RE: 2022 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS | PH Review

RE: 2022 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS | PH Review

Saturday 14th May

2022 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS | PH Review

The range-topping Carrera wants to be all things to all drivers. Assuming they like a Targa


What to make of the 911 Targa in 2022? Well, it’s hard to imagine another manufacturer going to the trouble of building two different versions of a convertible. Especially the version which owes its existence to a decades-old legislative quirk, and requires a sizeable engineering lift to produce. But no manufacturer regards its own back catalogue with quite the same rapt attentiveness of Porsche, and it's safe to assume that the Targa has generated a loyal following over multiple generations - even with its original reason for being reduced to hazy memory.  

If the model is itself something of conundrum, the existence of a GTS variant borders on total mystery. Porsche has traditionally used the letters to signify a harder-charging 911, and the most recent badge-wearers (in both RWD and AWD format) have certainly conformed to type. We rather like them, which is a good thing for 992 buyers, because for the vast majority it is as close as the manufacturer will let them get to buying a brand-new 911 with the letters G and T arranged in such close proximity.  

But it’s hard to imagine your typecast Targa customer seeking out a leaner, meaner brand of open-top sports car. Which probably accounts for Porsche’s decision to not build them one. It takes about a nanosecond behind the wheel of the Targa 4 GTS to clock its softer chassis settings, and there’s a good reason for that: the car does without the 911 Turbo-derived, 20mm-lower suspension that distinguishes its stablemates. Instead you get the 10mm-lower PASM setup already available on the 4S variant, albeit with the helper springs at the back. 

On paper this only serves to enhance the car’s status as something of a head-scratcher - but, in truth, you’d need to be a particularly fanatical sort of helmsman not to concede that decision makes sense in the real world. Neither version of the GTS coupe we’ve driven recently was quite able to make it down a British high street without subjecting its occupants’ jowls to a lively jangle; a forgivable trait in a hard-fired sports car, less so in a 911 built chiefly for summery touring and, let’s face it, showing off. 

Even if you’re disinclined to do either, it does make the flagship Targa very easy to get along with. Not just in town, either. With the handling-versus-comfort compromise wound back in favour of the latter, the car makes a better fist of very uneven B roads, too. Abrupt changes in gradient had a tendency to fluster the coupe’s rigorous vertical stiffness; the bit more latitude afforded to the Targa is the difference between a few grin-and-bear it moments and none at all.  

The improved output is easily absorbed, too. Here at least there is no change: the Targa gets the same 480hp as the rest of the GTS lineup, and, with the eight-speed PDK doing its impeccable thing, Porsche says it’s good for 0-62mph in 3.5 seconds - 0.3 seconds quicker than the 4S, though marginally behind the all-wheel-drive coupe. The chief reason for the difference, unsurprisingly, is weight. The Targa is actually quicker on paper than the manual, rear-drive GTS, but is 175kg heavier. 

Now, this doesn’t prevent it from seeming fast. Or even very fast. Sure, the Targa forfeits a few atoms of impetus compared to its lighter siblings - most notably on leisurely throttle inputs - but, generally speaking, the difference is as marginal as the numbers suggest. As we’ve discovered elsewhere, Porsche’s top-spec turbocharged 3.0-litre flat-six is generous to a fault: responsive, fast-revving and, thanks in no small part to its transmission, virtually imperturbable no matter where you choose to engage with it in the rev range. The Targa waylays it fractionally, but not harmfully. 

As you can imagine, for much of your day this willing combination of lusty shove (complemented by a beefier sports exhaust) and tolerant chassis is going to work out just fine. The model retains several idiosyncrasies - not least a tendency to generate an ear-buffeting squall at around 40mph with the roof down - but most of these you can drive around without them turning into legitimate frustrations. 

The problems, such as they are, exist at the margins of the Targa experience. Or, more specifically, at either end of the performance scale. Firstly, the very slow. Stationary, in fact. Because that’s the way you still need to be to operate the car’s hugely complicated hood, a gyratory swirl of motors and glass which is pitifully short on elegance and, when sat at traffic lights, chronically long on time. 

Granted, there is no complaint more excruciatingly first world than a ponderous convertible mechanism, but for a manufacturer traditionally besotted with streamlined functionality, the Targa solution Porsche introduced with the 991 remains conspicuously unlovable. It is also a hulking reminder of where the model is required to carry so much of its additional mass. And while the GTS is remarkably adept at keeping this burden in check, there are inevitably moments where the repercussions make themselves known.  

For the most part, and for most owners, this will occur under braking. The GTS spec buys you the uprated brakes from the 911 Turbo, yet even endowed with greater stopping efficiency, there is perceptibly more bulk that needs marshalling at junctions. The Targa doesn’t necessarily strain to do it, but the insistent feeling of greater forward momentum isn’t a significant factor in the coupe - which makes it all the more noticeable in the open-top version. 

It’s a similar story if you choose to push on with serious intent. In isolation, the model is entirely fine. Massively adhesive, communicative, relentlessly proficient - if you’ve not driven another GTS, you’ll almost certainly revel in it. But take a coupe for test drive and you’ll notice that it conveys a level of handling clarity that's beyond the heftier, springier Targa. Which doesn't mean that it won't confound your expectations in a corner - it can and will - it’s simply because the open-top version is limited by various dynamic compromises, and the conventional GTS isn’t. Beyond eight-tenths, the lower, lighter, flatter coupe is as wieldy as a rapier’s point. The Targa settles for the convenience of a multi-tool. 

Should you care about the shortfall? Well, that rather depends. Obviously if you’re buying a Carrera GTS for its heightened GTSness, then yes, you probably should. If not, you could persuasively argue that the shortfall in nth degree finesse - as Porsche decreed with its chosen chassis configuration - isn’t really relevant to the traditional Targa experience, and drive away very contentedly. 

