Porsche 911 Targa - PORSCHE 911 Car Review

Review

Added: 24 Aug 2003
Last update:

CLASSIC styling that has changed little over the years makes the Porsche 911 instantly recognisable to enthusiasts and non motorists alike.

But despite keeping the basic shape, the 911 has progressed year in year out to stay well ahead of most of its competitors.

Changes that non Porsche drivers are probably not even aware of make this epitome of performance cars one of the most desired sports cars on the road.

When I asked to test the 911 Targa I expected the car to have two lift out roof panels - a feature I remembered from the past - to give open top motoring.

Nowadays, however, the Targa has gone up-market, and its all done electrically.

Press a button on the dashboard and the glass roof slides backwards, cleverly fitting beneath the rear screen to reveal a giant slice of sky.

This does have its disadvantages, however, as a double layer of tinted glass means your vision through the rear mirror is not as sharp as it could be.

Wear sunglasses - as you are quite likely to do on a day which demands an open top car - and you effectively have three layers of tinted glass making rear vision even more difficult.

The 911 is very much an enthusiasts' car. There is not a lot of luggage space, the rear seats are aimed more at children - although an adult could get away with using them on a short trip to the shops or the pub - and the clutch is heavy.

You do, however, tend to forget all these things when you fire up the 3.6-litre flat six with its throaty twin exhausts and take to the road.

A super slick gearbox means scintillating progress and when you find that this car can easily register 100 mph-plus in third gear and you still have three gears to go you realise just what sort of performance it is capable of.

The 911 is also a very flexible car which pulls easily in fifth and sixth from relatively low speeds. That means that although this car comes into the "supercar" category with blistering performance, it is still very much a car you can use and enjoy for everyday motoring in busy city traffic.

In fact if anything it is ideal for city traffic because it is so responsive. The merest touch of the accelerator gets you out of trouble or ensures that you can be onto a traffic island so quickly you are rapidly out of the way of approaching traffic.

The ride is hard but not at the expense of comfort and when you corner this car at speed you begin to appreciate Porsche's heritage as it grips tenaciously to the road. Any hint of breaking away is easily corrected.

Inside, the car is a classic sports car with traditional dials set very "flat" within the dashboard but with the added advantage of a digital read-out set within the normal speedometer so there is no excuse for breaking the speed limit.

Leather upholstery, an excellent radio and a navigation system are just some of the creature comforts in the car.

But at the end of the day you don't buy a Porsche for pottering about in. This car is all about performance and the 911 really can deliver performance. Use the revs to their full and you quickly run out of road before you run out of gears.

In the wrong hands it could be lethal. In sensible hands it is a car which lives up to the legend.

FAST FACTS

Porsche 911 Targa

Price: £61,550

Mechanical: 320 bhp, 2685 cc 6cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 6spd gearbox

Max Speed: 177 mph

0-62mph: 5.2 secs

Combined mpg:  26.1

Insurance Group: 20

CO2 emissions: 269 g/km

BiK rating: 35%

Warranty: 2yrs/ unlimited mileage; 10yrs antirust; 3yrs paint

Words: Edward Stephens

Keywords: PORSCHE, 911