Lava Orange! I must admit that when Edoardo told me the color of this Porsche 911 Targa 4S I was a little disappointed. Then I saw it in person…spectacular! Well, you have to pay 2,720 euro for this painting but the result is amazing. This color change constantly with the light, perfectly covering the soft lines and well combined with the silver details and with the anthracite wheels.
This is probably the best color for the Porsche 911 Targa 4S. With this combination this timeless classic, thanks also to the sound of the engine, is an head turner for sure. The most surprising thing is that the line is barely unchanged since 1963, in 53 years some little adjustments are being made, but the shape remains sporty, classy and contemporary. The body variant of our 911 is the Targa, in my opinion the most beautiful. It was the year 1965 when this 911 model was presented.
The reason was mainly of an economic nature; the bodies had become self-supporting, the roof was then structural part. The production of a flatbed stiffened able to compensate for the elimination of the roof was more expensive than a top rail able to increase the torsional stiffness. Thus was born this variant, called “Targa” by Porsche in honour of the victory of the Porsche 550 driven by Umberto Maglioli at the Targa Florio in 1956. In the current version the plastic material rigid roof is replaced by a sturdy canvas, definitely more elegant.
The external manual release is a distant memory; pressing a button on the centre tunnel lets begin a spectacular mechanical movement. The rear window pops up and welcomes the roof portion of the canvas behind the seats. Nothing new compared with the previous Porsche 911 Targa 4S model until now. The “revolution” is in the engine. The whole 911 range from now on will be equipped with turbo engines, it will no longer be a peculiarity of the top of the range. Turning point, almost as much as the abandonment of air cooling with the 996 in 1998.
Let’s sit at the driving seat, the interior is elegant and efficient as usual. Beautiful the GT sport steering wheel (optional) with a diameter of 360mm instead of 375. The general quality that is perceived is at the highest level, finding imperfections is almost impossible. Anyone can find the right driving position, perhaps only the people taller than one meter and eighty-five would prefer a slightly lower seat.
Now, let’s turn the key, on left of the wheel, of course. The six-cylinder boxer engine sound penetrates in the cockpit, put the PDK in D, the left foot on the brake pedal, right on the throttle and the engine stops at around 5000 rpm, remove the foot from the brake and here we go! What a machine! The 420 hp and 500 Nm of torque are delivered on all four wheels thanks to the four-wheel drive with electrohydraulic control and the 0-100 km/h is burned in 4 seconds. For the first time an all-wheel drive version marks acceleration numbers better than the similar RWD. To impress is the acceleration of the first meters; you have the distinct feeling of perfect contact between car and asphalt.
Porsche has done a great job with this turbo engine. The two turbines come into imperceptibly alive, no gaps or delays, the torque is always powerful at any speed but especially the progression is exciting as that of a naturally aspirated engine. You can accelerate until 7500 rpm! I would say I’m driving a naturally aspirated 4.0 and not a 3.0 turbo if I wouldn’t hear the little turbo noise. To make the car manageable is that number 4 before the letter S. In the normal driving the traction is always on the rear wheels but when necessary and for best performances some of the torque is sent to the front axle.
Here is a car that notoriously challenging as the 911 becomes a missile easy to drive for everyone. I tried to squeeze it on mixed routes, even turning off the electronic controls without feeling in trouble. Never a strange reaction, the rear stays glued to the road, if you do not drive properly and you reopen the gas too much fast, the front tends to broaden for the strong load reduction due to a rear overhang engine. Nothing to worry about and recoverable instinctively raising the right foot. In combination with the Sport Chrono Package it is now possible to change the 911 character using the switch integrated with the steering wheel like the 918 Spyder.
Selecting the Sport Plus mode the car becomes louder, stiffer, the throttle response becomes even more instant. Everything is ready to give his best. The PDK dual-clutch gearbox is a real masterpiece, in the manual mode is exciting, gearshifts are instantaneous and can satisfy also the manual gearbox lover.
The speed with which you move from one curve to another is impressive. At every decisive press on the accelerator it seems that the road surface is grabbed with claws. Once in confidence with the speed with which everything happens, reading 1.2g of lateral acceleration on the on-board computer is something for everyone. No need to be great drivers is just her to be a great supercar.
Some cons? Maybe the size, perhaps slightly larger for long complex mixed routes, although definitely smaller than other competition cars. After having fun in the corners just turn the dial back to “Optimal Mode” and the Porsche 911 Targa 4S becomes a great car for long journeys. Comfort is high even at the highest speeds. The PDK also allows the soaring to reduce fuel consumption and in the highway, at constant speed, it is surprisingly low in relation to those performances.
Maybe the gearbox tends to pass too easily to a lower gear when, in the case of overtaking, most of the time would be enough to use the great elasticity of the engine to increase the speed. If you need or want to make the car lightning fast, the Mode Switch includes an additional button; activating gearbox and engine shall be developed for 20 seconds at maximum acceleration function.
In practice the optimum gear is inserted and the engine management is temporarily adapted to provide an even more immediate response. Porsche, especially with the 911, is known for its usability in everyday life and the 911 Targa 4S I think it represents, more than any other version, this feature. If I had to put in a single car garage, to be used every day, in any condition would choose this one.
It is capable of passing from the track to the supermarket car park, from mountain road to city traffic, from a relaxing journey with the open-top to a fast drive session. In every situation you will not regret to be seated in another car. With a Porsche you will always feel this way.
We thank the company Publiacqua (Florence Water Service), Alessio Alessi, Gianluca Pompei and Aglieri Ettore for giving us the opportunity to realize the photoshoot on the Bilancino dam (Tuscany, Italy).
Text: Leonardo Stefani
Photos: Edoardo Mascalchi, Stefano Ballini, Marco Dellisanti, Francesco Giovannini