Want a 911 but wish there was a more relaxing version? The new Porsche 911 Targa 4 isn’t quite up to the same breathtaking standard as the 911 Coupe, but it’s still aimed at enthusiasts who want to have a good time out on the road. It’s just that it’s a bit more timid and easygoing.
The fact that it’s a drop top means that it’s heavier than the standard model, and price-wise it’s in the same ballpark as the 911 Cabriolet. There’s also a Targa 4S model available if you need a bit more pace, as well as a GTS variety.
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OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Porsche 911 Targa 4 review.
Overview of the Porsche 911 Targa 4
On the Road
Being heavier than all other 911 models immediately puts the Targa 4 at a disadvantage, and it’s not as responsive in corners, or generally as fun to drive.
That said, the car is no slouch. The standard Targa 4 is able to dart from rest to 62mph in 5.0 seconds flat before maxing out at 179mph, while the more powerful Targa 4S model develops 400bhp, has a head-spinning 0-62 time of 4.0 seconds and a top speed of 188mph.
These are impressive figures, then, but the standard model feels a lot slower than all the other 911’s when you’re operating at low speeds. It sounds awesome, though – especially when you put your foot down.
All models come with the option of either a PDK automatic gearbox or a 7-speed manual, and we prefer the former. It feels nice and relaxed and changes gears without much effort. It suits the Targa 4’s nature well, with Porsche seeing this car as the relaxing alternative to the standard 911.
To that end, ride quality is good and it’s arguably the most comfortable car in the range. As per with a 911, handling, steering and brakes are all top notch. Moreover, the 911’s fearsome soundtrack is present and correct, with the exhaust barking like a mad dog. It’s just that, ultimately, the Targa won’t entertain you in bends.
Still, we’ve yet to mention the Targa GTS that rounds off the range. It develops 444bhp, has a 0-62 time of 3.6 seconds, and maxes out at 190mph. It’s still not the most performative 911, but it’s the Targa to go for if you want as much power and pace as possible.
Porsche 911 Targa 4 Interior, Design and Build
Despite being marketed as the more relaxed version of the 911, the Targa 4 isn’t quite as refined out on the motorway. Tyre, wind and road noise can all become a bit excessive and irritating.
On the other hand, the Targa benefits from a softer suspension setup, even if that means it isn’t as much fun to drive.
The brand’s most recent seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system is all present and correct, and it’s a lot better than its predecessor. It’s a lot easier to get to grips with, the crystal clear graphics look great, and it won’t stain with fingerprints. However, it isn’t standard on the basic Targa model.
The centre console still contains too many buttons for our liking, though, and some of them are even a bit fiddly to use. Sat-nav is standard across the range, you can customise your Targa with a number of different colour schemes, and build quality is good.
Is the Porsche 911 Targa 4 practical? Porsche reckon the 911 range is more practical than it’s ever been, but we have our doubts. There is a pair of rear seats in the Targa but they’re super cramped and probably best for children only.
However, the Targa does offer two boots. The one under the bonnet measures 125-litres, while the one in the rear measures 160-litres. The problem is that, because total capacity is split like this, the Targa can’t accommodate a big suitcase.
Space up front, meanwhile, is fine and access to all seats is easy.
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Equipment and Safety of the Porsche 911 Targa 4
Standard kit is decent, but to truly get the full-on 911 experience, you’ll be tempted to dip your hands into the optional extras list, and this could easily take your final bill well over £100,000.
Standard kit includes the electric roof, 18” alloys, leather sports seats, a 4.8” colour dashboard screen, sat-nav, climate control and four-wheel-drive. Optional extras, meanwhile, include the aforementioned seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, an automatic PDG gearbox and a sports exhaust. This latter option should really be standard in our opinion.
Safety-wise, the 911 won’t be crash tested by Euro NCAP but its safety credentials have rarely been in doubt. Porsche have added lots of new safety tech – most of it admittedly untested – but it’s all based on proven parts, so we worry little on this front.
Standard safety kit includes powerful brakes, electronic stability control, airbags and ISOFIX child mounting points, but to get the likes of emergency braking and lane keep assist you need to pay extra.
Costs of the Porsche 911 Targa 4
Prices for the new car start at £91,699 and rise to £109,622. For more information on our leasing deals, you can check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, the Targa 4 is actually heavier than the standard 911, and this has a negative impact on its economy. That said, it still doesn’t fare too badly on this front, with the slowest model able to return 31.6mpg on a good day while emitting 206g/km of CO2.
The Targa 4S is faster and returns 30.6mpg at best. Emissions, meanwhile, stand at 208g/km.
Insurance-wise, all Targa models occupy group 50, which is the highest one.
Pros and Cons of the Porsche 911 Targa 4
Looks different to the rest of the 911 range
It’s great that Porsche have managed to produce a genuinely standalone car.
