Portrait of a Supercar: 2014 Porsche 911 Targa 4S

Hallo Freund! The weather is becoming wonderful, no? After too long a chill, the season to unbutton is almost upon us. Our roads are warming magnificently and it is time to revel in the thrills of German engineering. Accept my apologies for hiding away all this time, but I promise I’ve returned with all the brains and brawn that first captured your affection. I am the 2014 Porsche 911 Targa 4S, a modern day tribute to the original Targa Florio guaranteed to put you on track for some open-air fun.

I have heard the talk. I’ve been called misguided and even naughty—nothing more than a coupe with an oversized sunroof; a far cry from the 1960s debut of my foldable fabric roof. But summer bodies are made in the winter and during this downtime I have become far too sexy for my glass. From tip to tail, I am an easily identified product of Stuttgart and perhaps the last automotive brand to maintain unmistakable DNA across platforms and generations. And though my forward, beefy demeanor is but a refresh of the last version of the 911, my top has gone the route of modern day retro. (Perhaps the most boggling display of ingenuity since the first iPhone.) My striking aluminum-finished Targa bar is a tell-tale sign that I have something new up my sleeve. Are you ready for the party?

Get situated in my cabin, it should not take long. My presentation is simple, no pomp. Although critics may label my neatly trimmed interior as spartan, purists will regard it for what it really is: Timeless. My classic driver-centric instrumentation is a testament to the slightly uptight Bavarian tinkering that has made me such a favorite of driving enthusiasts on both sides of the Atlantic. Ready for some “innovative kinematics?” That’s just a mnemonic attempt at brevity for my automatic fabric roof, which retracts, folds, slides in-between the clamshell rear windshield, then tucks away behind my rear seats with the precision and ingenuity of a master Jenga player. All that wow is delivered in under 20 seconds.

Keep in mind that all this bravado is also happening just inches away from my rear-mounted, 6-cylinder boxer engine—a 400 horsepower, 3.8-liter flat-6 that makes 325 lb-ft of torque and puts my power down at all 4 corners. Dance through my 7-speed manual gearbox and we will attack the horizon, hitting 60mph in just 4.2 seconds (PDK dual-clutch available if you’re not into the fist pumping). You’ll need a bit more open straightway to top me out at 183mph, but let’s be sensible and remember I love the tango just as much as the boogie. The potholes have finally been patched, let us jet up to Monticello Motor Club or the Shawangunk Wine Trail for some of the moving and shaking that’s made my lineage a stable must-have for anyone who claims a love for the automobiles.

Now about practicality—as with most open-air coaches, that is a very funny idea! I am configured as a 2+2 coupe, but when you aren’t bringing the little ones, my rear seats are best reserved for the damsel’s Birkin and Bichon. Put my crazy little German roof-robot to work and let’s bid Auf wiedersehen! to your cares for a while, ja?

2014 Porsche 911 Targa 4S
Engine: 3.8-Liter Flat 6
0-60: 4.2 seconds
Max Speed: 183mph
Max Power: 400hp @ 7400 RPM
Max Torque: 325 lb.-ft
Base Price: $117,195

william k. gock

william k. gock

William K. Gock is the automotive content contributor for Playboy Magazine. His car and motorcycle reviews can also be found in numerous national print and online publications. Born and raised in New York's Hudson Valley, Gock currently lives with his wife and son in Babylon.