Drive with us to THE ISLAND. The people who instantly know what we mean by THE ISLAND are the people who go there often. The people who talk about THE ISLAND may even own a cottage there. Or have friends who own a cottage. Or at least have a favourite cosy hotel. People who love THE ISLAND don't need to take time off, or have good weather guaranteed, to go back. THE ISLAND is the most enchanting of all islands, especially in the off-peak months of late autumn, winter and spring.
Drive with us to THE ISLAND in the new Targa. The people whose hearts skip a beat, who run their hands through their hair and who know in an instant that adventure is beckoning; they only need to know when it will all begin. Targa sounds like leather gloves, or maybe even the dirt-covered hands of a racing driver. Previously, you had to manually remove the roof, with only the roll-over bar staying in place. Today, the roof of the latest 911 Targa 4S retracts smoothly via a hydropneumatic mechanism, as if thinking by itself. There is still space to bring some luggage along, of course – ideal for a rustic overnight bag with a spare set of clothes for a weekend trip to THE ISLAND.
It's time to get the roof down and out into the freshest of fresh air! It is at this point that all of the other ISLAND visitors and Sylt holiday-makers from the peak season dutifully return home in their tens of thousands to help the children with their school work or resume their regular jobs. Germany's most northerly island is actually at its most beautiful during the off-peak season. We were there in October. And again in February – we can hardly wait to go back in May and June too (although not on public holidays, obviously). The colours alone are worth the trip: Rust red, seaberry red, wild rose pink, sand beige, reed green, moss green, the alternating red and white rings of the lighthouses and the peppermint-green Targa contrast against the blue sky overhead dotted with a few flecks of white cloud that chase the different shades of blue – light, medium and dark. After all, the ever-blowing wind, coming mostly from the west, is the very finest feature of Sylt.
The wind ensures that the sun shines virtually all of the time and everything smells fresh. The wind is salty, and the tiniest bit damp. The wind leaves a veil of freshness on your skin, smoothing out wrinkles, giving you a rosy glow and making your eyes sparkle – no expensive products required. The wind adds volume to your hair, making it stand on end like a stock-photo surfer. Anyone with a bit less hair wears a woollen fisherman's cap, necessary in this wind, and end up looking not so much like grizzly folk singers, but more like Captain Ahab on shore leave. The wind purifies everything, especially the soul, blowing away all the bothersome clutter in your mind: all those meetings, emails, dinners, to-do lists and bucket lists.
To shut out this glorious wind would be almost criminal. In the Targa, you can spend virtually the entire day on the move in the open air without being slowed down by the westerly headwind, which the Porsche 911 Targa 4S defies with its powerful 420-hp performance. The acceleration values of between 4.0 (with the Sport Chrono Package) and 4.2 seconds are also impressive. But what is the point of all this power on an island that is just 38 kilometres long? You would reach one end of THE ISLAND far too quickly, perhaps discovering the “elbow” in the far north where the island looks almost like the Caribbean. Exploring the openness of the landscape on Sylt from above is also a sight to behold. A short, half-hour round flight with Sylt Air does not cost the earth, which is precisely what you'll be looking at, albeit from a loftier perspective. The airport is not far from the stylish Porsche Centre Sylt, located just outside Westerland. Incidentally, the theoretical top speed of the 911 Targa 4S is faster than the Cessna aeroplane operated by Sylt Air. The Targa may not be able to fly, but we still think one of the best ways to experience THE ISLAND is in a Targa with the roof down.
So what other tips can we offer?
Always get up early. Breakfast early, set off early, eat lunch early, get back early and drink that first beer. Champagne is for peak-season folk. At Brot & Bier in Keitum, you can buy bread and beer so good, you'll never want anything else. For a great night's sleep, try Hotel Alte Strandvogtei in Rantum. Free Wifi is rarely found on the island, only at a few places in Westerland. Mobile reception is also bad at times – making THE ISLAND the perfect downtime destination. Porsche models are available from Porsche Sylt in Westerland, so everything you need is in one place.
Text first published in Ramp magazine #38.
Text: Sabine Cole // Photos: Stefan Bogner
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911 Targa 4S: Fuel consumption combined 9.0 – 8.0 l/100 km; CO2 emissions 208 – 184 g/km