2020 Porsche 911 Targa: S$581,988 for Porsche’s “extravagant” new machine

This is the new Porsche 911 Targa, still with its signature folding top but now with more power, both the computing and horsey kind. It hits Singapore in 2021 but details are here…

SINGAPORE — The order books are open for the new Porsche 911 Targa in Singapore, with two versions of the car for sun lovers to ponder. There’s the S$581,988 911 Targa 4 and the S$649,788 911 Targa 4S.

Both prices exclude Certificate of Entitlement and options. There should be plenty of the latter, but just in case you can’t find what you want, there’s the Porsche Tequipment range of extras, or the Porsche Exklusive Manufactur personalisation service for off-menu goodies.

As for the car itself, the new Targa sits on the underpinnings of the latest 992-series 911, and completes the range after the coupe (Carrera) and fabric top (Cabriolet) models appeared last year.

The 911 Targa’s party trick is still its semi-convertible roof: the overhead section stows electrically to leave a distinctive silver roll hoop and a wraparound rear windscreen.

Porsche first used (and trademarked) “Targa” for the 911 in 1965 — the word is Italian for “shield” or “plate”. Safety worries led to the Targa’s creation. Fearful that US regulators were about to ban full convertibles, Porsche designed around the problem by making the top removable with a sturdy roll hoop left in place. These days Porsche describes the 911 Targa as an “elegant” and “extravagant” design. 

Back then bicep power removed the top, but now you press a button and wait 19 seconds while it disappears.

Both versions of the 911 Targa get twin-turbo, 3.0-litre flat-six engines driving all four wheels through a standard eight-speed twin-clutch auto, but the 911 Targas are anything but similar. Basically, the Targa 4 and 4S mirror the drivetrain options of the other 911s, like the Carrera and Carrera S.

Want details? First, the Targa 4 (pictured above). At 1.7 tonnes it’s a heavy car, but you get 385 horsepower to play with (not to mention 450 Newton-metres of torque between 1,950 and 5,000rpm).

That translates to 0 to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono Package and the Sport Plus setting it brings. The same sprint takes 4.4 seconds without it, which makes it non-optional, if you ask us.

Top speed is a heady 289km/h, which must feel like something else with the targa roof down.

With a small bump in horsepower (15hp) the Targa 4 is quicker to 100km/h than before by just 0.1 seconds, so if you want a proper upgrade you’ll have to write a cheque for the Targa 4S (below).

That car gets 450 horsepower (30hp up on its predecessor) and 530Nm (30Nm up) from 2,300 to 5,000rpm, which gets you all the way to 304km/h. You’ll pass 100km/h in 3.4 seconds along the way (add 0.2 seconds if you skip the Sport Chrono Package), four tenths sooner than before.

That’s fast as intercourse, but here’s the real evidence that the Targa 4S is properly for keen drivers: you can have it with a seven-speed manual, for no extra charge. Yum.

The 992’s launch here was a glitzy one. How many classics can you spot?

As with the other 911s, the Targa 4 and Targa 4S have mixed wheel sizes: 19 and 20 inches front and rear, and 20/21 inches for both cars respectively. The more powerful 4S also has beefier brakes in the form of six-piston calipers up front and four-piston in the rear (painted red, of course) with 350mm rotors all round. The Targa 4 is stopped by 330mm discs and four-piston calipers.

Here’s what we thought of the Porsche 911 Targa in 2014

Another new feature common to the latest 911s is the new Wet mode. The system uses tiny microphones to listen for the sound of wet tarmac and flashes up a warning for the driver to engage the Wet setting. That calms down the power delivery and put the traction control on high alert.

The interior’s gone digital as well, with a 10.9-inch touchscreen taking care of the infotainment duties, and digital screens flanking the central rev counter, which rightfully remains analogue.

A Porsche rep told us it won’t be until 2021 that you’ll be able to get your hands on the new Porsche 911 Targa.

Our guess is that it will headline the Porsche stand at next year’s Singapore Motorshow in January, if there is one. The sports car specialist may sell more sport utility vehicles than anything else these days, but a new 911 is bound to make waves. A new Targa, in particular, would be hard to top.

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Leow Ju-Len
Leow Ju-Len is a lot older than he behaves. He's been writing about cars for 23 years. Someday he might do it coherently. Ju-Len believes in world peace and V8s, but not necessarily in that order.