Mister Porsche's Wild Ride
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because this car is basically like driving a real-life Transformer.
By William K. Gock
“Roof goes up, roof comes down. Roof goes up, roof comes down.” You can get in a trance. This sums up the Homer Simpson-esque state of being you’ll find yourself in from staring too long at Porsche’s new 911 Targa 4. At the very least, the latest glazed treat from Stuttgart will have you drooling.
There’s really no need to review the performance here. After all, it’s a 911 — the crown jewel of the car world’s royalty; it’s been strong and speedy for generations. The S model’s straight 6-cylinder boxer engine lays down 400 horses via an AWD drivetrain, and rockets from 0 to 60 in just 4.4 seconds. That’s some Fast and Furious speed. Asking if it drives well is like questioning the sky’s blueness.
Hold the button down on the key fob and see if you can coin better buzzwords than ’Innovative Kinematics.’
But that top, though…
The best way to understand it is by grasping the delicious notion of kinematics — defined as: “a branch of dynamics that deals with aspects of motion apart from considerations of mass and force.” If that’s not complicated enough, Porsche went and threw an adjective in front to describe the engineering behind their latest semi-convertible creation: Innovative Kinematics.
This is no corporate catchphrase.
Hold the button down on the key fob and see if you can coin better buzzwords. In the span of just 20 seconds, the Targa’s fabric-paneled roof — held taut by a lightweight magnesium brace — pops up from the brushed-aluminum roll bar in back, folds in a z-pattern and then slips under the rear clamshell windshield, which momentarily leans back to accept the neatly packaged goods. Watching the precision of its operation is captivating enough. Then it hits you that, unlike most of its drop-top competitors, the 911’s engine is in the back. Who said there was no career path for master Tetris players?
You can carry out this maneuver from inside the leather-and-carbon appointed cabin, but due to the motion’s brief obstruction of the taillights, the technical tango can only be performed with the car at rest. Do not drive and roof. This is probably for the best, as the distracted driving it might elicit could be comparable to that of sighting a real-life Transformer — which the Targa is basically just a face and a couple of laser-blasters away from being.
So do yourself an optical favor, and enjoy your donut and coffee outside the car while you study the roof’s robotic dance. Besides, its cup holders are a joke.
Mmm … Innovative Kinematics…
- William K. Gock, OZY AuthorContact William K. Gock