Auto review – Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS
The 911, pronounced 'nine eleven', has become an iconic automotive design that is recognised globally and is associated with Porsche's success. For this reason, they stuck with the shape and found ways to tweak it without upsetting their loyal followers. So in 1966, they decided to make a semi-convertible 911, with a section of the roof that could be removed and called it the Targa.
This added some flair to the design and it gave drivers a more engaging experience with the road. There was one major concern, which was the safety of the driver, if the vehicle rolled over. For this reason, 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 incorporate it with every iteration of the 911.
The version I test-drove 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 its models, and despite my endless research, sometimes I get confused with the names of the different versions.
This colour is called Shark Blue and it is a sure attention grabber, as the black roof contrasts with this colour in a magnificent way. As for the shape, everything stays the same, as expected, except for the use of LED-Matrix Design Headlights.
The interior evokes a youthful exuberance that only a sports car of this magnitude can bring out. It's the leather seats with the blue seat belt and the layout of the buttons which make the interior resemble that of a plane's cockpit, as opposed to a car.
The black leather seats are sculpted and indented to wrap around the driver's torso and upper back, and the Porsche insignia is embedded in the headrest.
In the dashboard is the Porsche Communication Management system, which is a 10.3-inch touch screen that looks like an extension of the screen that displays the gauge cluster.
The version I tested was an eight-speed PDK transmission, which is controlled by a gear selector, which looks like a key fob. Behind this 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-litre twin-turbocharged engine that produces 473 horsepower at 6,500 rpm, which gives an adrenaline rush. Whenever the accelerator was engaged, I heard the engine roar through the exhaust pipe. My only regret is not getting the manual version, as these vehicles are meant to be engaged in every way possible.
It comes with an all-wheel-drive system with 20-inch rims, wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tyres, at the front, and 21 at the rear, to ensure the car stays on the road with no body roll when taking corners. The standard steel brakes are extremely responsive in a way that is very distinctive from a regular sedan, as they bring the car to a halt quickly and convincingly. I was surprised when I found out they weren't carbon ceramic, as these were the only brakes that I expected to perform like this.
The steering wheel has an excellent weight to it, and the overall feel of the vehicle is sturdy and agile. When in sports mode you can feel the steering tighten a bit and the suspension gets a little firmer, which helps to give optimum performance.
Of course, when in this mode the ride is very firm and it is not practical to be driving around like this all day. So the driver can 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, as these vehicles are built to precision. They always feel like you are driving a race car due to their speed and handling capabilities. And that's the thing about Porsche, they have a simple formula and they stick to it.
Engine: twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre flat-6
Torque: 420 pound-feet of torque between 2,300 and 5,000 rpm
Horsepower: 473 horsepower at 6,500 rpm
Transmission: AWD, 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
Fuel tank: 17.6 gallons
Body Type: Coupé
Vehicle provided by ATL Motorsports, 876-754-0013, PorscheSales@atlautomotive.com