Six Decades of Porsche 911 Excellence
In 1963, a legend was born. A legend that would transcend decades, leave its mark on the history of automobiles, and capture the hearts of enthusiasts worldwide. It’s the Porsche 911, a timeless icon that today celebrates its 60th anniversary. In 1963, I wasn’t yet in this world, but if I could, I would have loved to be there to witness the moment when the first Porsche 911 rolled out of the factory. From its inception, the Porsche 911 embodies the perfect blend of iconic design and legendary performance. Designed by Ferdinand “Butzi” Porsche, the grandson of the brand’s founder, this car has evolved while preserving its distinctive DNA. It has become the symbol of advanced German engineering, technological innovation, and excellence in motorsport.
Over the years, the Porsche 911 has risen to every challenge, whether on the racetrack or the open road.
The Art of Compromise: Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS
Today, among the 26 versions, I’m hitting the road for a long time with the 911 Targa 4 GTS. This model is a perfect example of compromise in the automotive world. The Targa body style of the 911 already embodies compromise. Its roof effectively combines the characteristics of a rear-engine sports car with those of a convertible, without fully embracing the nature of either.
The retractable roof of the Targa and its large rear window sacrifice some of the chassis rigidity and lightweight of the Carrera coupe, as well as some of the immersive open-air experience provided by the Carrera convertible’s folding roof. However, the Targa offers more wind-in-the-hair excitement than the coupe and superior visibility to the convertible when the roof is closed.
The combined features of the 911 Targa can disappoint both coupe and convertible purists, but they will delight many enthusiasts. In other words, this body style has all the characteristics of a good compromise.
The Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS takes this notion even further. While the Carrera GTS coupe and convertible use a suspension setup derived from the 911 Turbo, with rear auxiliary springs, the Targa 4 GTS uses a setup from the less powerful 911 Targa 4S. (This setup is also a no-cost option on the Carrera GTS coupe and convertible models.) In addition to an increased ride height of 0.4 inches compared to the coupe and convertible, the Targa 4 GTS features adaptive dampers and more forgiving anti-roll bars. The result is a GTS 911 with a firm yet forgiving suspension, something that cannot be said of the too-stiff Carrera GTS.
Predictably, the softer suspension of the Targa 4 GTS has an impact on lateral dynamics, with the added weight of the Targa’s retractable electric roof and standard all-wheel drive exacerbating this phenomenon.
There’s slightly more roll, and understeer appears a bit earlier compared to the rear-wheel-drive Carrera GTS models we tested. If the Carrera emphasizes the “S” in “GTS,” then the Targa emphasizes the “GT” side of the equation.
However, this is a compromise that most passionate drivers will find worthwhile. Even with its softer suspension setup, the Targa 4 GTS handles with extraordinary tenacity. Its 20-inch front and 21-inch rear Pirelli P Zero PZ4 tires may yield 0.03 g less grip than those on a lighter rear-wheel-drive Carrera GTS we tested in July, but the Targa’s 1.03 g of grip still works the driver exceptionally hard to exceed this car’s lateral limits on public roads.
As expected from a 911, the steering in the Targa 4 GTS is as precise as a Zenith watch and as chatty as a Silicon Valley startup CEO pitching to VCs. The optional rear-wheel steering system in our test car, at €1,772, further enhances these characteristics by improving the already responsive steering layout of the 911.
A Symphony of Performance and Luxury
When I press the accelerator, the 3.0-liter twin-turbo flat-six engine of the Targa 4 GTS unleashes the same 473 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque as its Carrera counterparts, with gains of 30 horsepower and 30 pound-feet over the “S” badged 911s. Equipped with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic and launch control, this Targa 4 GTS hits 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, only 0.1 seconds behind a rear-wheel-drive Carrera GTS coupe we recently tested.
The 5-to-60-mph acceleration of the Targa 4 GTS tells a fuller story, though, as its 4.2-second time is 0.3 seconds quicker than the lighter rear-wheel-drive Carrera GTS. Nonetheless, the Targa 4 GTS rockets from 30 to 50 mph in 2.2 seconds and from 50 to 70 mph in 2.7 seconds, matching the coupe GTS and producing the same guttural pops from its specially tuned exhaust found on every 911 GTS variant.