The only niggle there is that it does return you to the perilous question of positioning. A regular Targa 4S is, after all, £11k cheaper, and only 30hp down on power. A rear-drive Carrera GTS Cabriolet is £5k cheaper, furnished with the same headline output and will pop its much simpler (i.e. better) roof up on the move. As likeable as it is, you’d have a tough time convincing anyone of the flagship model’s premium-justifying superiority in either case.  


Specification | 2022 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS 

Engine: 2,981cc, flat-six, turbocharged? 
Transmission: Eight-speed PDK, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 480hp
Torque (lb ft): 420lb ft
0-62mph: 3.5sec
Top speed: 191mph
Weight: 1,685kg (DIN)
MPG: 25.7
CO2: 251g/km
Price: £126,760 (as tested: £138,488) 

Author
Discussion

Wab1974uk

Original Poster:

201 posts

4 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
Saw a Targa sat awaiting it's handover at my local dealership the other month.

They do look very appealing in the flesh.

ballans

324 posts

82 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
I’m a big fan of the Targas and that fact they are a bit softer is a good thing.
I’ll take a RWD version in metallic blue or green with tan interior please.

Motormouth88

126 posts

37 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
Blummin glorious thing, yes please

CanAm

7,658 posts

249 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
ballans said:
I’m a big fan of the Targas and that fact they are a bit softer is a good thing.
I’ll take a RWD version in metallic blue or green with tan interior please.
Here you go...


ballans

324 posts

82 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
CanAm said:
Here you go...

That’ll do nicely.

biggles330d

1,048 posts

127 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
Best looking 992 in my opinion.

redroadster

1,457 posts

209 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
One strange thing is that targa panel is canvas type material, can't they do carbon piece, all that engineering to move piece of material.
Apart from that near perfect.

Harrypop

2,461 posts

99 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
I really like targas, open air without the exposure of a full convertable, but I'd prefer a manual lift out panel personally as oppose to the complexity and weight of Porsche's system - I'm sure the majority of buyers would disagree of course. Is the rear deck on the targa a completely different shape to the coupes or is there a difference to the rear passenger accommodation between the two? I'm just wondering how the internal space to store the roof is gained.

topboss

345 posts

230 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
Lovely looking and would tick pretty much all boxes if the wind buffeting wasn’t so bad with the roof down.


MightyBadger

898 posts

27 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
biggles330d said:
Best looking 992 in my opinion.
Agreed, stunning thing.

simon-tigjs

106 posts

74 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
Ive always thought these look great. I was lucky enough to have one for a morning and I was surprised how noisy it was with the roof off and it felt heavy. a Boxer 3.2 way was way more nimble.

For 50k less you could get an equally good looking..imo... BMW i8 different concept but equally unusual

But they do look tempting ...

cerb4.5lee

22,826 posts

157 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
I do like these, but I think that I'd go for the full convertible instead if I was in the market for one. It must be great if you are in that position to decide though.

Chubbyross

3,438 posts

62 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
simon-tigjs said:
Ive always thought these look great. I was lucky enough to have one for a morning and I was surprised how noisy it was with the roof off and it felt heavy. a Boxer 3.2 way was way more nimble.

For 50k less you could get an equally good looking..imo... BMW i8 different concept but equally unusual

But they do look tempting ...
Yes, I’ve heard the noise can be incredibly irksome after a while. I’ll stick with a cabriolet and wind deflector.

Speedgirl

117 posts

144 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
The black rollbar is much nicer than silver, and you can have that for £400 on the cheaper ones. That black retro turbo paint protector sticker thing dont look right tho! As ever they don’t seem to keep their value as well as coups and cabs. Neither fish not fowl.

CanAm

7,658 posts

249 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
Harrypop said:
I really like targas, open air without the exposure of a full convertable, but I'd prefer a manual lift out panel personally as oppose to the complexity and weight of Porsche's system - I'm sure the majority of buyers would disagree of course. Is the rear deck on the targa a completely different shape to the coupes or is there a difference to the rear passenger accommodation between the two? I'm just wondering how the internal space to store the roof is gained.
I'd be happy with a lift-out panel (in body colour) and therefore a substantial weight-saving.

Edited by CanAm on Saturday 14th May 14:12

smilo996

2,045 posts

147 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
as someone who cannot stand 99% of 911's, have a real soft spot for these. They somehow look just right. Looks very cool in that colour too and love the rev counter.

NGK210

1,724 posts

122 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
Really?? An extra 175kg with electric motors and gubbins, and raising the CoG, all to lift a wee canvas panel?
Did customer research reveal that target punters don’t want to risk breaking their stick-on, manicured fingernails?
A 911 for Kardashians. Next!

hu8742

109 posts

102 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
cerb4.5lee said:
I do like these, but I think that I'd go for the full convertible instead if I was in the market for one. It must be great if you are in that position to decide though.
I agree with most that the Targa looks great but I also think for the first time a convertible 911 with the roof up still retains more of the 911 shape (looks good) and doesn't look like a baggy tent plonked on top. I've heard wind noise is irritating on the Targa, not something experienced on the convertible.

Nice problem to have if that's your choice.

BigChiefmuffinAgain

664 posts

75 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
As others have said, both the best looking and most compromised of all the current 911s. Suspect if they made one which looked like a Targa but was actually a coupe ( with maybe a sunroof for those who insist ) so that you wouldn't have all the weight issues then that would be a very desirable car ...

P. ONeill

162 posts

29 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
topboss said:
Lovely looking and would tick pretty much all boxes if the wind buffeting wasn’t so bad with the roof down.
Why don’t they just do a folding tin top? It works well for BMW and Merc.