It goes without saying that this car is remarkably quick, its flat-six heaving with the might of almost 450 horses. Its wet mode trumps most cars’ sport modes and its power far exceeds the national limit through Berkshire’s sleepy back roads. To truly put its comprehensive performance to the test would require a wide, open track or a quiet stretch of autobahn. Unfortunately I had neither at my disposal, but the wide variety of roads and traffic conditions near to Porsche’s HQ gave me ample opportunity to test it under daily driving conditions.
Its 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat-six engine puts out precisely 450PS (331kW) and a maximum torque of 530Nm, resulting in a 0-62mph sprint of 3.6 seconds, facilitated by the silky smooth eight-speed PDK double-clutch gearbox. The ultimate top speed of 189mph is just 1mph less than its coupe compadre, despite the 110kg weight gain. Put your foot down and momentarily hear the turbo spooling before it catapults you forward, the gearbox doing a fine job of shifting, with the flappy paddles there should you wish to intervene.
Power is distributed between the front and rear wheels at an ever-variable rate via Porsche’s all-wheel-drive system (with never more than 50 per cent going to the front), optimising grip come rain or shine. The car feels well planted and turns in with precision, the Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) system’s electronic rear differential enhancing stability and dynamics yet further.
On paper, the switchable (via a button above the gearshift) Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control – a £2,273 option – active roll stabilisation suppresses lateral body movement during cornering manoeuvres for more neutral handling and a comfortable ride. In reality it doesn’t make much difference unless you’re absolutely throwing the car about, in which case you’d want the car to be at its most taught. But the appeal of a softer set-up will be understandably appealing, especially in a car such as the Targa, where comfort, rather than outright pace, is key.
Turning it up on the mode dial, from wet to normal to sport to Sportplus, enhances the throttle response and dials back electronic intervention. The latter is designed for sheer performance, while Sport, with its spitting and crackling exhaust note (aided by the £1,844 sports exhaust system), was my happy place for the day. A final option of Sportplus individual allows the driver to configure it to their own personal preferences.
In the middle of the mode dial sits a mysterious button, which when pressed summons the fury of Hades. Okay, maybe not quite, but reminiscent of the racing games of my childhood, for 20 seconds the Sports Response mode drops to the lowest available gear and optimises everything (throttle response, aero, engine) to give the car a ‘boost’ – perfect for overtaking, or just the flat out thrill.