If you love the feeling of the wind and sun on your face – but just not quite enough to buy a convertible, Porsche has a third alternative for you, the next-generation 911 Targa that will make its formal debut at the North American International Auto Show next week.
Oddly enough, this unusual design was developed to answer a problem that never actually materialized, but wound up clicking with a wide range of Porsche 911 buyers.
The new model, as with earlier versions of the Targa, features a massive sliding top. It’s a lot bigger than even a Panorama sunroof and doesn’t create the hassles of a T-top, like the one on the new Chevrolet Corvette. But the design also has a wraparound rear window and pillars like a conventional 911 hardtop.
That approach means you get almost the full al fresco treatment when the top slides back. Otherwise, you have the comfort, convenience and security of a Porsche 911 Coupe.
The Targa concept was first conceived in the mid-1960s when it seemed increasingly likely that U.S. regulators would ban true convertibles in a bid to reduce rollover fatalities. In the end, that didn’t happen but Porsche went ahead with the Targa, anyway, and found it filled a market niche no one had previously identified.
The name, incidentally, comes from Italy’s Targa Florio, a race where Porsche had numerous successes over the years.
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Among the few things the German maker is revealing ahead of time is that the 2015 Porsche 911 Targa will be seen as “Echoing the design of the original 911 Targa of 1965, the new model feature(ing) the distinctive Targa bar, a movable center roof section and a wrap-around rear window combined with innovative technical solutions that make it a true modern classic.”
As for power? Expect to see the Targa here echo the offerings for the 911 Coupe, with both Carrera and Carrera S trime, the former featuring a 3.4-liter six making 350 horsepower, the latter a 400 hp 3.8-liter six. Also expect optional all-wheel-drive.
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