The Porsche 911 is the benchmark sports car that rivals like the Acura NSX, Nissan GT-R, Audi R8, and the new mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette have first and foremost in their sites. In fact, the Porsche 911 has been such a standout performance machine for so long, it’s sometimes criticized as being too clinical, too cerebral, and even a little soulless.
Please allow the 2021 911 Targa 4 to inject a little personality into the proceedings. Thanks to its slick folding top and standard all-wheel drive, the Targa can be enjoyed come rain or shine. The ride and handling balance is sublime, and the 379-horsepower, turbocharged flat-six is engineered to perfection.
Not everything in this Porsche is perfect, however. The cabin has some strange design quirks, rivals offer more horsepower for less money, and a Porsche options list is best left undiscussed among polite company. Spoiler alert: The options added to our Porsche test vehicle would cover the cost of putting a well-optioned mid-size SUV in your garage or driveway.
You can find Aaron Bragman’s complete review of the 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4 by clicking the link above. For a foot-to-the-floor rapid recap of our time with this iconic sports car, keep scrolling for seven things we liked and three we didn’t about the latest 911.
Things We Like
1. The Targa Top Experience
The top mechanism in the 911 Targa 4 is a marvel of engineering. In the past, a Targa top was a removable panel that bridged the gap from the windshield to a roll bar directly behind the driver and passenger; removing it meant undoing latches and manually lifting it out.
Not so in this generation of Porsche. The process is a mechanical ballet that involves the rear window and a substantial amount of bodywork hinging upwards and backward, as the fabric-lined Targa roof panel stows underneath. You could charge tickets for this show, it’s that impressive.
2. Unfiltered Porsche Soundtrack
Losing the top in the Targa provides limitless headroom along with more direct access to the Porsche soundtrack coming from the turbocharged flat-six-cylinder engine mounted behind the cabin. The exhaust note is exhilarating, and the 911 Targa 4 proves that Porsches are anything but clinical machines.
3. Engine Power
You could spend more money to get the 443-hp Targa 4S, but our time behind the wheel proved the standard powertrain has all the performance you need. The twin-turbo 3.0-liter flat-six provides seamless acceleration and, when equipped with the Sport Chrono performance package, this Porsche needs only 4.0 seconds to sprint from 0-60 mph.
4. Superb Handling
We could probably stop right here — the razor-sharp handling provided by the 911 Targa 4 doesn’t come with any caveats. Combined with a ride that’s firm but never punishing, this Porsche is both a performance plaything and a speed machine that can be used every day and for all occasions.
5. Cabin Quality
Porsche recently updated the interior of the 911, and the Targa 4 benefits from these improvements. Thankfully, the design brief did not involve fitting endless touchscreens and flat panels, the current bane of many modern performance and luxury cars. Porsche’s trademark five gauges are still positioned in front of the driver, though most of them are now digital. And while the infotainment system isn’t perfect, it’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto if some functions prove stubborn or confusing.
6. Personalize Your Porsche
This is something of a double-edged sword with the 911. There are endless ways to customize a Targa 4 with different colors, leather interior surfaces, performance upgrades, stereos and even the style of seat belt. This allows a Porsche customer to concoct a one-of-a-kind sports car. Yet, it also leads to one of our biggest critiques
Things We Don’t
1. Personalization Costs a Lot
Our 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4 had more than $40,000 worth of options added onto its base price of $120,650 (with destination). This included items like the Sport Chrono Package, LED Matrix Design headlights, adaptive cruise control and an upgraded stereo, to name a few. You could go higher still; the Porsche options list is a tantalizing and dangerous place to spend your time (and your money).
2. Cabin Quirks and Blank Spaces
While the interior improvements create a cabin that feels worthy of the Porsche price tag, there are some flaws. To start, blank plastic panels on the center console look like an afterthought, that they should hold some purpose. They don’t, they’re just blank panels. When driving, we also found the steering wheel could block the view of some gauges. While it’s not a huge problem and every driver has a different preferred seating position, it’s worth consideration before a potential test drive.
3. The Mid-Engine Corvette Is Half the Price
The elephant in the room goes by the name Corvette. The new mid-engine Corvette has a starting price that’s half the cost of the 911 Targa 4. Granted, the Corvette doesn’t come with all-wheel drive, but it does have significantly more horsepower and a bold exterior certain to turn heads