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FEATURE: What we know – and what we don’t know – about the new Porsche 911 Targa.
Jalopnik scored a huge scoop on Friday when somebody at a Porsche dealer event surreptitiously photographed the presentation and sent the slides in.
Laid bare are details of the upcoming Macan SUV, Boxster and Cayman GTS and – most importantly for us – the new 911 Targa.
The original exemplar of all the go-anywhere-do-anything qualities we admire in cars – smart, 4×4, glass/open roof, compact and practical – this car is hugely anticipated at DriveEurope. We won’t be driving one for a decade at least but dreams are important in this business.
What the new model gains over at least the two previous generations is a hefty dose of cool. Exactly like the convertible on which it was based, the old car was written off by enthusiasts as being unworthy of the 911 name: too much weight on top and lacking the uncompromised curves of its coupe stablemates.
The new one however evokes the first, universally admired Targas with a convex – concave? – rear screen, stainless steel roll hoop and removable roof section. One for the purists and the practitioners.
So what do we now know? First thing, it will be unveiled on 27 November. Seven weeks away. It appears in public for the first time at the Detroit Show in January and goes on sale in April. In the US it will sell for the ‘low $100,000 to $120,000’.
Secondly, as Jalopnik rightly highlighted, it has a ‘fully automatic roof system to satisfy customer demands for comfort.’
It’s an enormous relief to know owners will not have to manually detach and store the overhead roof section, thus compromising the 911’s legendary practicality. Precisely how it works though is still a tantalising mystery.
‘Based on 911 Carrera 4 and S Coupe with 350/400 hp. AWD.’ Like the previous models it’s 4×4 only. But based on the coupe. As opposed to the convertible?
‘Characteristic B pillar of 1960s and 1970s Targa.’ This we knew. That stainless steel roll over hoop. It’s worth remembering however that the rear screen on the earliest Targa was plastic, and retractable.
So that’s great. Our intense thirst for details of the new Targa – partially – satisfied.
There are however three things that bother us. Jalopnik brilliantly observes that the picture of the Macan used in the dealer presentation is actually a render taken from Autobild magazine. What?! Why would they do that?
And spy pictures of the new Targa, appearing regularly for months – the latest in Autocar this week – clearly show the boot lid from the convertible 911. Presuming that mechanical arms do not sprout from the back of the car to snatch away the roof section, what exactly will be stored underneath this rippling section of bodywork?
Lastly, car manufacturers are increasingly canny about leaking pictures of upcoming models. Even the magazines admit that ‘spy pictures’ are often taken with tacit if not complicit approval. Put it this way, Porsche won’t have to employ techniques worthy of the NSA to root out the traitor in its midst at that dealer presentation. A simple bit of triangulation and phoning around will do. Anyway, we hope nobody’s job and career is on the line here.
Whatever. There’s still enough to learn that we’ll be waking up extra early on 27 November to drink in all the details of the new 911 Targa. It’s probably too much to hope that something truly fabulous happens to the rear screen to earn the newcomer the same Red Dot design award as its predecessor.
More than likely the roof section just trundles away to obscure rearward vision. It’s surely too much to hope that Porsche has finally cracked open air 911 motoring in a way everybody will admire. Certainly the new car will have to contain one essential Porsche element: something for the purists to moan about.