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911 Targa 4 GTS 3.8 – 430 ch

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GTS showdown: 997 v 991.1 v 991.2

It is ironic that in the week Porsche delivered to us a 991.2 Carrera GTS for testing, the UK government announced it is to ban the sale of all internal combustion-engined vehicles by 2040, following in the footsteps of our French governmental comrades which introduced an identical deadline for the final sales of gasoline-powered cars. Meanwhile, Porsche itself has been busy making significant inroads towards production of electric-only sports cars, recently announcing it is to pull out of the WEC LMP1 class in favour of a venture into the electric-only Formula E racing series. This is part of its motorsporting mission to develop sports cars of the future.

There’s no question the end is nigh for the internal combustion engine then, and therefore the motor vehicle as we know it. This of course makes for a fascinating backdrop to a group test here involving three 911 contemporary GTS models seeking to emulate a traditional driving experience.

Produced with driver purity in mind, Porsche introduced the GTS moniker to its 911 range in 2011 with the advent of the 997 Carrera GTS. Something of a parts-bin special to mark the end of 997 production, the first 911 GTS came with a lavish specification, including some one-off details exclusive to Porsche’s new model. The result was a sharper, more focused drive, available across Coupe and Cabriolet body styles in a choice of both rear and four-wheel-drive.

The new GTS proved a commercial sales success for Porsche, those 997-generation cars selling fast for £76,758 and never really dipping below £50,000. Today, a 997 GTS will set you back around the same figure as its original list price, a phenomenal achievement for a 911 Carrera just over five years old.

It is little wonder, then, that Porsche expanded the GTS moniker into an entire sub-brand, enamouring its Boxster, Cayman, Cayenne, Macan and Panamera models with the specification. Naturally this also continued on the 911 with the 991.1, those GTS cars the last 911 Carreras to be fitted with a naturally-aspirated engine, and finally the latest 991.2 generation, released in January 2017. Each car is essentially the pinnacle of its respective Carrera lineup, but which is best of the three GTS 911 generations produced by Porsche to date?

To decide, we gathered a delectable model from each generation for a fast road test along the twisty asphalt of the Suffolk countryside. The specification of our cars are intentionally as close to that ‘purist’ GTS blueprint as possible, so they’re all rear-wheel-drive Coupés, although the Riviera blue example is PDK, while the other two are fitted with a manual transmission. In keeping with the chronological order in which they were released, we begin our test with a seat in the 997…

To see the full feature, get your hard copy of Total 911 issue 158 here or download to your digital device from Newsstand. 

Video: A history of the Porsche 911 Targa

 

In 2017, the Porsche 911 Targa – the original open top Neunelfer – will reach its 50th birthday, a remarkable milestone for a model that was originally devised to meet safety regulations that were, ultimately, never implemented.

To celebrate the upcoming anniversary, we’ve decided to look back over the Targa’s half a century of history in our latest video, taking you through the evolution of the model from 1967 right through to the latest 991.2 Targa 4S.

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Our five-minute flick also stars a 1974 Porsche 911 Targa from esteemed specialist, Canford Classics, the original impact bumper iteration showing how the latest open-top Neunelfers has both changed and been inspired by Zuffenhausen’s iconic roll hoop design.

We’ve put the two idiosyncratic roof systems to the test too and, if you missed our road trip with the 991.2 version in Total 911 issue 142, Features Editor, Josh gives you his opinion from behind the wheel of the new 911 Targa to see if turbocharging has improved the alfresco driving experience.

For more of the latest and best Porsche 911 videos, check out our dedicated film section now.

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Total 911’s Porsche 991 Carrera GTS super test gallery

Coupe, Cabriolet or Targa? It’s a decision faced by any new Porsche 911 Carrera buyer. However, the conundrum is even more keenly felt by those looking at splashing their cash on a 991 Carrera GTS.

Those iconic three letters suggest even greater driving focus, so should they be sullied by the removal of the roof? It’s a question we’ve set out in answer in the latest issue of Total 911.

For now though, whether you’ve read our 991 GTS super test or not, take a few minutes to enjoy some of the spectacular photography (and scenery) from our scintillating road trip across Wales.

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To read our full Porsche 991 Carrera GTS super test, pick up Total 911 issue 133 in store today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery or download it straight to your digital device now.

Porsche 991 Carrera GTS super test: Coupe, Cabriolet, Targa

GTS: three letters that, when siphoned together, evoke a strong yet wonderfully nostalgic sporting spirit in the Porsche world. As you’ll know, the legend started more than 50 years ago with the 904 Carrera GTS, a Targa Florio-winning car that gave rise to the infallible 917, and was reignited for the 911 production line in 2010 with the 997 Carrera GTS.

A run-out special with high quality options appointed as standard to the specification, a 997 GTS is an exquisite Carrera with genuine sporting intentions.

It’s a Total 911 favourite and, if that’s not reason enough for you to find similar endearment with it, just take a look at the classifieds to see its current value. Certainly, no other 997 outside of the GT2/3/RS line-up has enjoyed such refusal to significantly depreciate.

