Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS 2022 manual review: The best of all worlds?

Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS 2022 manual review: The best of all worlds?

Will Sabil Courtney

When it comes to the term targa, Porsche is the last brand standing out in the automotive field. Oh, sure, there are other companies that technically manufacture Targa cars; The likes of the Chevy Corvette (coupe and convertible), Ferrari F8 Spyder and every McLaren droptop, all technically qualify as a Targas, as they feature foldable center roof panels and permanently installed structures behind. But Porsche is the only one in America that keeps the Targa name alive – fittingly, Because the automaker was also the first to use it, back in 1965.

The term GTS is also specific to Porsche – or at least, it was until Ferrari re-certified it with the 812 GTS. Where Maranello uses it to denote sports convertibles, however, Zuffenhausen uses it to identify cars with Goldilocks’ blend of performance and ease of use — more powerful and fun than regular models, and more affordable than the Turbo and GT’s big-bore rims.

As for the current 911, the GTS specs go a little further than before, bringing extra power over the S models it’s based on, sport-specific tuning of the active suspension, and more aggressive brakes than the 911 Turbo — and of course a host of smaller mods, like darker rims. It’s also possible to choose it with a seven-speed manual or an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, an option that will surely keep many buyers spending their nights trying to choose.

In the form of the 911 Targa 4 GTS with proof, the 911 apparently aims to cover as many bases as possible: brutally fast but very livable, coupe but also droptop interaction with old school mixed with 2022 technology. To see how they all mixed together, the GTS took in A tour from the urban jungle of New York to the green forests of Vermont.

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What’s so good about the Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS?

The Targa is better than the Cabriolet, and it might be a better 911 overall

I’ve already spoken of my appreciation for the 911 Targa, but to paraphrase it for the record, it’s much better than the 911 Cabriolet, at least in my book. Porsche designers have managed to maintain the coupe’s unique style with each passing generation of the droptop, but there’s still no denying that the 911 is at least visually appealing when the roof is cut. That’s a compromise many would like to offer to enjoy both the fresh air and the envious looks of others – but it’s also unnecessary, given that the Targa offers much of the same experience while maintaining the distinctive silhouette of the 911.

The Targa can also be said to benefit from the fact that a smaller aperture delivers lower velocity air directly into the face’s apertures. Even at highway speeds, with the roof open, the breeze and noise are more moderate than you’d feel in most true convertibles—without dulling the feeling of clear sunlight on your face. For me, at least, it’s a win.

Yes, you’re probably thinking, it’s a Porsche 911—it’s fast, the water’s wet, and what else is new? But as with every 992nd generation 911, how fast and easy to reach it makes is surprisingly fast.

Obviously the most enjoyable way to drive it is to shred the flat six all the way to the redline in every gear – and if you do, you’ll be greeted with the kind of acceleration back into the seats, sending unsafe cell phones flying to the rear and screeching from unsuspecting passengers. But the flat-six twin-turbo engine also delivers an impressive amount of torque even at low revs, making it possible to override most slow strokes with at most one gear change.

There’s also, to put it mildly, an insane amount of grip. Every 911 now pulls more than 1g on a skateboard, and in between that, AWD grip and other suspension changes that now come with the 911 GTS, this Targa can cruise through turns with high confidence at speeds that will catch you. Sure you can still enjoy sane speeds – thanks to the direct steering and fanciful response for most of that – but you’ll always want to push harder to explore the limits of the GTS. After I blasted some of my favorite methods, I was almost disappointed with how easily a Porsche could make them; Dealing with the average fun stretch of runway in the GTS is like tapping into a LeBron for your basketball team.

You can buy it with a shift stick

Let’s face it: Fixed shifts may not be long for this world, at least in new cars. Pickup rates are generally low even among those few cars that still deliver, and with electrification looming on the horizon, the days of new cars with a multi-gear transmission may be well numbered.

However, it’s clear that few companies are willing to stick with the stick, and Porsche, bless it, ranks highly among that group. The current batch of GTS models happens to be the second most powerful 911s you can currently buy with a manual gearbox – just behind it 911 GT3. And they’re not far behind: At 473 horsepower, the GTS lacks just 29 horsepower compared to the GT3, and its flat-six turbocharged engine generates 74 more pound-feet of torque than the naturally screaming boxer brother. Unless you’re beating the hell of your 911 on a regular basis, the GTS might feel faster in the real world.

