The present paper addresses an experimental study of the dynamic exchanges between the impact of an intermittent spray and the liquid film formed over the target, based on detailed phase Doppler anemometry (PDA) measurements of droplet size, velocity and volume flux in the vicinity of the impact. The flow configuration is that of a pulsed injector spraying gasoline onto a flat disc to simulate the port fuel injection (PFI) of an internal combustion engine operating at cold-start conditions. The measurements evidence that the outcome of impact cannot be accurately predicted based on the characteristics of the free spray, but requires precise knowledge of the flow structure, induced by the target. The implications for spray–wall interaction modelling are then discussed based on the application of conservation equations to the mass, momentum and energy exchanged between the impinging droplets and the liquid film. The results show that the liquid film starts to form in the vicinity of the stagnation region at early stages of injection and a non-negligible proportion of droplets impinging at outer regions splash after interaction with the film. Film disruption is mainly driven by the intermittent axial momentum of impinging droplets, which enhances the vertical oscillations. The radial momentum imparted to the liquid film at the stagnation region is fed back onto secondary droplets emerging later during the injection cycle at outwards locations, where momentum of impacting droplets is much smaller. As a consequence, although the number of splashed droplets is enhanced by normal momentum, their size and ejection velocity depends more on the radial spread induced onto the liquid film and, hence, on the radial momentum at impact. The analysis further shows that existing spray–wall interaction models can be improved if the dynamic exchanges between the impacting spray and the liquid film are accounted.