Flashy beast: the new Porsche 911 Targa


PRICE £96,316
ENGINE CAPACITY 3.8-litre petrol
POWER OUTPUT (BHP @ rpm) 400 @ 7,400

It's a shameful admission for somebody who is about to hit 30, but I want a Porsche. This is the sort of crisis that normally hits men in their forties or fifties. I don't want a new one, I could never (ever) afford that. It's just that I spend far too much time looking at classified adverts for a high-mileage late 1980 Porsche 944 Turbo. This isn't a fashionable Porsche, but there's one on sale in Devon for less than two grand.

Part of the problem is that most weekends, I walk past a riverside scrapyard near my flat. Sitting behind the razor wire is the rusty remains of a 1970s Porsche 911 Targa. Restored, it would be in price-on-application territory, and I often wonder if I could give up my weekends to restore it, before realising I wouldn't know where to start.

The Targa is an interesting model, though, which has just been relaunched. The 2014 model gets the same style of "half-open" roof as the original, which launched in 1967 after US regulators threatened to ban all convertibles over safety fears. Some lateral thinking from Porsche resulted in a rollover hoop and a folding screen and the beautiful-looking Targa was born. Like the new model, it also had the added benefit of being far more refined and sheltered than a conventional convertible 911; ideal for test drives during a damp October.

In every other respect, this 911 is the same as other 911s, which means that the steering is precise and reassuringly heavy, the clutch is meaty and the acceleration impressive. The roof pops out delightfully behind the car (thankfully, the parking sensor knows if you are trying to retract it into the path of another parked car, avoiding an embarrassing incident).

Then there's the engine note, which seems to have been created for no other purpose than encouraging bad behaviour. But this is really a car to be seen in – not to drive fast – and sedate cruising is a joy.

It's a pricy beast, about £94k more than "my" 944 Turbo in Devon. Nonetheless, I was disappointed to see it go. I'm aware that I probably looked like a bit of a fool driving with the roof down in the rain, I know it's far too expensive for me and it's a terrible cliché. All that will be true no matter which Porsche I buy, but I really can't help wanting one... even if it isn't as flash as the Targa.

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