For quite some time now, rumors have been swirling around Stuttgart that Porsche would resurrect the Targa body style for the all-new seventh-gen 911. Recently, these rumors have gained a little steam, as folks equipped with video cameras caught a Targa top hidden beneath a faux fabric top.
Well, now we have semi-official confirmation that the Targa variant will return, as one was caught again tooling around public roadways. What’s so different about this particular video, which you can see after the jump? Well, this one was caught with the center section of the Targa roof removed and donning the typical gloss-black paint that nearly all Porsche test vehicles wear. So, if Porsche is trying to hide this model, it is not doing a great job; however, if it is looking for free promotion from us media folks, it is doing a brilliant job!
As for what the 911 Targa will carry beneath its rear-mounted hood, well, we are as stumped as the next person. Chances are that it will return only in the 4 and 4S variants, which means it’ll likely pack two different engines. The Targa 4 would carry a 350-horsepower, 3.4-liter H-6 engine, whereas the Targa 4S would eat up pavement with its 3.8-liter H-6 that produces 400 horsepower.
We can’t say for sure when the Targa model will arrive, but it looks as if the testing is pretty far along and there is still some time for Porsche to fit it into the 2014 model year 911s.
Update 10/3/2013: A leaked dealer presentation lifted some of the mystery from the 911 Targa. This leaked shows us that the 911 Targa will indeed be based on the 4 and 4S models, and that the roof will be an automatic deal that somehow stores itself well out of sight. There is no exact information on how this top will work, but at least it’s not the glorified moonroof that the last Targa model had. Also leaked is the price range of $100k to $150k, and that it will debut in Detroit next year. You can see the leaked images after the jump.(Jalopnik)
Click past the jump to read more about the 911 Targa and to see the latest spy video
Leaked Dealership Presentation Image
The image above gives us some details on the 911 Targa, like the price range $100k to $120k, and that it will debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show with an April 2014 release. We also learned that it will be based on the 4 and 4S models.
As you can see in the above video, the 911 Targa was caught with its pants down, err, with its top off. That is just about all of the confirmation that we need to know that this model is indeed in Porsche’s plans. Add in the Porsche-standard gloss-black test-car paint and we can see it is a virtual lock…
911 Targa History
The 911 Targa has a pretty spotty history that is nearly impossible to follow, as it came and left more times than we care to count. The Targa model began back in 1967 when Porsche wanted to build a full-convertible variant of the 911, but fear that the NHTSA may ban full drop-top models in the U.S. lead the Stuttgart company to offer a removable center and rear window on the 911, but leave the massive steel cover over a roll bar in the center. Thus, the Targa was born!
In 1968, after complaints from 911 faithful that the Targas rear window was about as useful as a wrapping your car in plastic wrap, Porsche started offering a wraparound glass window as an option on the Targa.
1974 brought the next real change for the Targa model, as Porsche swapped out the foldable top that kept water out about as well as a thin tissue with a rigid fiberglass top. The soft top was still an available option for 911 traditionalists; in fact, most U.S. models were delivered with the optional sot top in place of the standard fiberglass roof.
In 1983, the Targa ran into some trouble, as Porsche finally unveiled a full-cabriolet 911. To say this was catastrophic for the aging Targa was an understatement. It crushed the now-useless Targa’s sales to miniscule numbers.
In 1995, Porsche inexplicably left the Targa model off of the options list only to add it again in1996. Its return in 1996 brought an all-new sliding-glass-panel roof that was easier to work and more reliable than even the hard fiberglass unit it replaced.
1999 was yet another lapse in the Targa model’s production run, as Porsche left it and the Turbo model off of the options list.
The 2002 model year marked the return of the Targa model. It lasted through 2005 in this run. The 2006 model year was another off year for the Targa, but it returned in 2007 as the Targa 4 and Targa 4s, and ran through the 2012 model year.
The 2013 model year was an off year and now rumors are circulating about its resurrection as a 2014 and 2015 model year.
To call the Exige a “roadster” is a disservice. Its top only opens up a 2-foot space above your head, making it about as close to a Targa top as you can get. The new Exige S Roadster pulls its power from a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that puts down 345 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. This is enough to launch it to 60 mph in only 3.8 seconds and to a limited top speed of 145 mph. Unfortunately, Lotus hasn’t unveiled any pricing details for the U.S. yet, but we do know that the 2013 UK model is £52,900 ($79,916). That puts it about in line with where we think the Targa 4S will be.