New Model News

New 2021 Porsche 911 Targa design hints at heritage, will set you back over $100,000

Porche has debuted the latest models in its 911 lineup, the Targa 4 and 4S.

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Porsche has debuted another pieces of its 911 trio just in time for summer. The 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4 ad Targa 4S models feature the company's signature Targa look with a touch of nostalgic flare and will sit alongside the 911 Carrera and Turbo models in the Porsche 911 (992) lineup.

The part that makes the Targa different is what makes it stand out to Porsche enthusiasts with a penchant for the model style. It features a fully automatic roof system with a wide roll hoop, movable roof section that tops the front seats, and a wraparound rear window - just like the 1965 model. Porsche says that the roof goes from open to closed in 19 seconds.

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4 & 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4S

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Porsche has given the model the exterior highlights of the rest of the 911 lineup - LED headlights, wide spoiler, and. aluminum skin (with the exception of the front and rear).

Powering both model is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six engine that is already a well-known part of the Porsche lineup. It produces 379 horsepower in the Targa 4 and 443 horsepower in the Targa 4S. This makes it about eight percent more powerful than its predecessor.

The engine is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission in both models but those desiring a seven-speed manual transmission can swap it out as a factory option at no cost on Targa 4S models. When you opt for the manual, you also get the Sport Chrono package added on.

The car features some new tech including Porsche InnoDrive, which includes adaptive cruise for the first time. There's a Smartlift function, which programs grounds clearance into the system for daily use. Every model comes equipped with all-wheel drive.

The German automaker has refined its drive and handling systems. The Porsche Active Suspension Management system (PASM) comes standard on the 911 Targa models and features Normal and Sport drive models. Also standard one the Targa 4S is the Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) system, which includes an electronic locking rear differential with variable torque distribution. PVT Plus is available on the Targa 4. Targa models also get Porsche Wet standard, which senses water on the roadway and prompts the driver to switch to the car's Wet drive mode.

Porsche equips the Targa 4 with 235/40 ZR front tires on 19-inch alloy wheels while 295/35 ZR tires on 20-inch wheels shoe the rear. Those cars also get 330-millimeter brake discs with black four-piston monobloc fixed callipers.

Targa 4S models get 245/35 ZR tires up front on 20-inch wheels and 305/30 ZR tires on its 21-inchers out back. They also get red-painted brake callipers (six pistons at the front, four at the rear) that pair with 350-millimeter brake discs. Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) are an option.

Interior design takes its notes from 911 models of the 1970s and today. A compact switch unit with five buttons sits below the 10.9-inch infotainment touch screen. The standard features list for that system includes navigation and Apple CarPlay.

Further, owners wishing to splash out on a more customized Targa can opt for the long list of personalization from Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur.

As for price, Porsche hasn't released that info yet, but it's very likely that the new 911 Targa 4 and Targa 4S will not be cheaper than their predecessors, which had starting prices of $110,300 and $124,300 respectively for the 2019 model year.

Porsche is already teasing the next trick up its sleeve- a special edition of the 911 Targa, which will debut in June.

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The EQXX Concept features a crazy driving range.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is putting its century-plus of automotive experience into building electric cars, and the results are impressive. The EQS is an electric flagship with great range, and the automaker has unveiled several concepts to show its future plans. The Vision EQXX concept debuted today as an ultra-efficient luxury EV with astonishing range numbers.

Mercedes-Benz EQXX Concept Mercedes focused on efficiency over power with the car. Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes' focus with the EQXX is efficiency over power, as it says the car is its most efficient it has ever made. The EQXX uses less than 10 kWh per 100 kilometers (around 62 miles), which equates to 620 miles on a single charge. The battery was designed with tech and knowledge from Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 team, especially when it comes to size and weight. The EQXX's battery pack is 50 percent smaller by volume and 30 percent lighter than the pack in the EQS, which already featured astonishing efficiency.

The car's impressive range comes at the expense of horsepower, which in this case means just 201 ponies from the EQXX's electric drivetrain. Mercedes says that the system is capable of delivering up to 95 percent energy efficiency - an impressive figure for power delivery to the wheels. Extremely efficient gas powertrains only achieve around 30 percent efficiency and a human long-distance runner can hit around 50 percent.

Mercedes-Benz EQXX Concept The EQXX is impressively slippery, which improves its range.

The EQXX is a slippery car, too, and with a drag coefficient of just 0.17, the car cuts through the air with ease. The typical EV uses up to two-thirds of its battery capacity just to push through the air, so the EQXX's aerodynamics is a big part of its efficiency. The other big part is Mercedes' thermal management system, which uses shutters and cooling plates to maintain an ideal battery and electric drive unit temperature. The plates allow the EQXX to gain about 12 miles of range in its most aerodynamic mode.

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What was your best car-related experience this year?

Chris Teague

This year has been a lot of things, but it hasn't been boring. Even if we focus only on the car world, there's plenty to talk about, from microchip-related new vehicle shortages to the wave of new electric vehicles hitting the market. That leaves us with a question for all of you: What was the best or most memorable car moment for you in 2021? I'll get the conversation started.

Porsche Cayenne GTS My SoCal Cayenne śaw snow for the first time in its nearly 200k-mile life last week.Chris Teague

I'd spent a good portion of 2021 wanting a new-old car to drive when I wasn't testing a new vehicle. That's harder than you'd think for someone who thinks, talks, and writes about cars all day, because there are so many interesting, risky, and downright funky options out there in every price range. The added headache for me was that I'd chosen to shop for a "fun" car in one of the most volatile car markets ever seen. Even the extremely high-mileage "untouchable" European cars I wanted to buy were commanding ridiculous prices.

After a solid few months of waffling between various rattletrap Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and Audi S/RS cars, I landed on an option that had escaped me before: The Porsche Cayenne. First-generation Cayennes are a real bargain now, but the 955/957 (Porsche's internal code for the SUVs) can experience major problems that occur with or without regular maintenance and care. I was determined to buy one, and wasn't overly concerned about mileage, as long as I could count the number of owners on one hand. There was a beautiful 2009 Cayenne GTS with 90,000 miles but nine owners, a gorgeous 2004 Cayenne Turbo with a concerning engine tick, and many more just like them. Finally, I decided to risky-click a 196,000-mile Cayenne GTS in Southern California. It had one owner and one dealer-owner for a month or two prior to sale, its condition looked decent in photos, and I was able to negotiate a reasonable enough price that shipping it from San Diego to Maine wasn't a huge problem.

Porsche Cayenne GTS The pics look great, but hands-on tells another story.Chris Teague

I had two traveling Euro mechanics check the car out, and both confirmed that it was well-worn but mechanically sound, so I jumped. Ten days later, on a snowy, icy, dark Maine afternoon, the Cayenne arrived. Cosmetically, there were a few things the dealer and mechanics failed to mention, but overall, it looked good. The SUV passed Maine safety and emissions testing without problem, got a new set of Michelins, and I was on my way.

Porsche Cayenne GTS I'm in danger, but thankfully this should be a reasonable fix.Chris Teague

A few days of driving revealed what I was really in for. A check engine light revealed a camshaft position sensor error and the Cayenne displayed a nasty vibration at idle. A new sensor and motor mounts, and I'm on my way. I'll update you as more things break or miraculously work, but I want to hear your memories from 2021.

Email me at chris@automotivemap.com, and I will compile the best and most interesting stories for a story on New Year's Day. May you all have a wonderful 2022.

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