- Anthony Crawford
Porsche might have adopted the name Targa after the famous Targa Florio road race before any other manufacturer for their 1966 (1967 model) Porsche Targa, but it was the English sports car company Triumph, which first used the system in their 1961 TR4. Unfortunately for them, they called it the “Surry Top”.
Porsche were far more business minded than the small English company and took out a trademark on the “Targa” name. From that moment on, all other manufacturers in the sports car business were forced to come up with alternative names for their removable tops.
But it’s the Porsche Targa, which has survived all these years, and the new 2009 Targa 4 and Targa 4S, with their removable glass roof, is a masterpiece in design and visually, the most unique 911.
Looking down onto the car from some height – the entire roof is glass. That’s 1.54-square metres in two distinct pieces. The front section of the roof slides back beneath the fixed rear glass panel exposing driver and passengers to open space measuring 0.45 square metres.
Opening time for the roof is a fast seven seconds and as standard kit, you also get a new sunblind offering more privacy than on the previous model while opening and closing (electrically) independently of the sliding glass roof section.
And for those rightly concerned about the effects of the sun, there is no need to panic. The glass is anti-sunglare and will protect you from UV radiation and with some heat reduction.
Porsche only build fast cars and these two siblings are no exception. The Targa 4 packs a new 3.6-litre flat-six engine with direct fuel injection and punches out 254kW with a top speed of 284 km/h.
The 4S is powered by the beefier 3.8-litre powertain, which produces 283 kW and will propel this car onto the supercar speed of 297 km/h.
And if you’re thinking about ordering the Targa with the optional Tiptronic gearbox, forget it. Porsche have developed their own version of a fast shifting double-clutch transmission they are calling PDK or Porsche-Doppelkupplung. Not sure of the actual shift times in milliseconds but it is said to be a full 0.2 seconds quicker in the 0-100 km/h run than the standard six-speed box, and with better fuel economy and less emissions.
Traction and stability has also been enhanced on the new Targa variants with the introduction of the Porsche Traction Management (PTM). It’s an electronically controlled system, which replaces the previous all-wheel drive with viscous multiple-plate clutch.
Almost forgot, 0-100 km/h in the Targa 4, will take you all of 5.0 seconds, and just 4.7 seconds in the Targa 4S. That’s with the double-clutch transmission deployed in both cars.
Pricing for the new 911 series will be announced by Porsche Australia shortly and the Targa variants along with the Carrera 4 and 4S models will go on sale here on October 25.