The new 992-generation 911 Coupe and Cabriolet body styles have been widely available for some time, along with numerous trims including Carrera, Carrera S, Carrera 4, Carrera 4S and Turbo S, so it was only a matter of time before a fresh new take on the much-loved Targa arrived.
Looking back, the original Targa introduced open-top motoring to the 911 line for the 1967 model year (although it was first introduced at the 1965 Frankfurt Motor Show), and due to talk in U.S. safety circles that convertibles might be banned was given a permanent roll bar to protect occupants in case of rollover. The Targa’s thick silver roll hoop became a style statement of its own, as did the big, curving fixed glass rear window that replaced the removable plastic rear window a year after its introduction, but despite its iconic appearance Porsche wholly modified it over the years.
During the ‘70s it the silver stainless steel was painted black, while the original removable roof panel gave way to a power-sliding glass roof that stowed below the rear window on 1996–1998 993 models, this forcing the redesign of C pillars and rear quarter windows to a new sweptback look. Porsche used the same Targa roof design for the 2006–2012 997 version, while providing handy hatch access via the rear glass, but for the 2016–2019 991.2 Targa it replaced the concept with a power-operated retractable hardtop-like roof mechanism that lifts the whole rear deck lid before storing the roof panel underneath. This design allowed the return of the original silver roll bar, all of which continues into the new 2021 911 Targa. Lowering or raising this sophisticated roof design takes just 19 seconds, by the way, meaning that it’s easily capable of doing so while waiting at a red light.
Below the new Targa’s retractable roof is the all-new 992-generation 911, including the more angular hood and lower front fascia of the aforementioned Carrera Coupe and Convertible, plus the broader, blacker and more rectangular front vent that’s become the new car’s most recognizable character trait.
The new front fascia provides the entire car with a wider, more aggressive stance, while the more sharply creased hood integrates classically tapered folds at each side of its indented centre, much like the original 911 hood design, but without a vent at its end. The brand’s now trademark oval multi-element four-point LED headlight clusters appear to continue forward mostly unchanged.
The Targa’s side profile view is probably its most distinctive, with the new 992 roof being so similar to the 991’s it might initially cause some to not take notice. There are no noticeable differences to the roof itself, with the trio of vertical slots on the silver B pillars and classic scripted “targa” nameplate just below once again spicing up the design, but looking downward reveals front and rear fascias that wrap around the side bodywork more completely, plus slightly more upright headlights, tail lamps that reach farther forward much like the rear bumper vents, reformed front side marker lamps, freshly chiseled wheel cutouts, new mirror housings, more angularly fashioned, flush-mounted door handles that extend outwards when touched, and a smoother, longer looking rear deck lid, resulting a wholly modern take on classic 911 Targa styling.
The new 911’s taillight design builds on the outgoing model’s narrow dagger-like LED-infused lenses and even slimmer body-wide light strip by extending the latter farther outward to each side, and then grafting on what seem to be 718-sourced 3D-like graphics at the centre position. These sit above seemingly open vent slats below, while carving out even more linear lines for the outer lights.
Like the Carrera, the Targa’s lower rear bumper is larger, bolder and blacker than in its previous generation, plus it feeds a meaty set of exhaust tips from within rather than forcing them to exit below, where the functional diffuser resides. Speaking of aerodynamics, hidden beneath the new 911’s visually flowing rear deck lid and just above the narrow light strip mentioned earlier, plus below a row of gloss-black engine vent strakes, a much wider and larger active spoiler boasts multiple positions in order to vary rear downforce.
Bumpers aside, all new 911 Targa body panels are constructed from lightweight aluminum, including the front fenders, which were lightened considerably. In fact, the underlying body structure reduces its steel content from 63 to 30 percent, while the remaining 70 percent is now fully made up of aluminum. Now with more aluminum in the design, structural rigidity has improved and therefore so has handling, not to mention fuel economy from reduced mass.
Aiding performance are standard 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels riding on respective 235/40 ZR- and 295/35 ZR-rated tires for the Targa 4, whereas the Targa 4S uses a staggered set of 20s and 21s wearing 245/35 and 305/30 ZRs.