It folds quickly and doesn’t add too much more weight.
Easy to drive
Both Targa models are entertaining but also easier to drive than the rest of the 911 range.
It’s more expensive to buy and run than the standard 911 model.
It’s practically impossible to show this car off to a third mate as the rear seats are so cramped.
Porsche 911 Targa 4 vs Audi R8 Coupe vs Jaguar F Type Coupe
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Porsche 911 Targa review.
Porsche 911 Targa 4 vs Audi R8 Coupe
The new Audi R8 Coupe is a thrilling supercar that offers head-turning performance and lots of speed.
Power comes from a mighty V10 engine that’s bursting with character. It’s loud, fierce – and very fast. A 5.2-litre petrol unit, it develops 533bhp if you stick to the standard model and 602bhp if you go for the Plus model. The standard RS has a 0-62 time of 3.5 seconds with four-wheel-drive, while the Plus model can rocket you from a standstill to 62mph in 3.2 seconds.
Both versions are blisteringly fast, then, and both are paired up with a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission.
Quattro four-wheel-drive is standard on all models, and it offers so much grip that you feel confident when taking corners at speed. The R8 drives okay, at lower speeds but really springs to life when you put your foot down. All in all, it offers a more dramatic driving experience than the Porsche.
Running costs? Despite the V10 engine being a big step up from the first generation’s V8 engine, the latest model is cheaper to run. It can return as much as 24.8mpg if you stick to the standard model, and 23mpg if you opt for the Plus model.
That said, you’ll need to drive like a saint to return those figures.
Inside, build quality is impressive as it always is with an Audi, and the R8 has a very driver-focused feel. The wraparound dash all adds to the spectacle, as do the low-set sports seats.
Nice touches include brushed aluminium inserts and carbon fibre here, there and everywhere.
The real highlight of the cabin, though, is the brand’s Virtual Cockpit system that comes with a 12.3” screen.
Is the Audi R8 Coupe practical? It’s a mid-engined supercar, which means you’ll find the boot at the front. It measures 112-litres, which means there’s a lot less total capacity in here than there is in the Porsche.
It’s also just a two-seater, which means you can’t use rear seats for extra luggage space like you can in the Porsche.
Porsche – £91,699 – £109,622
Audi – £109,765
Porsche 911 Targa 4 vs Jaguar F Type Coupe
The Jaguar F Type Coupe is loads of fun, looks typically handsome for a Jag, and proceeds the E Type some 40 years after that legendary car was discontinued.
Because it comes with a fixed roof, the F Type Coupe is better to drive than the convertible version, as well as the drop-top Targa 4. Precise steering is the order of the day, and all models come paired up with a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission.
In terms of the engines, a small 2.0-litre petrol engine kicks things off. It might seem strange that Jaguar have offered such an engine with such a car, but it’s sportier than you might have imagined.
That said, it can’t compare to the 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine that develops 335bhp. It’s a compact and light engine, and the car feels nice and responsive as a result. It also offers lots of power, although enthusiasts might be more tempted by a bigger 400 Sport V6 395bhp model that can be specified with four-wheel-drive.
Rounding off the range is a V8 engine that develops 568bhp, and which has a 0-62 time of 3.5 seconds. It’s deliriously over the top stuff.
Running costs? The 2.0-litre engine might sound underwhelming, but it offers a decent amount of power and can return as much as 39.2mpg on a good day, which makes it by far the cheapest car to run in this review.
The V6 doesn’t fare too badly on the economy front, returning 31.6mpg at best, while the beastly V8 engine can manage 25mpg.
Inside, it’s hard to find anything to fault about the F Type. The cabin is of a very high quality, even if it’s not as exciting as the exterior. Leather seats are standard on all models, the surfaces all feel lovely to the touch, and there’s a real sense of occasion in here.
A clear touchscreen is easy to use and pleasant to look at, and it comes with the brands InControl app.
Is the Jaguar F Type Coupe practical? It has as many drawbacks as all sports cars, but what it does have is a 406-litre boot. This can swallow a hefty suitcase or two, but it isn’t the easiest to use.
It’s a fairly small car, but Jaguar have used its space well. The steering wheel and driver’s seat offer lots of adjustability, the glovebox is a decent size, while a reversing camera is optional. It’s the most practical car in this review, and perhaps the best review.
Jaguar – £51,000 – £112,680
Verdict of our Porsche 911 Targa 4 Review
The biggest obstacle that faces you as you weigh up the Targa 4 is its £90,000+ price tag. If you can afford it, however, is it worth it? It’s not quite as balletic as the 911, thanks to the extra weight added by the roof, and it’s not quite as performative. However, the Porsche 911 Targa 4 is a drop-top, it’s one of the brand’s least intimidating sports cars, and it’s still seriously fast.
Is it worth it? Absolutely.