The original 911 Targa, released in 1967, was Porsche’s answer to rollover crash regulations that it thought were coming to the US and would have outlawed full convertibles.

The Targa, then, retained a structure behind the occupants’ heads, but with a removable roof panel and a removable rear window — a body shape that, originally a stop-gap, became a third bodystyle until the demise of the 964-generation in the early 1990s. The 993 model revised the Targa as a sliding glass roof panel.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
The windscreen is a direct carry-over from the convertible, sensibly. No point adding cost and complexity if you don't need to

We suspect that this latest Targa, based on the current 991 generation of the 911, will find much approval there, too.

There’s no doubt about what is the stand-out design feature of the 991-generation 911 Targa: the hoop has returned.

And we, at least, are very grateful for it. It made the Targa what it was in the first instance and, to us, it has felt rather like the 911 has become a two-bodystyle-only car since its demise with the 964 911.

However, it has returned not in its original form, which had bits – shock – that had to be removed by hand. None of that grubby manual work today would befit what is, here as tested, a £109,531 Porsche 911.

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

In its place is an electric mechanism, borrowed from the 911 cabriolet, which folds the roof up or down in 19sec, and only then if the car is stationary.

When retracted, it leaves the open panel and also leaves in place the curved rear screen, which is smattered in thin heater elements to keep it demisted – like a heated windscreen is, rather than a normal rear window.

Sensibly, Porsche hasn’t reinvented the roof when it comes to creating this generation of Targa. At a stroke, it has given the 911’s third bodystyle a new lease of life by reintroducing the distinctive roll hoop while saving itself the trouble of creating a mechanism for sliding a roof panel back by, effectively, using the one from the 911 cabriolet.

But whereas the 911 cabriolet has a rear deck that lifts while the hood origamis itself into the nook left beneath the panel, the whole Targa shebang — rear window, rear panel and all — rises to allow the roof to fold into the space left behind.

That it’s a sizeable roof panel is perhaps one reason why the 911 retains only four-wheel-drive transmission and the requisite wider bodywork. That it adds yet more weight behind the passenger compartment is potentially another reason. The official one is that this is an all-weather topless 911.

All of this gubbins sits atop some very familiar 911 hardware. The Targa is available with four-wheel drive only and is tested here in the more powerful Carrera 4S guise rather than its base 4 or range-topping GTS forms.

Powering the Targa range and driving all four wheels, is a twin-turbocharged, six-cylinder 3.0-litre engine, and the only real difference between the three variants is the slightly bigger compressors, which means the base Carrera 4 gets 364bhp, Carrera 4S gets 414bhp and the GTS 444bhp.

Where a Targa does split from other 911s is that, in creating a car that is 110kg heavier than the coupé (and 40kg more than the cabriolet), Porsche has chosen to modify the suspension to cope.

That’s to Porsche’s credit, because there are plenty of manufacturers who wouldn’t bother with fitting rebound buffer springs, meant to restrain body movements while cornering.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week