Double Apex was recently invited to drive the latest model from Porsche; the 911 Carrera T and of course it didn’t take us a mere second to accept that invitation. We drove the new model in the Cape this past Monday.
Porsche’s 911 range is already quite confusing to outsiders. If you don’t follow the goings on with the offerings from Stuttgart, you may be wondering why introduce another new 911.
The “T” in Porsche 911 Carrera T stands for Touring. In essence, this is an “entry-level”, purist 911. As was the case with its 1968 namesake, the 991-based 911 T is a pared back, no-frills machine for those who love driving.
Less is more
To achieve the simplicity and deliver on the promise of a driver-centric car the Porsche 911 Carrera T has been specifically kitted out. The rear window and rear side windows are made from lightweight glass. Sound deadening material has been reduced somewhat and there are pull-straps in place of door handles. Rear seats and an infotainment system are a no-cost option. Interestingly, the standard seats feature a grippy Sport-Tex fabric.
The Carrera T boasts a ride height that is 20 mm lower and it sits pretty on 20-inch Carrera S wheels in grey. A pared down Sports Chrono Package, a shorter final drive and a mechanical LSD are all part of the package as is a sports exhaust system. 911 T tips the scales at 1 425 kg, 20 kg lighter compared to a 911 Carrera with similar equipment.
Apart from those large alloys, a new front lip as well as model-specific side decals in grey, with black exhaust tips and grey side mirrors, helps set the Carrera T apart from other 911 models.
How does it go?
The original Porsche 911 Carrera T earned its reputation by winning the 1968 Monte Carlo rally. On the day of our drive, Mother Nature seemed intent on replicating the conditions normally experienced on the French event. Across the southern parts of the Cape we experienced lashing rain, slick roads, and even snow at the very top of some mountain passes.
While these were definitely not ideal conditions to be enjoying a sportscar at full tilt, they did highlight a few areas of the 911 that are usually glossed over; 911s are extremely easy to drive in all conditions. This user-friendliness was highlighted as we picked our way through the Cape of Storms finest wet weather.
Arterial roads leading to the Walker Bay area are entertaining, when dry, but can be a bit challenging in the wet. The 911 Carrera T didn’t put a foot wrong on the way to the coast. As the 911 T is low-slung, you tend to sit in the spray caused by vehicles in front. Whenever we had a clear view of the road ahead, a simple mash of the loud pedal catapulted us past slower cars. In the PDK-equipped (twin-clutch) version the ECU drops a few cogs and dives into the 450 N.m well of torque to slingshot you past the car ahead.
On the way back to Cape Town we piloted a manual 911 Carrera T. Man, oh man… what a thing this is. It’s been a very long time since I’ve driven a manual Porsche and I’d almost forgotten how good they are. Some parts of the road back home were dry and we got to delve a little further into the 911 T’s dynamic repertoire. Slicing through the short-throw ’box and revving the motor out to the far side of 7 000 r/min is exactly what this car was made for.
A few dry corners were tackled at speed and the 911 T felt at home cornering assuredly flat with exceptional body control over bumps when the adaptive dampers were set to a firmer level.
Somehow, Porsche has engineered away any trace of turbo-lag, despite the two snails attached to the flat-six motor. Incidentally, that standard sports exhausts emits the signature boxer woofle and a volley of pops and crackles on a trailing throttle. The best part is, this aural entertainment is experienced in the Sport setting and not the more aggressive Sport+, which is usually best left for racetrack use.
The 911 Carrera T is a lighter, slightly more focused version of a standard 911. To get to the same level of spec in a base 911 would add somewhere in the region of R100 000 to the price of this car. From that point of view, the 911 T makes a lot of sense.
In fact, one should think of it more as a GT3-lite than as a base-911 with some spec added. In manual guise especially, it is a real driver’s machine. To me, it makes a lot more sense than a compromised sports coupe pretending to be a sportscar, which the 911 T really is. One day, perhaps I shall find myself behind the wheel of a Porsche Carrera 911 T and the weather will be better.
Price: R1 536 000
Engine: 3,0-litre, flat-six, twin-turbocharged
Transmission: 7-speed dual clutch/manual
Power: 272 kW
Torque: 450 N.m
Top speed: 290+ km/h
0-100/200 km/h: 4,2/14,5 sec (PDK)/4,5/15,1 sec (man)
Fuel consumption: 9,5 L/100 km