Health and safety may well be there to keep everybody in one piece, but like a childminder confiscating a toy with pointy edges, it rarely promotes fun. However, every now and then a trend is bucked and that is exactly what happened with the Porsche 911 Targa. In 60’s America there were concerns regarding safety in the case of convertibles rolling over. In short, without a roof occupants had no protection. With the USA being a key market for Porsche their engineers developed the Targa, a convertible 911 which features a now iconic roll hoop in the middle. The popularity of the car named after the Targa Florio race was unprecedented and the Germans enjoyed strong sales. Today we have the keys to the latest incarnation of the Targa. This is the 2015 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS.
Whilst todays convertibles are plenty strong enough to deal with the event of a rollover, the Targa’s unique design is captivating and is the modern-day incarnation of the original. Featuring a unusual roof mechanism, which at the push of a button raises the glass wraparound window and stows the fabric panel in 19 seconds, the 2015 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS looks great covered or topless. Sporting proportions that could only belong to a 911, this car being the GTS possesses external changes including restyled sports grills, bumpers, 20 inch centre locking alloy wheels, and the obligatory GTS badging. Our test car finished in Carmine Red looked the business with its contrasting black details and prominent silver hoop. In our eyes it is one of the best looking 911’s in the showroom and certainly differentiates itself from key competitors.
Slip into this 911’s cockpit and you will find yourself sat in body hugging sports seats. The interior is bathed in leather and alcantara creating a highly premium feel. Its Sport Chrono pack adds an eye-catching stopwatch to the dashboard which heads a centre stack that houses infotainment, climate control and logically placed buttons for heated seats. The console extends and divides the two occupants creating a snug environment. Controls for various performance settings fall to hand easily on this unit. The driving position is fantastic as you sit low with the steering wheel at your chest. Being driver focused is what the 911 has always been about.
Turn the key and the 2015 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS rear mounted 3.8 litre engine fires into life. At idle it has a purposeful engine note as the flat-six awaits commands from the driver. Pottering along the open top experience was very pleasant in the sunshine. The wind doesn’t consume the cabin like it does in traditional convertibles, thanks to the rear glasshouse remaining in place, whilst the noises and smells of the car at work are more vibrant than within the confides of a coupe. For a car of this calibre visibility is good and at low speeds this Porsche is comfortable enough to be your daily driver. The gearbox is very happy to be left in automatic and its shifts are smooth. Pick up the pace and the 50+ years of engineering that has gone into this car reveals itself. Body control is exceptional and Porsche has produced, in my eyes, the best electro mechanical steering yet. It is well weighted and precise integrating itself within this communicative package. You can feel what the car is doing beneath you and as the twists and turns become more interesting things become exciting when you work through the sports setting. Putting your foot down with the exhaust at its loudest and throttle response at its most aggressive will put the biggest grin on your face. The Targa howls as 430HP and 440Nm of torque fires you off into the distance. With a 0-62MPH time of just 4.3 seconds and a top speed quoted at 187MPH, this topless model is far from “all show and no go.” All wheel drive ensures the power is distributed in all of the right places giving the driver a real sense of security. Torque vectoring pulls the car even closer to the apex of corners boosting the agility of a car that is already light on its feet. Take control of cog swapping and Porsche’s PDK double clutch transmission responds immediately and without hesitation. The exhaust pops and crackles on downshifts encouraging you to push this orchestra harder, at which point the car will simply thank you and ask for more. Braking performance was impressive, even on standard discs, and allowed for good modulation through the pedal. Settle back down and this 911 becomes a that daily commuter with a good sized boot once more.
The 2015 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS is a car with very few flaws. Whilst it is more costly than its convertible counterpart, our test car came to £116,457 with options, it is a niche product that many will find attractive. Combined this 911 will officially do 30.7MPG furthering the argument of the 911 potentially being the supercar that offers everything you need in the “real world.”