2009 Porsche 911 Targa 997.2
The 997 Targa. Chances are you forgot about that one, and indeed the 996 before it. Porsche took a bit of a diversion with the Targa version of the 993, 996 and 997, with these models not coming with the immediate Targa signifier of a rollover bar and expansive wraparound rear glass. The 991 would return to that format, with some added opening and closing automated theatrics, all of which leaves those interim Targa models somewhat overlooked. Not here at Spotted, though, because we’re going to champion them, and specifically the 997 Targa – or more correctly, the Targa 4/4S. With the 997 onwards Porsche exclusively delivered the Targa models with four-wheel drive. As well as the added security of some drive going towards the front axle, the 4/4S brought with it a body that’s 44mm wider at the rear. We think the 997 looks its best with a wider rump.
The 997 Targa 4/4S also presents a differing profile, with its roof system almost a direct lift from the 996 Targa before it. The rear side window was reshaped to terminate in a point rather than a curve. It’s remarkable just how much that changes the style. The roofline is slightly lengthened, and the effect is accentuated thanks to Porsche adding a polished anodised aluminium strip around the entire top of the glasshouse. Even so, it’s not the glass to the sides that’s important here, but rather the glass above your head.
If you’re being cruel you could write it off as a large opening panoramic sunroof, with the two-ply tinted glass sliding back by around half a metre with the help of a pair of electric motors. There’s a translucent fabric roller-blind, and both the roof and the blind are operated by a rocker switch on the centre console.
It’s not all that excites us here though, with our real joy being focused on the opening glass hatchback. Again, like the 996 before it, this lifts to give access to the rear. As we’re always banging on about the 911 being the most useable, practical sports car you can buy, this adds even more appeal. Fold the rear seats and you’ve 230 litres of available luggage space – only here, an easier means of accessing it.
Which is why we’ve been poring over the classifieds looking for Targas, Porsche’s hottest of hot hatchbacks. There aren’t that many out there, which might have you thinking those that are around come with sizeable asking prices. Not so. Targa pricing is largely in line with their Coupe relations. The Targa’s relative rarity means you can have a real snapshot of the entire market, too, with prices starting at around £26,000.
We’re not too fussy on whether it’s a Gen1 or Gen2 Targa 4 or 4S, although the Gen1 cars are slightly cheaper. That said, the reflector bar spanning the rear lights and usual engine, interior and chassis improvements that the Gen2 bring do also appeal. Indeed, of the countless 911s this writer’s driven, the green Gen2 Targa 4S from the UK press fleet, pictured here, was among those that’s left a lasting impression, even though it was many years ago. I’ll repeat what I said back then: an opening hatchback is so useful, it should be a possibility on all 911s. Only with the Targa, it is. Rare, interesting, useful and inexpensive, and now we’re off back to the classifieds…