Porsche brings back the 911 T. Inspired by the 1968 Carrera T, Porsche aims to please customers looking for a pure driving experience. Lighter, lower, more powerful and more engaging to drive that is what Porsche promises the 911 T to be. Does it live up to my puristic desires? I put the Porsche 911 Carrera T to the test in Southern France!
Like the standard 911 Carrera the Carrera T comes with a bi-turbo six-cylinder boxer engine. Going from naturally aspirated to turbocharged engine represents the biggest revolution for the 911 since the change from air-cooled to water-cooled. Due to emission requirements it is inevitable that more and more naturally aspirated models are replaced with turbocharged ones.
The 3.0 liter flat-six produces 370hp and 450Nm of torque from as low as 1,700 rpm. The red line is reached at 7,500 rpm. 0-100 km/h is done in 4.5 seconds, 0-200 km/h in 15.1 seconds and the 911 Carrera T tops out at 293 km/h. With the 7-speed shortshift manual gearbox that is. The PDK version is faster but the manual gearbox is the one to have on a puristic model like the 911 T so I will focus on that version in this review.
The 911 Carrera T is the lightest Carrera money can buy. The overall weight has been reduced by 20 kilograms, and although that doesn’t sound like much it has a serious impact on the overall driving experience. Plus, it is only a mere 13 kg heavier as the 911 GT3 Touring. As part of the purist diet the rear windows have been replaced with thinner lightweight ones, the navigation has been removed and noise isolation has been trimmed. The result is a unique bare bone sports car with a focus on pure driving.
This weight saving approach has a clear price though as we experienced on the French highway; the levels of wind noise, tire noise and engine noise are significantly higher. So high in fact that having a normal conversation requires some serious decibels and I would consider wearing a headset or just leaving the co-driver home altogether. Saving weight like a pro!
The biturbos provide a maximum boost pressure of 0.9 bar and the wastegate provides a clear audible puff when you lift of the throttle. For a turbo engine it doesn’t sound bad but it is not quite as good as it’s naturally aspirated predecessor. Odd enough it hardly makes any sound in certain rev ranges like accelerating from 4,000 to 4,500 rpm. But as soon as you lift the throttle and let the revs come down to 4,000 it is very loud. From 5,000 rpm on the exhaust flaps open and both inside and out has a lovely sound track.
The Porsche 911 Carrera T looks very much like the 911 Carrera. Merely a redesigned and optimized front lip, Carrera T specific badges and titanium grey 20-inch Carrera S wheels set the car apart optically.
Inside the most eye-catching feature is the complete absence of the infotainment screen. The gap is filled with a two-level storage space. The steering wheel features a single turning knob to switch between drive programs Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual. The four-way electric sport seats can optionally be changed to full bucket seats – a first for the 911 Carrera.
The first part of my journey with the Porsche 911 Carrera T was from Nice Airport to a hotel on the French Riviera. This particular model equipped with PDK and navigation felt like the 911 had an identity crisis and just by specification was a complete misfit with the Carrera T concept. Too loud for every day life and too practical to be a purist driver’s car.
The next day it all changed for the better as I was handed the keys to a bright yellow manual without navigation. Now this was more like it! The short shift gearbox has nice and short gear ratios, the handling is direct and sporty and the level of noise and sound inside the cabin no longer bothered me. It still lacks a bit of power and punch at higher speeds but since we swapped the highway for some very scenic and twisty mountain roads this was no longer really an issue either.
From a purist view I still have a few desires though. Driving the Carrera T back to back with the brand new GT3 Touring a mix of both cars would come pretty close to my purist Porsche 911 dream car: 6-speed manual, naturally aspirated engine, no navigation, no electric seats and no rear seats, wide wheel arches and maybe a small fixed ducktail wing.