As with the Carrera and Turbo models that arrived before, this new 2021 Targa also receives an interior inspired by 911s from the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and even ‘90s, specifically the wide, horizontal instrument panel design to the right of the traditionally rounded gauge cluster hood, the former even including a narrow shelf to mimic the lower edge of the original dashboard design.
The primary instrument cluster also follows Porsche’s classic layout, or at least this mostly digital combination initially looks as if it does. In fact the centre-mounted tachometer is the only mechanical, analogue gauge, leaving the four that surround as part of two TFT/LCD displays capable of showing route guidance information, or for that matter audio, trip, cruise info and more. Just like with the outgoing 991-generation car, the right-side display is used more as a traditional multi-information display, whereas the left screen offers up a conventional looking speedometer in its default mode or a number of new advanced driver assistance systems readouts including adaptive cruise control, blindspot warning, lane keeping assist, etcetera.
The previously noted horizontal dash design incorporates a 3.9-inch larger 10.9-inch high-definition Porsche Communication Management (PCM) touchscreen featuring much greater depth of colour than the outgoing car, plus improved graphics, better performance, and additional functions from fewer physical switches, as well as most everything else included with more recently redesigned Porsche models already.
The previous 911 Targa was offered in 4 and 4S trims while available, while a Targa 4 GTS lasted from 2017 through 2019, so therefore the fact this new 2021 Targa is debuting in 4 and 4S trims as well is unsurprising. We should expect an even more sport-oriented GTS version at some point too, but take heed this new Targa 4 still puts out an impressive 379 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque thanks to a 3.0-litre twin-turbo horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine. Porsche’s eight-speed Doppelkupplung (PDK) automated gearbox with steering wheel paddles comes standard too, all resulting in a mighty quick 4.4-second sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in base trim, or 4.2 seconds with the available Sport Chrono Package.
It should be noted that a seven-speed manual gearbox is optionally available when choosing the Sport Chrono Package in the new 2021 911 Targa 4S, which when mated to the upgraded model’s even beefier 443 horsepower 3.0-litre flat-six making 390 lb-ft of torque combines for a 4.4-second launch to 100 km/h as well. This said when this more powerful engine gets connected to the dual-clutch PDK gearbox it moves the Targa 4S to 100 km/h in a mere 3.8 seconds in base trim, or 3.6 seconds when upgrading to the Sport Chrono Package.
As with the new all-wheel drive 911 Carrera 4 and 4S models launched before, the new 2021 Targa 4 and 4S utilize an innovative water-cooled front differential that houses reinforced clutches to increase load capacities and improve durability. Combined with standard Porsche Traction Management (PTM), the new front axle design makes the two Targa models’ traction even better in slippery situations, while also upping performance in dry conditions.
What’s more, the new 2021 Targa benefits from the same standard Wet mode as found in other 992-generation 911s, along with an updated steering wheel-mounted drive mode selector. This unique technology automatically maintains better control over wet and otherwise slippery road surfaces when engaged, increasing confidence and safety.
Each new 911 model includes standard autonomous emergency braking with moving object detection too, not to mention a high-definition parking camera along with rear parking sensors in standard trim.
Also standard, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) features electronically variable dampers with Normal and Sport settings, whereas Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) that’s standard with the Targa 4S is now optional on the Targa 4. It includes an electronic rear differential lock with fully variable torque distribution, enhancing safety and performance.
Both criteria are similarly targeted with the Targa 4’s standard brakes, with large rotors measuring 330 millimetres front to rear. They include black-painted monobloc fixed calipers with four pistons in front for strong stopping power, while the quicker Targa 4S gets bright red six-piston front calipers clamping down on 350-mm discs. Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) system is once again optional, as are one-inch larger staggered front to rear 20- and 21-inch alloys.
The new 2021 Porsche Targa 4 can be had from just $136,000 (plus freight and fees), whereas the 2021 Targa 4S starts at $154,100. Call Porsche Centre Vancouver at (604) 736-7911 to find out more.
Also, check out the four videos below to see the power-operated roof in action. The “Dreamcatcher” video was actually filmed right here in Vancouver, so don’t miss seeing how the gorgeous new 911 Targa looks in front of such a beautiful backdrop.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche
Date Posted: May 31, 2020