Whistler, BC — As a longtime British Columbian and Vancouverite, I have to say that while the Olympics did a lot of good for our Province and city, the road “improvements” it provided weren’t necessarily all that; not for enthusiast drivers, anyway.
For the aptly-named Sea-to-Sky highway between Vancouver and Whistler used to be one of those driver’s roads you read about; nice, sweeping turns sandwiched between a rock face on one side, and the ocean on the other, strings of turns as far as the eye could see and fantastic vistas.
The vistas still remain (just have a look at the photos in this article), but unfortunately, those great sweepers and cambered turns have been widened and straightened in an effort to move more people through. There’s still some fun to be had, just not as much as before.
Unless, of course, you’re at the helm of one of the latest from Stuttgart’s finest, embodied here by the 2015 Porsche 911 Targa 4. Indeed, when you’re at the wheel of a Porsche, everything becomes that much sharper, focused and fun.
Yes, many may lament the latest generation’s—the 991—shift to electric power steering, but the seating position so right and the controls so well placed (save for a slight offset of the pedal box due to wheel well intrusion) that you forget that pretty quickly.
Power from the still glorious-sounding Flat-6 is rated at 350 hp and 287 lb.-ft. of torque, fed to all four wheels through a seven-speed manual in our case. To be honest, while that power figure is eclipsed by a Ford Mustang GT, I felt like the Targa could’ve used an eighth ratio when highway cruising, for you move so quickly through the gears.
Then there’s the top. Yes, it adds weight, but it looks glorious, its operation is fantastic to behold and it’s a great way of having some open-top cruising without too much of a hit to body structure. It was probably around zero degrees in the mountains, but I did the entire 250 km return journey with the top down. Because it’s a Targa, and that’s what you’re supposed to do. The really cold stuff happens when you get a bad crosswind, though, and you have to slide the side windows down less you deal with enough violent wind buffeting to pop your ears again and again.
But who cares, really? Because Porsche. Because 911. Because Targa.