Having a chance to zip your way through gears in a car with this kind of power is always a pleasure; While he might not be able to accelerate as quickly as today’s wonder automatic, sliding from gear to gear and ripping through the action mechanism with both hands and both feet in fun involves a kinetic approach that few things in life can match.

And while it might be down gear versus the PDK, the Guide isn’t lacking in highway cruising the way some gearshift cars are. At 2,000 rpm in long seventh gear, the car is traveling at about 77 mph. Based on my experience, 30 mpg on the highway seems quite possible if you drive conservatively…but where’s the fun in that?

What’s less perfect in a 911 Targa 4 GTS?

Even for a 911, it’s expensive

With a base price of $164,150 (and more with a tested price of $175,030, which doesn’t include many of the more ridiculous options on the list), the 911 Targa 4 GTS finds itself up against both the 911 GT3 and the 911 Turbo. (Anyone who points out that the Corvette Stingray Z51 Convertible starts at about $100,000 less than that can stuff it in a bag, because no real-world buyers compare cruisers and 911s based on price concerns.) A 911 at that price point might be tempted, too. The likes of Aston Martin Vantage Roadster and Audi R8 Spyder.

Sure, many buyers probably aren’t Turbos without shopping options and good-spec GTSs, but after driving both, it’s hard not to feel the nice pull of a more powerful, bolder turbo when the price rises that high.

The guide is fun, but 911 is almost better in every way with the PDK

And while the 911 Turbo doesn’t offer a gearbox of its own, well… that’s not as short as you might think it is.

The guide does not like to drive slowly or to have a baby; You want to wrestle with it a little bit. The transmission pedal and clutch are both heavier than you’d expect from a 911, too. This handy highway seventh gear is a long, and sometimes awkward, throwback; The stick seems to prefer moving to fifth most of the time unless you finally push it as far as it will go. (I found myself in fifth instead of seventh at least half a dozen times during a short week with the car.) First gear is launch, basically; It’s gone in a flash, and if you’re not on top of things, you’ll hit the tachometer before it takes second. Plus there’s so much torque that you don’t really need to paddle through the gears that much. Third and fourth gears alone can comfortably carry you from 30 mph to 130 mph.

Of course, all of these traits would be more than worth living with if the alternative were only a mediocre – but Porsche’s dual-clutch automatic transmission is one of the best automatic transmissions you can find today. The PDK is as fun as a stick when selecting your gears; There is no mud, just snappy.

granted. There’s no clutch, so it’s not entirely satisfactory — but it’s a gearbox that looks like it wants to be shifted manually, and not just that it has the option. And if you’d rather trust her wisdom when you want to pull a donkey, you’ll probably find it’s best that you pick the right gear. On the flip side, you find yourself in the choppy traffic that seems to define modern driving in much of America, and the PDK lets you relax in a way that the manual couldn’t. Add to that superior acceleration, great durability, and better fuel economy, and it’s hard not to feel that the Guide is very much worth choosing for nostalgic reasons.

Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS: Verdict

The beauty of the sheer number of 911 versions and Porsche variants is that, like the Ben & Jerry flavors, there is something set for everyone. If you don’t like Cherry Garcia, that’s fine; That’s why there is a chunky monkey. The Targa 4 GTS with the stick is a very distinct and somewhat complex flavor of the 911 – a unique blend of flavors that blend together well, even if this isn’t everyone’s pick.

I include myself in this mix of yet-to-be-determined samples, because even 700 miles behind the wheel on every kind of road I still haven’t been able to determine if the 911’s particular flair is the right choice for me. At times, I longed for the sheer madness of a Turbo or Turbo S; For others, I wished for something more abstract and clean with easy-to-reach borders, like the Carrera S wand.

And at other times, I found myself intrigued. Because one thing is for sure: No matter if it’s my go-to, it’s delicious.

2022 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS

Base price / price as tested: $164,150 / $175,030

drivetrain: 3.0-liter twin-turbo flat-six; eight-speed dual-clutch automatic or seven-speed manual; All Wheel Drive

horse power: 473

torque: 420 lbs ft

EPA fuel economy: 16 mpg city is very conservative, 23 mpg highway

Seats: two and change

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