Our Targa 4 GTS was equipped with the PDK automatic, but a seven-speed manual is also available across the GTS lineup. This no-cost option might add a tenth or two to the 0-to-60-mph acceleration, but it’s still plenty quick and a small price to pay for the joy of shifting gears manually. However, there’s no shame in ditching the clutch pedal. Porsche’s automated gearbox possesses the finesse and agility of an Oxford-educated professional gymnast, operating with the refinement of a luxury vehicle while being capable of gear changes at a speed no human can match. The steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles allow the driver to take control of gear changes, with nearly instantaneous response from the transmission to each satisfying pull of the triggers.
The interior of the Porsche Targa 4S GTS evokes a harmonious marriage of luxury and sportiness, creating an exceptional driving space for discerning drivers. In this refined cabin, every detail has been carefully considered to offer an unparalleled driving experience. The first feature that catches the eye is the all-slate-gray leather interior, exuding elegance and taste. The seats, in particular, stand out with their Adaptive Sport Plus design, offering no less than 18 electric adjustment positions. This level of customization allows drivers to find the perfect driving position for optimal comfort, whether on long highway journeys or winding roads.
The decorative Chalk stitching adds a touch of sophistication, creating a subtle contrast with the Slate Grey leather. This attention to detail reflects the meticulous care given to every aspect of the Porsche Targa 4S GTS’s interior. Furthermore, the car is equipped with the Memory Package, which allows for the quick saving and recalling of seat preferences, mirror adjustments, and other settings, offering an even higher level of customization.
When I step into this well-designed interior, I truly feel welcomed into a sort of “grand luxury” ambiance. The high-quality materials and impeccable craftsmanship add to the visual and tactile appeal of the interior. I can feel the quality with every touch, whether it’s the leather-wrapped steering wheel, the supportive seats, or the interior trims. As for equipment and connectivity, the Porsche Targa 4S GTS makes no compromises. The infotainment system features a responsive high-quality touchscreen that offers a range of features, including digital DAB radio, Apple CarPlay for seamless integration of Apple devices, and built-in navigation. Optional audio systems are also available for audiophiles seeking an exceptional sound experience.
In summary, the interior of the Porsche Targa 4S GTS is a testament to the brand’s commitment to luxury, comfort, and customization. Every element, from the adaptive seats to the Slate Grey leather with Chalk decorative stitching, is designed to satisfy even the most demanding drivers. It’s a space where performance meets refinement, creating a truly exceptional driving experience.
Aventurine Green: Reflecting Distinction
The Aventurine Green color of the Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS is a truly remarkable shade that adds a distinct touch to this iconic car. This color, inspired by the aventurine gemstone, exudes a sense of luxury and sophistication.
Aventurine Green is a deep and rich green that captures light in a unique way. Under the sun, it sparkles with understated elegance, accentuating the sculptural lines of the Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS. This color evokes nature, reminiscent of lush forests and vegetation.
In addition to its appealing aesthetics, Aventurine Green can also reflect the bold character of those who choose this color option. It adds an extra dimension to the driving experience of the Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS, drawing attention and emphasizing its exclusivity.
In summary, Aventurine Green is more than just a color for this Porsche; it’s a choice that allows this already exceptional car to stand out even more on the road and embodies the elegance and prestige associated with the Porsche brand.
Honestly, pressing the firm left brake pedal of the GTS is just as rewarding, with brakes from the 911 Turbo bringing the 3,737-pound Porsche to a stop from 70 mph in 142 feet and from 100 mph in 285 feet. Both figures beat those of the lighter rear-wheel-drive Carrera GTS coupe by a foot. With a starting price of €134,428, the Targa 4 GTS costs €16,660 more than a Targa 4S. Considering the additional content of the GTS, the gap narrows to about half of that amount.
This gap gets you items Porsche doesn’t offer as options on the less powerful 4S, including the Race-Tex fabric resembling suede that covers the seats and many interior pieces, specific exterior design cues for the GTS, and various performance enhancements mentioned earlier. Of course, optional extras can drive the total cost even higher.
My test car was priced at €171,806. Unless money is no object (which, at this price, could be the case), many Targa 4 GTS customers will need to make compromises and forgo some amenities to keep this high-powered neo-convertible within their budget.
Again, the word returns: compromise. It’s the conceptual cornerstone of the Targa 4 GTS. By straddling the line between coupe and convertible, Carrera GTS and Targa 4S, the softer-sprung Targa 4 GTS positions itself as an expert in many areas rather than a master in just one.
It’s a compromise that nearly everyone, except the most dedicated track warriors and sun worshippers, will find intriguing to make.