by Jared Rosenholtz
The Porsche Targa moniker debuted back in 1966 to describe a unique convertible vehicle design featuring a removable roof section and a full-width roll bar behind the seats. Porsche has redefined the meaning of Targa throughout the years but the nameplate has now returned for the 992 generation in the form of the 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4 and Targa 4S. As with the outgoing 991 generation 911 Targa, this latest model features a unique interpretation of the Targa formula that is close to the original but now uses a power-operated roof panel that can be opened or closed in just 19 seconds.
As always, the Targa will likely make up a sliver of the 911's overall sales, which includes a slew of model variants like the Carrera, Carrera S, Carrera 4, Carrera 4S, Turbo, and Turbo S coupes and convertibles as of this writing. Targa customers will enjoy the open-top driving experience, which blends the best of both worlds from the Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe and Cabriolet models.
The Targa is perhaps the most unique 911 model in terms of styling. It isn't quite a coupe but it isn't a full convertible either. The Targa's most obvious styling feature is its silver roll bar, which harkens back to the 1966 Porsche 911 Targa. If you don't love the look of the silver bar, Porsche also offers it in black. Whether the roof is deployed or retracted, the glass bubble remains in place to give the appearance of a coupe in the rear. The glass piece only moves when allowing the fabric roof section to retract in a beautiful, choreographed process.
No notable changes have been made to the 911 Targa's cabin, which should not be held against it. The latest 992 911 features an interior that seamlessly blends simplistic design with modern technology. Porsche also allows owners to personalize every last bit of the cabin, provided they have a large enough checkbook to tick off all of the options on the configurator. Obviously, the biggest difference in the interior of the Targa will be the unique open-top, which is larger than a sunroof on the Coupe but smaller than the full convertible roof of the Cabriolet. And if you do manage to squeeze small children into the back seats, they will be sitting under a glass canopy, so be sure to apply sunscreen.
Until a more powerful GTS arrives, Porsche will only offer the Targa in two versions - a 4 and 4S. As with the Coupe and Cabriolet, the Targa 4 and Targa 4S are both powered by a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged flat-six engine producing 379 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque, and 443 hp and 390 lb-ft, respectively. Both versions have the option of sending their power to all four wheels through either an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch or a seven-speed manual transmission for no additional cost.
Porsche says the Targa 4 with the Sport Chrono Package and the PDK will hit 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and go on to a top speed of 179 mph. Similarly equipped, the Targa 4S takes just 3.4 seconds to hit 60 mph with a top speed of 188 mph. These numbers are practically identical to the Coupe and are slightly quicker than the Convertible, even though the Targa is traditionally the heaviest of the three. Perhaps Porsche has managed to shave some pounds off the curb weight with the 992.
Pricing for the 2021 911 Targa 4 starts at $119,300 while the Targa 4S is priced at $135,200. Both are more expensive than the 911 Coupe but interestingly, the Targa 4 has the same starting price as the 4 Cabriolet and the Targa 4S is around $8,000 more than its convertible counterpart.
Very few cars on the market feature a Targa-style roof aside from the Chevrolet Corvette and the far more expensive Lamborghini Aventador Roadster and Ferrari 812 GTS, so the 911 Targa does not directly compete with any other models. The Targa's main competition will likely come internally from Porsche buyers who would prefer to have a Coupe or Cabriolet rather than a unique blend of the two.