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Pressed for a reason on precisely why Porsche was reviving the classic targa shape when there’s already a perfectly good cabriolet in the 991 range, one senior Porsche official was a bit stand-offish: “Why not?”

And, as reasons go, it’s not a bad one. Because the 991 Targa is rather excellent. For a start, its whole roof ‘thing’ is worth the high entry fee alone (Targas are less than a grand cheaper than equivalent Cabriolets). As a piece of theatre, watching the whole hoop-and-glass deck lift up and slide down the 911’s ducktail backside as the fabric top neatly concertinas away is unsurpassed. Although you can only do this standing still, as pesky aerodynamics preclude any on-the-hoof folding.

And, despite our desire for convertibles to have flat shoulder lines hood down, the Targa kicks the Cabriolet’s behind when it comes to kerb appeal. It’s a beautiful creation, with its fabulous stainless steel bar and wraparound rear screen, all helped by an intangible aura its Sixties roots bestow on it.

Almost as good as the exterior is the performance. All Targas are 4WD, and they get pretty close to their Carrera cousins in terms of handling effervescence, with little body roll, no feeling of porkiness loaded on high (the Targa is 40kg heavier than an equivalent Cab and a huge 110kg lardier than a Carrera 4) and a charismatic flat-six engine providing plenty of go. The Targa 4S is the pick here, as its extra 50bhp and 37lb ft of torque make themselves wholly welcome. The steering lacks feel, however, and while we’d advise buyers to go for the PDK gearbox simply on grounds of ease of use, it is hampered by slack throttle response in the car’s softest mode.
Stick it in Sport and keep it there.

If you’re not driving Fast and Furious-style, the Targa proves an unruffled cruiser, with high levels of refinement, hood up or down. It rides smoothly, even over travesties of surfaces and doesn’t wobble about, as it’s 15 per cent stiffer than the Cabrio, though only half as rigid as a Carrera.

The more pragmatic rationale for the Targa’s rebirth is that coupe 911s can be had with a big sunroof, thus making the 993-997 Targa style redundant. But we prefer the idea that Porsche consists of fans that wanted to see the ‘proper’ Targa back as much as we did. Well, thank you very much, Zuffenhausen - the 991 Targa is a lovely present to the motoring world.

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