Porsche 911 Targa returns to the German sports car brand’s model line for the 2021 model year. Like the prior 991-series 911 Targa, the 992-series model once again pairs a power-stowable roof panel with a stylish roll bar and large rear glass area to provide a look reminiscent of the original 1967 911 Targa’s.
Sun worshippers remain better off opting for the more immersive top-down experience of the 911 Cabriolet, while performance junkies will surely find the 911 Targa’s complex, power-operated folding roof panel adds extra pounds to the model relative to the 911 Coupe (last-gen 911 Targa models tipped the scales about 198 pounds heavier than its Coupe equivalents). Still, the Targa offers a dazzling combination of style, performance, and open-topped motoring that none of its stablemates can match.
ALL-WHEEL-DRIVE ALL THE TIME
The Targa continues to shun rear-wheel drive in favor of sending power to all four of its wheels. Available in Targa 4 and Targa 4S guises, the latest 911 addition shares its powertrain options with its Carrera 4 and 4S comrades. That means the entry-level Targa 4 boasts a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six with 379 horsepower, while the Targa 4S adds an extra 64 horses to its six-cylinder stable for a total of 443. An eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard on both Targa variants; however, a seven-speed manual gearbox is a no-cost option on the 4S.
Both Targas are predictably quick, and Porsche claims the two models scoot to 60 mph in as little as 4.0 and 3.4 seconds when equipped with the self-shifting transmission and available Sport Chrono package—improvements of 0.1 and 0.4 second over the old Targa, per Porsche. Considering we took a 2017 911 Targa 4S to the mile-a-minute mark in 3.3 seconds, we expect the new car to better those estimates. In fact, we’d wager the 2021 911 Targa 4S will match the 3.0-second run we managed in a 2020 911 Carrera 4S Coupe. Hold the right pedal down long enough and Porsche contends the Targa 4 will top out at 179 mph and the Targa 4S at 188.
Bringing things to a stop are 13.0-inch front and rear rotors clamped by black-painted four-piston calipers on the base car. The speedier Targa 4S is fitted with larger 13.8-inch rotors at all four corners, and it gets red-painted six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers. More fade-resistant carbon-ceramic brakes are an option for both Targa models.
RAISING THE TARGA BAR
With its starting price of $120,650—that’s $14,600 more than a 2020 Carrera 4 Coupe and $1,800 more than a 2020 Carrera 4 Cabriolet—the Targa 4 sports standard features such as two-mode adaptive dampers, 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels and tires, a 10.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and an integrated navigation system. Springing for the more powerful, $136,550 Targa 4S adds kit like larger 20- and 21-inch staggered wheels and tires, as well as a trick electronic limited-slip rear-differential with torque vectoring (except for stick-shift models, which use a mechanical unit), both of which are optional on the lesser Targa 4.
Admittedly, the Targa is far from the best value in the 911 model line. That said, its silver (or optional black) roll bar and elegantly curved rear glass arguably make the semi-soft-top Targa the most eye-catching variant of Porsche’s already attractive sports car. Stay tuned for the 2021 911 Targa 4 and Targa 4S to hit our showrooms in the UAE.