The Porsche 911 Targa top is back!

Detroit Motor Show – Making its debut on the Porsche stand at this week’s Detroit motor show is the latest addition to the iconic 911 sports coupé family: the 911 Targa.

While Porsche-spotters will recognise cues from the classic Targa, introduced in the late 1960s, this one comes with an ingenious new twist. Just like the original, the new Targa has a wide roll-bar in place of the B-pillars behind the doors, a removable roof section above the driver and passenger, and a wrap-around rear window with no C-pillar.

But, unlike the classic version, you don’t have to get out, unclip the roof, lift it off and put it away in the boot – just press a button and the roof automatically folds up and stows itself behind the rear seats.

Rear-biased Porsche Traction Management all-wheel drive is standard for optimum driving dynamics on all road surfaces and in all weather conditions; in fact, up to the window line the new Targa is virtually identical to the Carrera 4 Cabriolet – but the wide rear body that’s typical of all-wheel drive 911 models, the roof bar and the dome-shaped rear window combine to create a distinctively sporty profile that makes the Targa very much its own car.

FULLY AUTOMATIC

The roof has two movable parts: a fabric soft top and a glass rear window. The rear window, which is attached to the convertible top compartment lid, is opened and tilted at the push of a button. At the same time, two flaps open in the Targa bar, the soft top is released, folded into a Z-shape as it opens, and drops into a stowage area running across the car behind the rear seats.

Then the rear window moves back in to position – all of which takes about 19 seconds in either direction and can only be done when the car is standing still.

There’s also a wind deflector in the cowl panel frame that can be erected manually when the top is down, noticeably reducing drafts and buffeting inside the car.

TIGHT FIT

When it’s up, the fabric section is stretched tight by a magnesium roof shell and panel bow. It has an extra layer of sound-absorbing material to reduce road noise when the roof is closed, which also serves as a thermal insulator, and a headliner of black fabric to match the black alcantara interior trim of the Targa roof bar.

The rear edge of the soft top connects up to the fixed Targa bar, which has steel roll-over protection inside and painted cast-alloy trim elements outside, with three gills and ‘targa’ lettering on the sides of the bar as a nod to the original 1965 Targa model.

The rear window is made from two layers of thin, partially pre-tensioned glass separated by a film interlayer, with very fine heating elements covering almost the entire surface of the glass to ensure a clear rear view even in unfavourable weather conditions.

CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON

The new Targa comes in two flavours, each Euro 6-compliant, with a seven-speed manaual ‘box and all-wheel drive as standard.

The Targa 4 has a 257kW. 3.4-litre flat-six that’s good for a claimed 0-100 in 4.8 seconds and 282km/h flat out, when ordered with the optional PDK double-clutch transmission and Sport Chrono Package, at a cost of 8.7 to 9.5 litres per 100km, depending on which transmission you’ve asked for.

Want more? The Targa 4S delivers a quoted 294kW from its 3.8-litre ‘boxer’, and Porsche says it will do 0-100 in 4.4 seconds and top out at 296km/h, while burning 9.2 to 10.04 litres per 100km on the NEDC cycle, depending on transmission type.\

BELLS AND WHISTLES

Standard kit includes leather trim, sports seats, automatic climate control, bi-xenon headlights, 180mm colour touch-screen with satellite navigation, digital radio, a universal audio interface with MP3 connectivity and 19” alloys.

The Targa 4S adds 20” rims, active suspension, and torque vectoring via a limited-slip rear differential.

Driven: Porsche’s lusty new 911 Turbo

Driven: Porsche’s lusty new 911 Turbo


 By: Denis Droppa in Paderborn, Germany

 

Launched almost exactly 50 years to the month after the first-generation Porsche 911 was unveiled to the world at the Frankfurt motor show in September 1963, the latest and greatest version of the iconic sports car – the 911 Turbo – has hit the streets.

 

For humans, turning 50 can be a fraught affair with the onset of the dreaded middle-age spread and constantly mislaying one’s bifocals. For the 911 Turbo, it’s more a case of middle-age cred. What is arguably the world’s most well-rounded sports car, the new generation 911 Turbo is faster and fitter than ever, with a two second per lap improvement around the Nurburgring racetrack.

 

TWO FLAVOURS

 

Stuttgart’s street missile is available in two flavours, both of which will be launched in South Africa in October: the standard 911 Turbo, and the 911 Turbo S with added power and racetrack-attacking ability.