Porsche 991 Carrera GTS

Then came the 991 GTS, this time introduced for the first generation. Rolled out across Coupe and Cabriolet body styles in two and four wheel drive along with, for the first time, a Targa variant, worldwide Porsche marketing wasted little time in billing this new GTS line-up as ‘driving purity’.

And, in context with the rest of the first-generation 991 range, there’s a genuine case in favour of that PR slant emanating from Zuffenhausen: all are naturally aspirated and have a passive rear axle, with a manual gearbox offered as standard – a setup you’ll never see roll out of Werk II ever again.

However, such a blanket approach to the entire line-up would be naive. The rear-driven manual Coupe quickly found favour on our first drive back in issue 121 (culminating in a 4.5-star rating in our data file).

Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Llanberis Pass

Yet Total 911’s writer extraordinaire, Kyle Fortune described the Cabriolet in all-wheel drive form with PDK as “evidence in spirit and reality that the GTS badge should be limited to a handful of models rather than the entire 911 line-up.”

There were similar musings too when the Targa was later unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show. Suddenly, Porsche had evolved the GTS moniker into an entire sub-brand within the 911 range, but has it proved the right thing to do?

It’s a question that Total 911 needed to investigate, and only a trip to our favourite blacktop in rural North Wales with every current GTS variant would suffice. That’s why I find myself sitting at the wheel of a Sapphire blue 991 GTS Cabriolet as I zip along the A55 past Anglesey.

To read our full Porsche 991 Carrera GTS super test, pick up Total 911 issue 133 in store today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery or download it straight to your digital device now.

Porsche 911 Carrera GTS in car

Essai Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS : Évidence indiscutable ?

En tant que lecteur assidu de la presse automobile écri […]

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Evolution of the Porsche 911 Targa

There was always an open-top Porsche: Ferry’s first model was an open barchetta and if production realities soon dictated a closed design, it was only a couple of years before a convertible 356 appeared.

This was a vital model, especially in the US, for which Porsche’s gung-ho distributor Max Hoffman persuaded Zuffenhausen to build the Speedster, as featured in issue 128 of Total 911. By the late 1950s, consideration of the 356’s successor was in full swing at Porsche.

Between the competing designs of Erwin Komenda (Porsche’s long standing body engineer who saw himself as carrying the beacon for the late Professor Porsche), Ferry’s son Butzi who represented the first generation of automobile stylists, and Ferry’s own preferences, little thought was given to an open car.

Original 911 Targa

Moreover, high development costs of the 901 Coupé meant there was little in the way of budget left to invest in a convertible model.

The other concern at that time was the controversy in America, stirred up by Ralph Nader, about whether car manufacturers were putting users’ lives at risk with fundamentally unsafe cars.

In particular, the Chevrolet Corvair (a flat six rear engine design) had been singled out, as had the VW Microbus. In the general uncertainty, it was also unclear whether the US authorities were going to ban open cars. It was dissuasive enough: Porsche would develop an alternative to the Cabriolet which would be the birth of the Targa.

Porsche 991 Targa

Porsche’s experiments with open prototypes had already demonstrated that some sort of ‘roll hoop’ did manage to restore rigidity. Therefore, the ‘alternative cabrio’ would have this roll hoop and it became a question of what it would look like and how it would be incorporated.

Schröder, who had built 356 cabrios at Karmann, said that the most important detail at this stage was “to make this roll bar look right.” Having agreed on the aesthetics, they could then strengthen it as much as necessary.

To read the rest of our Porsche 911 Targa history, pick up issue 130 in store now. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device.

Porsche 911 Targas

Porsche : La 911 Targa restylée se fait surprendre

Fin juillet, Porsche nous présentait une galerie complète « façon spyshots de qualité » de la nouvelle 911 restylée. Nous pouvions découvrir des images des versions Coupé et Cabriolet mais il manquait la toujours très séduisante version Targa.  Nous confrères de Worldcarfans réparent cet oubli et propose les premières images de la 911 Targa restylée 2016 qui sera […]
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Spyshots : Porsche 911 Targa

targaDéjà révélée via des « spyshots officiels », la version restylée de la Porsche 911 sera complétée par une version Targa qui s’illustre ici en images. Un prototype de Porsche 911 Targa a été aperçu avant son officialisation qui devrait intervenir incessamment sous peu ( toutes les photos à voir en entier sur ce lien ). Comme pour […]

Fully Undisguised Porsche 911 Targa Facelift Spy Shots

Prior to the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show 2015 in September, another prototype of the facelifted Porsche 911 has been spied testing. This particular vehicle is the Targa model and was seen without any form of camouflage. At the front, the …

Fully Undisguised Porsche 911 Targa Facelift Spy Shots

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La famille GTS : l’essence mêmme de Porsche

Vous avez pu mieux faire connaissance avec deux des modèles GTS dans le dernier numéro de Flat 6 Magazine, dans le cadre du comparatif 911 …

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