Turn heads with a trip up Pacific Coast Highway in a 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4.
By Joe Yogerst
California car buffs are a finicky bunch. It takes something out of this world to grab their rapt attention, like the latest version of the Porsche 911 Targa 4, a bona fide head-turner that elicits shoutouts from other drivers as you’re cruising up and down Pacific Coast Highway.
It’s not just features that recall the original 1965 Targa—classic, streamlined body; retractable roof; wraparound rear window; sturdy roll bar—that took the motoring world by storm. The thing that really turns heads is the purr of a twin-turbo, six-cylinder boxer engine that churns out 379 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque in even the most basic version.
That translates into zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds (or faster using Launch Control) and a top speed of 179 mph. Admittedly, that pales in comparison to the 214 mph of the Porsche 918 Spyder. But who’s going to notice on PCH?
Although the makers paid homage to the car’s legacy, naming it after the Targa Florio road race in Sicily that Porsche dominated in the 1950s, this is a thoroughly 21st-century machine. Filled with the latest auto technology, the 2021 Targa is topped off by a roof mechanism that transitions from fully enclosed cabin to wind-in-you-hair in just 19 seconds.
That’s not all that’s novel. The luxury car also adds a new generation active suspension management system (PASM) that continuously adjusts the damping force on each wheel. This allows for significantly quicker adjustment and better damping against uneven or unexpected road conditions, like cobblestones.
The latest version also adds staggered wheel dimensions and the front track is 2 inches wider than the previous Targa. And for those who really crave speed, there’s an eight-speed, dual-clutch Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) transmission that enhances acceleration and keeps the engine revving low at high speed over long distances with no perceptible interruption in power flow.
Meanwhile, motoring purists can opt for a Targa 4S, which is equipped with a seven-speed manual transmission instead of the PDK. There’s no extra charge and the stick version includes the Sport Chrono package as standard.
Speaking of price, what’s the sticker on the 2021 Targa? The standard version is $119,300. But with a plethora of options—like a blue metallic paint job, leather interior, silver sports tailpipes, RS Spyder wheels, night vision, lane change assist, Porsche crest headrests and a Burmester high-end surround sound system—you can easily push the final price north of $160,000.
But again, who’s counting? If there was ever a car for California dreaming, this is it.
Porsche Newport Beach
445 E. Pacific Coast Highway
The 2021 Porsche 911 Targa features a RETRACTABLE ROOF that opens or closes at the push of a button in a mere 19 seconds. Comprising two flat magnesium elements that hold the fabric in place, the roof ensemble includes a heated glass rear window, sound-deadening material and an extendable wind deflector integrated into the upper windshield frame.
Although it was originally added as a safety feature on the 1965 Targa, the thick ROLL BAR has become an integral part of the vehicle’s design and image. Forged from steel and aluminum, the roll bar in the 2021 Targa is complemented by a sophisticated roll-over protection system with sensors that continuously monitor pitch and roll, road contact and lateral/longitudinal forces.
Both the 4 and 4S versions of the 2021 Targa feature a recently developed PORSCHE DOPPELKUPPLUNG (PDK) TRANSMISSION with an eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic gearbox that expedites both acceleration and cruising. However, drivers can opt instead for a seven-speed stick that channels the motoring experience of the 1965 original.
Although the 2021 Targa shares powertrain, chassis setup and streamlined good looks with the Porsche 911 Carrera 4, several aspects set the vehicle apart from its closest cousins, especially the ALL-WHEEL DRIVE and a slightly larger FUEL TANK.