Porsche 992 Targa 4S: first drive

I have to stop and get out of it. Sat on a bench, in a sleepy village about 30 miles from Porsche UK’s Reading HQ, where I picked up the Targa 4S, I’m at a bit of a loss.

I’ll admit right now, I like my 911s with a roof, a conventional, metal one that doesn’t fold away. Pressing and holding the roof button on the key fob of the Targa 4S sees the car do its party trick. It never gets boring. 

That feat of automotive origami is a sight to behold. The rear window, and a sizeable portion of the bodywork, including the rear wing tops and the engine air intakes, lifts up and gracefully tips backwards.

The signature Targa hoop reveals itself to be sectional as two parts of it flip up quickly to allow the mechanism of the centre fabric section of the roof to be stowed visibly under the rear window.

It’s impossible to do just once, and each time I do it I notice another movement, a cool little detail – like the fact that the rear portion of the fabric top has to fold in slightly to fit, that answering my thoughts on why Porsche doesn’t offer a body-coloured hard panel in place of the fabric one. 

It’s an operation you have to be stationary for; getting out is optional, but I reckon if I had one I’d do so, every time. Doing so is enough to attract attention, even here in a village that can’t have more than 20 houses in it, with one local walking on the pavement stopping to watch the Targa do its transformation. The roof’s stowed and I’m sat staring at the Targa script directly in front of me, positioned on the roll hoop. 

That badge is different, the once elegant flowing font has been replaced by a more angular one, a small detail perhaps, but one that jars a bit. The ‘r’ in particular, which now drops sharply enough to look like it’s going to be an ‘n’, but hitting the sharper ‘g’ before doing so.

Porsche Tanga anyone? Porsche rarely, if ever, doesn’t do something for a reason, and I can’t think why it has changed it. I’m left wondering whether it might be to allow the Heritage Design Edition to wear the more classic script in gold, but with just three short hours in this German-registered, non-Heritage, Carrara white Targa 4S, that’s something I’ll have to check later.

That stop was about an hour and a half into my three-hour window with the Targa, giving me time not just to play with the Targa’s roof some more, but to reflect on the drive here. It’s on familiar roads, their proximity to Reading meaning I have some favourites marked on Google Maps – car parks where I’ve met with others on previous drives and shoots for these very pages.

More usually I’m on the right-hand side of the car, but with a global pandemic currently going on the launch for the Targa, like the Turbo S before it, is a ‘come and pick up the car from HQ’ affair. And it’s a German car, so I’m on the left. That’s not an issue, but it does somewhat amplify the scale of the 992 Targa, with the need to keep tight to the very edges of the roads when you’re faced with approaching traffic, which around here you’ll find is more often than not trucks carrying racehorses…

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