Open up to a Targa lifestyle

By LEE PANG SENG | 7 January 2015

PORSCHE is as much a visual statement about outright performance as it is about lifestyle.

While little needs be said about the former, the latter hardly needs prompting either especially when the 911 Targa is driven up your alley.

The Targa is Porsche’s version of the coupé-cabriolet model and is the new model addition to the current 911 range.

This is not a new concept though but one that Porsche has developed into an iconic benchmark since it was introduced to the 911 family in 1965: since then the Targa has accounted for about 13% of all 911 produced thus far.


The name Targa was derived from the famous road race of the 1960s, the Targa Florio and Porsche patented the name after adopting it.

Based on the original design, the latest 911 Targa retains the broad B-pillars and the wraparound windscreen that is integrated with part of the rear panel forms the C-pillar.

The roof is the one that is electrically stowed under the rear windscreen when the wind-in-the-hair experience is desired.

The stowing and restoring of the roof has to be done while the car is stationary as a matter of safety, and the motion either way is done pretty quickly in about 19 seconds: you can do it with the key fob or a control button inside the sports car.


Porsche has even thought of making this procedure safe in that there should be no damage to the moving parts, especially in the raised rear windscreen colliding with a parked vehicle or a lamppost, among other things, that could be at the rear of the car.

This is done by using the standard integrated rear ParkAssist to monitor the area behind the 911 Targa: should the sensors detect an obstacle within range of less than 40cm, a warning sound will go off and the motion is stopped.

The development does not stop there as the roof system itself is said to be special: the roof shell and magnesium roof bows stretch the high-quality fabric hood very tightly.

This is a Porsche technology that stems from the panel bow roof of the 911 Carrera Cabriolet.


There is additional insulation under the soft top to provide thermal protection and reduce driving noise when the roof is up.

To highlight the lifestyle aspect of the latest 911 Targa, Porsche Asia Pacific arranged for the regional media to take a leisurely drive around Singapore, where speed limits are strictly enforced and going beyond 100kph on expressways was asking to be flagged down by the traffic police.

Given this scenario, we decided that the best way to get acquainted with this Porsche was to drive with the roof down, encouraged no less by the cloudy sky that didn’t unload its moist content during our 110km plus drive.

It was virtually a ‘scenic’ drive around the island, starting from the Changi Airport and taking in succession Seletar Airport, Kranji War Memorial, Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve, Jurong Hill Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, Gardens by the Bay (for lunch and checking out the wide range of flora from all over the world) before heading back to Changi.


The car, the only one brought in at that time, was a 911 Targa 4 and that means it was an active all-wheel drive with the Porsche Traction Management (PTM) system transferring more engine power to the rear wheels on the move.

Power comes from a 3.5-litre water-cooled flat-six engine located at the rear with 350hp and 390Nm of torque: yes, it is a lot of push available at one’s foot and the best we could do to enjoy the deep growl of the engine was during some hard initial acceleration in a few ‘quiet’ areas with sparse traffic.

It was all too easy to draw unwanted attention along denser sections of the route being in a Porsche 911 Targa with the roof down, and we toed the indicated speed limit most of the time by flowing with the general traffic.

By all counts, the 911 Targa would take your breath away if you wish to tempt the traffic cops: it would sprint to 100kph in 5.0 seconds, to 200kph in 17.5 seconds and a top speed of 280kph.


We did have a brief charge through a short 5km winding stretch near the Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve to experience a hint of the 911’s high handling capabilities.

The 911 Targa also came with the optional Sport Exhaust System for a throatier sound of the flat-six engine: it got a little tiring on the ears after a while so we turned it off to enjoy the rest of the drive on a quieter note.

Apart from the deep exhaust note and sporty orientation of the car, the Porsche 911 Targa felt right at home driven along at a relaxed manner and pace.

Long gone are the days when it was a very involved experience, working the heavy clutch pedal, manually selecting the gears and turning the weighted steering wheel to drive such a performance beast.

You could hop in from a normal sedan, move the shift of the seven-speed double clutch transmission (PDK) to Drive mode, ease on the accelerator pedal and be on your merry way.


With the top down, the high air turbulence was a little annoying, messing up our hair: by adjusting the wind deflector integrated in the cowl, the draught was reduced considerably.

It was also best to have both door windows wound up to reduce traffic noise and keep some road grime out.

Our experience of the car’s ride comfort was not fully complete as the majority of the roads along the route were on well paved surfaces.

The few jarring moments along some development areas gave us an idea of the 911 Targa’s capacity to absorb bumps and spare us the jolts despite its firmer suspension settings.

The Singapore Porsche 911 Targa drive experience would have been better enjoyed if the latest GPS software was installed.


We almost missed our lunch stop and having a great time at the Gardens by the Bay as the dated GPS software could not guide us there: we had to make some ‘educated’ guesses to reach the place, albeit a little late for lunch.

The bright note was that we had more time driving the 911 Targa around while figuring out the likely roads to take to reach our awaited ‘pit stop’.