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The 2022 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS is a greatest hits album of all the best features available on the 992-generation 911 -- short of the GT3's naturally aspirated engine, anyway. Since its introduction in the 997-generation 911, the GTS model has been the cognoscenti's choice as a daily driver.
For the new GTS, the 911's twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-6 produces 473 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 420 pound-feet of torque between 2,300 and 5,000 rpm. That's up 30 hp and 30 lb-ft from a Carrera S and a whopping 94 hp and 89 lb-ft over the base Carrera. For funsies, the GTS is only 29 hp down on the GT3 and is way up on torque, and that low-end twist is what makes the GTS so good as a daily driver.
If I have to offer a criticism of the turbo engine, it's that it doesn't provide as compelling a soundtrack as a naturally aspirated 911. The engine sounds like a diesel at idle, and while the sound it makes as you climb the tachometer isn't bad, it's also not the spine-tingling yowl offered by free-breathing Porsches.
The 2022 Targa GTS is available with either an eight-speed PDK transmission (which remains the best dual-clutch in the biz by a country mile) or, as is fitted to my test vehicle, a seven-speed manual. Porsche's seven-speed stick isn't something I've always been in love with -- the first version in the 991-generation car was pretty unpleasant -- but the current iteration offers precise, notchy shifts with a gear stick that's been shortened by 10mm and a seventh gear that is genuinely useful to eke out highway fuel economy. The 911's clutch isn't what I'd describe as light, but it offers smooth, progressive engagement without becoming tiring in heavy traffic.
As with all the other Targa models, the GTS is offered exclusively with all-wheel drive. Being kind of a 911 nerd, this isn't my preference, but the GTS has so much power that you won't ever notice the extra front-end weight, and the amount of grip offered by the active torque-vectoring AWD system is just staggering. This is accentuated by the sticky Pirelli P Zero tires that come standard on the GTS, mounted to 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels borrowed from the 911 Turbo.
Brakes are nearly always a strong suit for the 911, and the standard steel brakes on this GTS are no exception. They offer immense bite, great fade resistance and significantly better feel and ease of modulation over the PCCB carbon-ceramic units. They also aren't a $9,000 upgrade like the carbon setup, so everyone wins.
The GTS trim gets a 10-millimeter lower ride height compared to the Carrera, and the Porsche Active Suspension Management system works as brilliantly as ever, offering superb body control without asking for big sacrifices in comfort.
All of the driver's contact points -- pedals, shifter, steering wheel -- feel perfectly weighted and placed for maximum comfort and confidence at speed. The GTS' steering is scalpel-sharp and well-weighted, and for electronically assisted steering, the level of feedback offered is commendable.
There's a reason that the 911 occupies its spot in the pantheon as the archetypal sports car, and the latest-generation GTS only justifies that further. It's unrelentingly fast when you push it, offering seemingly limitless grip and makes even average drivers feel heroic on canyon roads. But that's not only what makes the 911 great. What makes it a legend is its usability, practicality and its quality. It does everything, and does it really, really well.
That practicality and usability stem, in large part, from the excellent interior design that 911s have always offered. The Targa GTS is roomy in a way that other sports cars aren't -- it's one of the most comfortable cars for me to sit in, even at 6 feet, 4 inches tall -- and offers not only 4.6 cubic feet of luggage space in the frunk, but bonus storage in the back seats.
The materials that Porsche chose for the GTS trim are phenomenal. My test vehicle comes with the utterly gorgeous Truffle Brown leather interior, as well as with a smattering of Alcantara on things like the steering wheel, armrests, shift knob and center storage compartment lid. Everything feels perfectly put together with no squeaks, rattles or out-of-place stitches. The 911 feels like an incredibly high quality item, an opinion which is backed up by its numerous first place finishes in J.D. Power's owner surveys for quality and satisfaction.
The interior tech for the 2022 911 is superb. The Porsche Communication Management system's 10.3-inch screen is beautifully integrated into the 911's dash and is responsive, intuitive to use and features both Apple CarPlay and -- finally, for 2022 -- Android Auto integration.
Like most German luxury brands, Porsche is all about a la carte options. That means that you're going to pay for everything you want, but crucially, you won't be paying for things you don't want. With that in mind, my test vehicle's options list is surprisingly short. There are no carbon bucket seats or leather-covered vent slats. Instead, Porsche spent money on things like a front axle-lift system and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) that enhance the driving experience and make the GTS an even more liveable car.
The unfortunate side of Porsche's a la carte options mentality is that some things -- safety stuff, for example -- which would normally be standard on a car at the GTS' price, aren't. For example, my test vehicle lacks adaptive cruise control, which is a $2,000 option or, if you want to bundle it with lane-keep assist, adds over $3,000 to the final tally. Is it a dealbreaker? No. Is it annoying? Yes. Should you pony up for these features? Also yes.
Speaking of pony up, that's what you'll have to do if you want to play. The 2022 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS starts at a rather spicy $158,150, including a $1,350 destination charge, and when you start adding creature comforts and more performance goodies, that price goes up quickly. My moderately optioned test vehicle retails for a whopping $175,030.
Can you get faster, more powerful cars for significantly less money? Absolutely, but with those vehicles, you're giving up practicality and a driving experience like no other -- exactly what makes the 911 so special.