2021 911 Targa: What In the Hell Is Porsche Doing?

The new Porsche 911 Targa is the best looking Targa model Porsche has ever made. Going back to the first 911s this one tops them all. And it sure looks better than the Porsche Cabriolet. But the retracting top mechanism is an Erector Set waiting to collapse. And the added weight is just-well, it’s un-Porsche. What in the hell is Porsche doing?

We’ll have to set this up a bit. The Cabriolet has always been a better-looking open-top Porsche than the Targa. The Targa always looked awkward, sort of forced. Neither a coupe nor convertible, the lines of that big silver band didn’t go with any other styling feature. It was just something that looked like it came from another car bonked onto a Porsche convertible. The rear window looked excessively large, sort of like the rear window of a 1964 Barracuda. 

Whether the Cabriolet top was open or closed it looked like a hunchback

Dark blue 2021 911 Porsche Targa

But back in the day, it was the only open 911 you could get. In later years as the 911 got large and bloated, the decklid and area between the top and decklid got taller. Whether the Cabriolet top was open or closed the back of the 911 looked like a hunchback. The top needed to start a little lower on the body. It just looked fat and heavy. And the Speedster variants? We won’t even go there. 

So now we have a variation of the previous 911. The Cabriolet still has that hunchback problem. But all of the sudden the Targa band and shape of the rear window have come into their own. Without so much rear slant to the band and how well the wrapping rear window ties into the deck pulls the whole look together. This Targa looks great. The Cabriolet? Not so much.

Porsche has made the need for a retractable Targa top complex and heavy

ft 3/4 and rear 3/4 views of 2021 Porsche 911 Targa coupes

But rather than keeping things simple and sweet, Porsche has made the need to have a retractable Targa top complex and heavy. Why must you do this Porsche? Why is it necessary to make the top retractable in the first place? Can’t it just have a simple, lightweight top with a clever latching system that allows one person to easily remove it and stow it away in the frunk? 

The mechanism for the Cabriolet is lighter and less complex. Why must Porsche products get a little bit heavier, a little bit more bloated, and a lot more complex? Would Ferdinand be happy? No. Would Ferry have allowed this during his tenure? No. But here we are.

It’s hard for Porsche enthusiasts to see 911s become big, blobby, complex machines

rear 3/4 view of black 2021 Porsche 911 Targa

There’s no going back now. As difficult as it is for Porsche enthusiasts to see the 911s become big, blobby, complex machines, it can only go forward. But forward to Porsche might not be forward for enthusiasts. 

What would we like to see? A scaled-down 911 that is simpler, lighter, that gives instant response when you squeeze the trigger. We’d like a rear-engine car that at least feels like a 50/50 weight distribution machine. Crisp, simple, sweet. The complex, oversaturated Porsche is not really a Porsche. It’s becoming a sporty Cadillac. 

side view of red 2021 Porsche 911 Targa

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