Update brings GT3-inspired visuals and a turbocharged engine

The 991-generation Porsche 911 was launched in 2011 as a replacement for the 997-gen model, which was produced between 2004 and 2012. Unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, it features an entirely new platform, only the third since the original 911 came to be in 1963. It’s also the first all-new 911 platform since 1999. Major changes compared to the previous version include a longer wheelbase, a new transaxle, and lighter aluminum and composite materials. As always, the exterior design remained evolutionary, borrowing cues from previous generations. The Targa variant returned in January 2014 and by the end of 2015, Porsche launched several models, including the track-oriented GTS.

With the entire 911 lineup set to receive its mid-cycle facelift by the end of 2016, the German brand is preparing to launch the 991.2-gen GTS Targa. The updated sports car was recently tested on the Nurburgring track and our paparazzi were at the right place at the right time to take a few snaps. Fortunately, there’s not an inch of camouflage obscuring the test car, so we can have a close look at the upcoming GTS Targa.

Much like other 991.2-gen models, visual modifications are far from dramatic. However, more significant changes are expected to occur under the hood, including a switch to forced induction and notably more output. Find out more about that in our speculative review.

Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche 991.2 Carrera GTS Targa.

  • 2017 Porsche 991.2 Carrera GTS Targa
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    flat-6
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.1 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    188 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    135000 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2017 Porsche 991.2 Carrera GTS Targa Exterior Spyshots
- image 675700

Arguably the most noticeable changes are found at the front of the car, where the bumper was reshaped to resemble that of the track-prepped GT3 model. The main outlets are slightly larger, while the smaller vents flanking the license plate have been moved closer to each other. The daytime running lights are significantly thinner for a sportier look, while the headlamps are new and come with Porsche’s latest technology.

The taillights are slimmer and feature the new four-point design and are connected by a 3D light strip.

Around back, we can spot upgrades similar to those seen on the rest of the 991.2 lineup. The quad-exhaust configuration has been ditched in favor of a GT3-like dual setup with the pipes mounted in the middle of the diffuser, while the engine lid grille has vertical slats instead of horizontal one. The taillights are slimmer and feature the new four-point design and are connected by a 3D light strip.

The side view appears to be identical to the previous model, save for the revised door handles and the new outlets in the rear bumper. Porsche will most likely also offer new exterior colors and updated wheel options.

Interior

There isn’t much to say about the interior with no photos to run by, but if the standard Carrera and Turbo models are any indication, changes should be minor as far as design and trim go. Look for a similar center console loaded with buttons and a large touchscreen, a three-spoke, multi-function steering wheel, bolstered seats, and plenty of high-grade materials such as fine leather and Alcantara to go with aluminum and carbon-fiber inserts.

More notable changes are to be found in the Porsche Communication (PCM) infotainment system that will include a revised seven-inch display, standard navigation with hand-written inputs, a free one-year subscription for real-time traffic info, on-board Wi-Fi for smartphone connectivity. The Targa GTS will also get the optional electro-hydraulic lift feature that increases front ground clearance by 40 mm (1.57 inches) for easier navigation across speed bumps and through angles driveways.

Drivetrain

2017 Porsche 991.2 Carrera GTS Targa Exterior Spyshots
- image 675704

It’s here where the new GTS Targa will get most changes. Although not officially confirmed yet, the GTS will ditch the naturally aspirated 3.8-liter flat-six for a turbocharged, 3.0-liter unit. This is exactly what happened to the Carrera models with the 991.2 facelift and, unfortunately for all naturally aspirated 911s, except for the hardcore GT3 and R versions. The good news is that forced induction will bring more power, better fuel economy, and quicker sprints to the table.

Actual figures are still a mystery, but given that the previous GTS was more powerful than the Carrera S, we expect the trend to continue with the new model. The facelift Carrera S comes with 420 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque on tap, so it’s safe to assume that the Targa GTS will get close to 450 horses and at least 380 pound-feet of twist. Both the seven-speed manual and PDK gearboxes will be offered, as well as the optional Sport Chrono package and rear-axle steering.

Performance-wise, it will be a bit quicker than the Carrera S-based Targa model. We expect the manual version to hit 60 mph from a standing start in 4.1 seconds and the PDK-equipped model to reach the same benchmark in 3.9 ticks. The Chrono Package will shave another tenth-second off for a 0-to-60 mph sprint of 3.8 seconds. Top speed should be close to 188 mph.

Other updates with the facelift will include the electro-hydraulically controlled all-wheel drive system and new shock absorbers for the standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system.

Prices

Pricing information is not yet available, but given that the new Targa 4S retails from $122,600, it’s safe to assume that the GTS model will fetch at least $135,000.

Competition

Jaguar F-Type R Convertible

2017 Jaguar F-Type High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 655386

The targa body style isn’t exactly popular nowadays and the 911 is pretty much the only premium, high-performance offering in this niche. For a proper alternative you need to look into convertibles such as the F-Type, which combine a stylish exterior with a powerful drivetrain, and the infinite headroom you get in the Targa GTS. To get the same level of performance as found in the Porsche, you’ll need to skip on the F-Type S and the go with the R model. Unlike the former, which uses a 380-horsepower V-6, the F-Type R gets its juice from a supercharged, 5.0-liter V-8 rated at 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of twist. Mated to an eight-speed automatic, the Jag hits 60 mph in only 3.9 seconds and tops out at 186 mph. The only downside is that there is no manual option. Pricing starts from $106,450, which makes the F-Type R significantly more affordable than the 911 Targa GTS.

Find out more about the Jaguar F-Type Convertible here.

Mazda MX-5 RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF Unveiled High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 670218

Granted, the Mazda Miata doesn’t have the looks, performance, and luxury features of a Porsche, but the new RF version is among the very few targa models you can buy from a dealership nowadays. Launched in 2016, it has a redesigned roof and a system that seems identical to the 911’s, where the flying buttresses lift up to allow the roof panel and the rear window to slide behind the seats. Power comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, which returns 0-to-60 mph sprints of around 7.4 seconds. Pricing is still a mystery as of May 2016, but the RF should start from around $30,000, only a fraction of the Targa GTS’ expected sticker.

Read more about the Mazda MX-5 RF here.

Conclusion

2017 Porsche 991.2 Carrera GTS Targa Exterior Spyshots
- image 675701

The 911 Targa might not be a high seller, but it has a strong fan base and apparently Porsche sells just enough examples to keep the nameplate alive. Not only does it look cool without the roof, but it also harkens back to one of the most iconic 911 Classic ever built. The fact that the roof can be removed or put back in place in a matter of seconds makes the Targa a much more versatile car than a standard convertible. The GTS drivetrain makes it that much better and the new turbocharged engine should bring significant improvements in the performance and fuel economy department. Purists might not be that happy, but it’s time we get used to the thought that the naturally aspirated 911 is living its final years on the market.

  • Leave it
    • The naturally aspirated GTS is dead
    • Very expensive
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