The 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4S is priced from $156,100 in Canada, $137,200 in the US.
The Targa is a close a grand touring car a 911 can get.
The roof mechanism, in all its glory, is exceptional.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The Porsche 911 is one of the greatest cars of all time. It’s also one of the most gifted, multi-faceted, characterful, and rewarding cars to own and drive ever. And all of this applies to the “base” Carrera. As we all know, the 911 is offered in various versions and each has a distinct personality. Of them all, the Targa 4 is certainly the aristocratic one.
All Porsche 911 styles are achingly attractive however only one wears the latest designer suit. The GT3’s all about the skin-tight yoga pants, the Turbo is a bodybuilder wearing a tank-top, while the Carrera is business-casual. The Targa’s roof mechanism is the Tom Ford or Paul Smith of high-class suits, that is assuming this 911’s a male…
Not that I know anything about fashion but the Targa’s accessories, namely the characteristic roll-over bar and the large wraparound rear window, take this 911 to the next level of style. Though I’m more into yoga pants myself, the Targa is gorgeous. I must say however that opting for a satin black roll bar instead of aluminium over the superb Night Blue Metallic exterior shade is a missed opportunity.
Further complementing this beauty are the standard 20- and 21-inch Carrera S wheels. Painted in Satin Aurum and with matching decorative “Porsche” side logo, classic meets modern elegance. As is, the 911 Targa is a showstopper but when the roof begins to operate, onlookers pull up a chair and watch.
The roof mechanism requires only 19 seconds to raise or lower the central roof panel. The dramatic movement of the wraparound rear window is what captures the attention. To note, unlike the 911 Cabriolet, the Targa will not allow roof operation unless the car is completely immobile.
A manual 911 is always the best 911
But it’s nearly impossible to remain in one spot with this extraordinary driving machine. The Targa 4S is especially blessed with its twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre boxer-6-cylinder engine. Over the Targa 4’s 379 horsepower and 331 lb.-ft. of torque, the S delivers 443 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque between 2,300-5,000 rpm. Unlike the 4 which is only offered with the 8-speed PDK automatic transmission, the S can be fitted with the excellent 7-speed manual gearbox.
With it, the 911 Targa 4S is nothing short of the true gentleman’s or gentlewoman’s sports car. Rowing through the gears, clutching in and out, is as satisfying as getting a massage. With the “7” comes the Sport Chrono package and the various drive modes. Unfortunately for the self-proclaimed driver that I am, the rev-match function is automatically activated in Sport and Sport+ modes. What’s worse, it cannot be deactivated. With three perfectly positioned pedals, a driver can and should experience the satisfaction of a self-created throttle blip. As well as the sound generated by the optional (as fitted on the tester) sport exhaust system.
Meant for driving more than racing
Despite the Targa 4S’ considerable power, it does figure as one of the heaviest of the 911 range. This means that the 0-100km/h time is of 4.4 seconds, the slowest time recorded for the sprint among all 911s. There nary a hint of complaining here however this fact does highlight the fact that the Targa is all but a pure grand touring car.
Tipping the scale at just over 3,600 lbs, the Targa 4S is about 200 lbs heavier than an equivalent Carrera 4S. the advantage is that the Targa rides better, is smoother over most surfaces, and is the most daily-driving friendly version of a car that is as comfortable in a Whole Foods parking lot as it is lapping the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Other than outright acceleration, the extra weight does not hamper the driving experience. In fact, the tested car included the must-have rear-axle steering with power steering plus which enable the 911 to be nearly as nimble and agile as a 718. What’s more, the 7-speed manual, on top of the Sport Chrono pack, also throws in Porsche Torque Vectoring and a rear mechanical locking differential. Power management is always included.
Premium cabin loaded with technology
Onboard technology and comfort are also always included. As a Porsche, drivers, and owners are entitled to superior materials, craftsmanship, and design. The 992 offers the most advanced cockpit and displays starting with the twin 7-inch units in the instrument panel. The central 10.9-inch features the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) with navigation and Apple CarPlay.
Interfacing with the various menus requires some patience however the standard Sport steering wheel and seats are beyond rewards for the effort. The evaluated car also included the available 18-way Adaptive Sport Seats, the Premium package (BOSE audio, Lane Change Assist (LCA), ventilated seats, and more), and the Burmester high-end audio system.
The Targa is a GT
The combination of all these features makes this 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4S the poshest of 911s and the truest GT of them all. as such, the Targa 4S competes with the Bentley Continental GT, BMW M850i, and the Aston Martin Vantage but none really do – the 911 is the only one offered with a manual transmission.
The Porsche 911 remains the yardstick no matter what. And, priced at $186,500, the reviewed Targa 4S is not too expensive, it’s only out of reach for you and me.