2017 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS Manual

We’ve proclaimed to have found the sweet spot of Porsche’s 911 lineup so many times that it’s starting to lose its meaning. Or maybe Porsche keeps finding sweeter spots. This 911 in Targa 4 GTS trim with a manual transmission certainly is vying for our utmost affection.

Not Just a Carrera

For those who don’t yet know the meanings of the suffixes added to our subject 911, here’s a quick primer. Targa has historically been a body style positioned between a coupe and a convertible, and this generation features a nifty power-retractable roof that’s sure to delight onlookers. The 4 designates that this 911 is equipped with all-wheel drive—there are no rear-wheel-drive 911 Targas—and the GTS moniker signifies a high-performance trim with a delectable set of upgrades, including more power and torque for the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six (for totals of 450 horsepower and 405 lb-ft), a tighter chassis setup, performance features that are options on lesser 911s, numerous bits of dark exterior trim, and desirable interior items including microsuede upholstery.

Now that we’ve tested nearly every variant released thus far in the 991.2 generation of Porsche’s iconic sports car, this particular Targa didn’t produce many surprises at the track. Weighing in at 3591 pounds, this seven-speed-manual example sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, just 0.1 second off the pace of a 296-pound-lighter, rear-wheel-drive GTS manual coupe, and cleared the quarter-mile in just 11.9 seconds at 118 mph. This Targa also barely outran a rear-wheel-drive GTS manual cabriolet, which clocked 3.6 and 12.0 seconds in those same metrics. Its skidpad result of 1.09 g’s is the highest of the GTS models we’ve run, and its 148-foot stop from 70 mph is only a few feet off the coupe and convertible versions’ marks (all wore the same Pirelli P Zero summer tires).

DIY

Rear-wheel-drive, PDK-equipped 911 GTS models have turned in significantly quicker times in our hands (both the coupe and the cabriolet needed just 3.0 seconds to 60 mph and 11.3 seconds in the quarter), but the seven-speed manual’s positive shift engagement and forgiving clutch make quite an argument for shifting for yourself. We also enjoy Porsche’s rev-matching capability that comes online in the Sport driving mode, at least aside from full-attack situations, where we prefer to handle heel-and-toeing on our own. (This function can be disabled in the car’s Individual driving mode.)

As is often the case with the test cars Porsche sends our way, part of the fun involves perusing the options sheet. Because the GTS comes standard with plenty of performance goodies including a retuned suspension, the aforementioned power boost, and the Sport Chrono package, this particular car was lightly optioned, with only $14,255 in extra equipment (yes, we consider that amount “light” in Porsche world). The list starts with $3850 for leather upholstery (which combines with the standard microsuede); then adds $4120 for a GTS Interior package with contrast stitching, embroidered GTS logos for the headrests and floor mats, bits of carbon-fiber trim, and a contrast-colored tachometer; another $2090 for rear-wheel steering; $3345 for 18-way power sport seats with memory and heating; and $850 for a stand-alone blind-spot monitoring system.

Pick and Choose

The $153,505 total of our test car doesn’t strike us as outrageous—relatively, of course—given the Targa 4 GTS’s luscious combination of a versatile roof, all-wheel drive, a plethora of standard equipment, somewhat distinctive looks, and highly capable performance. But then again, it doesn’t really matter if this particular 911 strikes your fancy, because Porsche’s seemingly endless number of combinations mean that you can easily carve out a personal 911 sweet spot that’s all your own.

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