Saturday, September 22, 2007

2007 Porsche 911 Targa 4S

2007 Porsche 911 Targa 4S

I'm driving my house.

Now, before you get visions of a cheesy mid-Seventies Winnebago with high-speed internet, the house reference is specific to fair market value on Casa Clark, assuming about 40-large in reno's. The vehicle is a 2007 Porsche 911 Targa 4S, with an 'entry' sticker sucker-punch of $133,200. Ouch. Then throw on about another 20-large for 'personalization'. Ouchie McOuch.

The last thing that any 911 will ever do is blend into the background. Want to be seen? Get in. Don't want to be seen? Tough noogies, especially in Guards Red, AKA Cop Bait. With all the eyes upon you, at all times, the last impression you want to give behind the wheel is that your purchase from Stuttgart wasn't all that smart, especially in the areas of overall convenience. This week, Inside Story pokes and prods at the Targa, during one of its rare occurrences of standing still.


Controls: Kudo's to Porsche for remembering that steering-wheel mounted controls are for commuters, not two-lane blacktop shooters. Just slightly ahead of that thumb-locating leathery goodness are four separate stalks, for everything from driver info to headlamp-washing squirts.

(Caution; the headlamp washers spray pattern will easily cover the entire front of the car, including the windshield if the wind is just right.) Column is tilt and telescoping. Wipers have an auto setting, as well as heated nozzles for trouble-free frosty squirts.

Instrumentation is first-rate, with digital speed readout for those 'common' velocities known as speed limits. This is not a driver's seat; it's a cockpit. Power windows possess auto-up and down. Speaking of power windows, feast your eyes on the retractable glass roof panel. Hit the switch, and the panel slides effortlessly to its rear 'Park' position, where it promptly obstructs the rear-view vision. The opening can be tailor-made to size, depending on your blow-drying needs. It takes a little bit of 'English' to activate the rolling sun screen; just tap the sunroof switch control until you get it right. Somewhat alarming was the noises heard when closing the panel. It had the aural quality of glass being stressed, to the point where it would soon be raining down on me in the handy cube size.


While the Targa cabin fits more like a snug sport coat than a Winnebago, there is an astonishing number of convenience features in the pockets.

Speaking of pockets, the front door armrests flip up, revealing healthy storage voids for cell phones and sunglasses. The centre console is as shallow as a pre-school wading pool, with an annoying hold-back strap. There is a 12-volt DC plug-in within. The vanity design on the visors allows for backlighting, but the materials and slide panels used feel more Camry than the Carrera-born. Another 12-volt DC inlet is found on the inner passenger wall of the footwell, near the floor heat outlet.

The dual cupholders are cleverly hidden behind the brightwork panel, directly above the locking glovebox of ample dimension. Push the panel, which reveals the swing-out beverage-grab system. It's an exercise in design finesse, for some form of shallow German coffee cup not sold in these parts. Even with a cinch grab, the holders are far too shallow. Interior lighting is excellent, almost turning the spotlight on you once more. There are four handy hooks inside; two coat-style nubs on the B-pillars, and two recessed grabbers on the front seatbacks. The Porsche Communication Management system is a story all its own. It will be covered in more detail in a future segment.

Heat isn't the only treat for the front buckets. These are the upgraded Adaptive Sports Seats, with memory function for the driver's position, as well as the exterior mirror settings. All functions are power-actuated, including side bolsters and lumbar support. The leather is liquid butter. (Buttah?) The rear seats are best described as 'In-A-Pinch', which is what your vertebrae will be doing to your spine, as your eyeballs twitch in time with your spastic drooling. Don't even try it as a gag.

Fit and finish

Except for the visors, a stunning execution of dead cow and minimal tolerances know-how.

Safety features

In addition to the expected dual frontal bags, the Targa 4S, like its 911 siblings, employs thorax pillows in the sides of the seatbacks, and head protection softness, which erupts from the pillars. Roadside assistance occurs for 4 years or 80,000 kms, whichever comes first.

This won't be too hard. Forget your cares with the affairs of the spares; no such donut exists. (Call Roadside.) The front 'trunk' is good for 3.71 cubic feet of what-have-you. (Folding Callaway's, anyone?) Actually, your clubs and other longer items could be stowed beneath the rear glass hatch, with the rear seatbacks folded forward.


Displacement: 3.8 litres of flat six, with 355 ponies and 0 to 100 km/h under 5 seconds. Boo-yah!

Fluid fill points: Coolant and oil top-ups are about it for the backyarders, plus windshield spritz in the front bonnet. As for servicing, just back away slowly. If you have to ask, you can't afford it.

Headlamps: Bi-Xenon, adaptive, and not worth mucking around with. Great for annoying folks in Sunfires, who flash at you incessantly while you're using low beams.

Clarkey rating

This one is tricky. If we're just talking sheer sense, the Targa should be pleased with 2.75 stars. As for what it is, and what it does, ain't no number high enough. Even the backseats are worth the cramps.
Source: canadiandriver

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