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2018 Porsche 911 Carrera T performance review

By Scott Newman, 09 Aug 2018 Reviews

2018 Porsche 911 Carrera T review

Pared down Carrera a gem but keep away from those options

Admittedly, it’s been a while, but when I learnt the alphabet T definitely came after S. Not so at Porsche, which has slotted the new 911 Carrera T in below the Carrera S.

Then again, Porsche is notoriously contrary: until recently its hardtop Cayman cost more than its convertible Boxster, and then there’s the mechanical layout of the 911!

The confusion continues. T stands for Touring, bringing to mind a more relaxed, luxurious spec of 911, yet Porsche’s press release speaks of a pared-back specification and less weight courtesy of deleted rear seats, no infotainment system, lightweight windows and reduced sound deadening.

As a result, in standard guise the T undercuts a standard Carrera by 20kg, however, as our test car has its infotainment as well as the seven-speed PDK dual-clutch, 18-way electrically-adjustable seats and privacy glass it seems safe to say the weight discrepancy has been nullified. Curiouser and curiouser.

Identifying a T is easy. Apart from the obvious badge there’s grey mirrors and 20-inch alloys and Porsche adds PASM sports chassis (20mm lower), Sport Chrono Package and a sports exhaust as standard.

Based as it is on the standard Carrera, the T uses the 272kW/450Nm tune of Porsche’s 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat-six. The PDK is unchanged, but the seven-speed manual benefits from a shorter final drive (3.59:1 instead of 3.44:1) and shortened shift lever for quicker shifts.

One thing is already clear without driving a metre: if you want the ultimate Carrera T experience, pick the manual and keep away from those options boxes. In the case of our test car, what we’re left with is in effect a very nicely-specced base Carrera. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Previous Carreras usually used smaller engines and subsequently felt a little soft compared to their S bigger brothers. The switch to turbocharging changed this, making the S supercar-quick and gifting the base Carrera all the performance you could ever possibly want or need on a public road (or a racetrack, to be honest).

This is a car that can sprint to 100km/h in 4.2sec, pass 200km/h in 14.5sec and continue on to a top speed of 291km/h. The engine is strong everywhere, makes a nice six-cylinder growl garnished with fireworks on the over-run.

911 'Touring' Meisters: Carrera T v GT3 Touring

I wish it still had the old naturally-aspirated 3.8; Porsche is probably sick of reading that, but it’s true, I want my sports car to scream past 7500rpm. Nonetheless, the turbo unit is an excellent engine and the PDK is the perfect partner; you’d really, really want to change gears yourself to go past it.

Wet roads allowed easier access to the 911’s incredibly high limits. Wearing 245/35 tyres front and massive 305/30 rears, grip levels are enormous, but at least on greasy, dirty roads you’ll get the occasional flare of wheelspin or wriggle from the rear end.

Not to say the 911 is in any way boring in the dry, but it’s not a car you wrestle with in the manner of a BMW M4 or Mercedes-AMG C63 – it’s a rapier, not a broadsword.

Like a rapier, the 911 is at its most effective when you master the correct technique. If you’re too greedy with the throttle too early in the corner, the front tyres will push as the car punishes your ineptitude – not in a way that’s dangerous, just in a way that reminds you you’re a nong behind the wheel.

Get it right and it’s just the best feeling, especially here in the wet when Sports ESP lets the rear slip slightly and you can feel the car moving around underneath you. As ever with 911s – or Porsche sports car in general – the harder you drive it the better it gets, never once feeling the strain of continued punishment.

Simply put, the 911 Carrera T is a brilliant drive, but in PDK guise, I’m just not sure why I’d choose it over a base Carrera.

Fast on the sheets, but fun on the streets? On MOTOR Reviews

2018 PORSCHE 911 CARRERA T SPECS:
Engine:
 2981 flat-6cyl, DOHC, 24v, twin-turbo
Power: 272kW @ 6500rpm
Torque: 450Nm @ 1700-5000rpm
Weight: 1425kg (man.); 1445kg (PDK)
0-100km/h: 4.2sec (claimed)
Price: $238,400 (manual); $245,070 (PDK)