 

The key figures for the “basic” 911 Turbo are a 3.8-litre flat-six biturbo engine which fires 383kW and 660Nm (710Nm with overboost) to both axles via all-wheel drive and a seven-speed Porsche Duppelkuplung transmission (PDK to you and me). Thus endowed, the rear-engined sports car is capable of a 315km/h top speed and a 3.4 second 0-100km/h sprint (3.2 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono package) according to factory figures.

 

The 911 Turbo S gets 0.2 bar of additional boost pressure to hike outputs to 412kW and 700Nm (750Nm with overboost), presenting the driver with 318km/h ability and a claimed 0-100 sprint of just 3.1 seconds.

 

The transmission and all-wheel drive system of the two cars are mechanically identical and both come with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) with electronically controlled dampers, as well as a controlled rear-locking diff with Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus. The S version gets additional stopping power via ceramic brakes and the body-roll-defeating PDCC (Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control).

 

REAR-WHEEL STEERING

 

With a longer wheelbase, wider track and lower centre of gravity than the outgoing 997-generation turbos, the new Porsche 911 Turbo and Turbo S also introduce two new laptime-enhancing features: a variable front spoiler (which is a world first) and rear-wheel steering.

 

At speed the front spoiler lip, along with the movable boot spoiler which is a carry-over from the previous generation, both extend to increase downforce by up to 132kg at a speed of 300km/h. When crawling along or entering driveways, however, the front spoiler retracts to give the sports car better ground clearance.

 

The rear-wheel-steering system turns the back tyres opposite to the fronts to reduce the turning circle at looking-for-parking speeds; while at higher speeds they turn parallel with the fronts for improved stability in fast direction-changes.

 

Though based on the 911 Carrera 4, the two 911 Turbo models are recognisable by their puffed-out wheel arches along with distinctive front lights and bumpers.

 

Filling those arches are 20” mags (with centre wheel nuts for the Turbo S) which have grown from the 19s used in the previous-generation turbo 911s.

 

The 911 may not have the glamorous styling of a Ferrari or a Lambo, but when it comes to the business of driving, the rear-engined German has its mojo going and needn’t stand aside for any car.

 

TRACK CHAMPION

 

Last weekend Porsche hosted the car’s media launch at the new Bilster Berg circuit near Paderborn in Germany, a roller coaster of a test track with tricky complexes and major elevation changes, where I put the 911 Turbo S through its paces.

 

En route there along public roads, the car displayed the impressively civilised road manners of 911 renown, with a comfortable everyday-commuting ride quality quite out of synch with the concept of a red-blooded track car.

 

But once on that track it didn’t take more than a few corners to reconfirm what a supreme driver’s car this is, and why the new 911 Turbo S snipped two seconds off its already very agile predecessor’s Nurburgring laptime.

 

The car’s grown in size but mass is unchanged due to some lightweight materials being used. The iconic solid feel hasn’t been affected and the 911 still feels like it’s machined from a block of steel.

 

LUSTY HOWL

 

The acceleration’s lusty and lag-free, and that PDK transmission’s a perfect match with its rapid-fire shifts. Good news is that there’s a lusty howl to match the violence of the thrust, compared to the rather vapid-sounding previous-generation turbos.

 

The all-wheel drive Porsche clings to the road with Pratley-like intensity, and when you eventually find the adhesion limits the tail breaks traction gradually, not in a sudden throw-you-off-the-road way. The steering weighting is darn-near perfect and the big ceramic brakes bite like bull terriers to wipe off speed fade-free for lap after lap.

 

It all makes it a forgiving sports car that flatters an average driver and still thrills a competent one.

 

Yup, 50 years is a good vintage for the 911. The legend grows.

Porsche’s 911 GT3 on hold after fires

Berlin, Germany – Porsche has halted deliveries of its new 911 GT3 after two of them caught fire recently. Engineers at Porsche’s Stuttgart-based headquarters are examining the remains of the gutted vehicles, used in Switzerland and Italy, to determine the cause of the fires. Porsche expects to conclude the investigation this week, a spokesman said, adding that the company had already delivered 322 of the GT3 models this year. Porsche has yet to announce whether those cars will be recalled. The latest GT3 is a track-focused machine, powered by highly modified normally aspirated 3.8-litre flat six that revs to 9000rpm and pushes outputs of 350kW and 440Nm. According to Porsche, the GT3 takes just 3.5 seconds to get to 100km/h, tops out at 315.3km/h and laps the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in less than 7m30s.