The 2017 Porsche 911 Targa 4 was unveiled this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show. We don’t usually see a car receiving a substantial refresh only two years into its design life, and yet here we are — the Targa 4 is much different from the version that took its first bow two years ago, and much different from earlier Porsche Targa models. Surprisingly for a car that was already quite good, the 911 Targa 4 is even substantially improved. 

The improvements aren’t strictly cosmetic, either. In fact, Porsche has done very little to the exterior of the Targa, opting instead to focus on its powertrain. What results is a car that looks much the same (indeed, even the reintroduced Targa wasn’t a radical departure from the earlier version introduced nearly 50 years ago), but which has improved performance.

The Targa comes in two trim levels, the Targa 4 and Targa 4S. The “4” denotes the all-wheel-drive that’s now standard on both versions. Don’t panic; Porsche has improved the AWD performance to the point that the AWD is actually faster than the traditional front-wheel drive. That’s partly thanks to the engines. The 4 comes with a powerful 370 horsepower engine, while the 4S adds another 50 horses. That’s right, 420 horsepower. Both cars’ drivetrains are rounded out by the capable PDK transmission.

The result is a Porsche that delivers the expected goosebumps, and has good looks to spare, just as you’d expect given the 50-year history of the Porsche 911. The all-wheel-drive is helpful in cold weather or in bad driving conditions, where the hard top is also likely to be helpful.

The 2017 Porsche 911 Targa 4 will begin making its way to showrooms early in 2016. We expect to see it here at Porsche of Nashua soon after. If the Targa 4 isn’t quite your cup of tea, you can choose among the traditional 2016 Porsche 911 Carrera, the Porsche Panamera, or the surprisingly rugged Porsche Macan.