Porsche’s 911 for Purists
The 2018 Porsche 911 Carrera T builds on the Carrera 2 adding a more powerful turbo flat-six engine along with extensive weight saving to make it the lightest 911 the brand offers.
THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: Instant response, not to mention gratification, to every input.
- What’s Worst: Pricey options such as $370 for a yellow face on the Sport Chrono watch dial.
- What’s Interesting: How with every model, Porsche keeps finding more power, more performance and more sophistication from the same 911 that debuted in 1963.
The 2018 Porsche Carrera T is the 911 for purists.
The “T” stands for Touring, which is a homage to the late 1980s when lightweight 911 Touring models were, and are still highly prized by Porschophiles to this day.
The Carrera T starts as a 370 hp Carrera Coupe with a seven-speed short throw manual transmission or extra cost PDK seven-speed dual clutch automatic.
Also optional is rear-wheel steering you can’t get on a Carrera Coupe, along with the Porsche Sport Suspension that lowers the car by 10 mm. The Sport Suspension includes an aero optimized front spoiler lip.
Weight hobbles performance, so the Carrera T has rear and side windows made of lightweight glass. There are no inside door handles, just fabric straps and the sound insulation material is reduced, resulting in a weight of 3,142 lb, making it the lightest Carrera 911 you can buy.
It was powered by a 3.0-litre turbo flat six rear mounted engine, putting out 370 hp and 339 lb/ft of torque with rear mechanical differential lock that propels it from 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds with a top track speed of 182 mph.
There are several ways to spot a Carrera T, starting from the very obvious script running along the rocker panels and the 20-inch alloy wheels finished in Titanium Grey with the outside mirrors done in Agate Grey.
The standard Sport Exhaust system has black tips and you can baffle the noise or leave it open with the touch of a button on the centre console.
Standard seating offers the four-way Sports Seats Plus, but my tester had the optional ($3,010) 18-way Adaptive Sport Seats.
My tester in yellow, had the mainly black interior with contrasting yellow door pull loops, seat belts and stitching in yellow. A nice but costly touch was the yellow face on the Sport Chrono timer, located on the upper centre instrument panel.
And speaking of colour, one expects something special from Porsche on a car like the “T” and the brand delivers with paint options being Lava Orange, Black, Guards Red, Racing Yellow, White and Miami Blue, as well as available metallic Carrera White, Jet Black and GT Silver.
The thing about a 911 — any 911 — is the feeling that all the parts are in harmony as if hewn from one block of metal.
Slide into the deep, bolstered driver’s seat and you are faced with all the controls you really need directly in the forward line of sight.
The main instrument cluster is classic Porsche with the iconic five-pot design with the saucer-sized analog tach flanked by two gauges on each side.
The key slots into the left of the steering wheel and the flat six snarls into life abruptly.
The seven-speed manual is new, replacing the six-speed that’s been around for decades. With only 408 km on the car when I picked it up, the gearbox was not even broken in, so I had to make shifts deliberately.
An always nifty Porsche feature is the rear spoiler that deploys at 120 km/h (75 mph) and retracts when the speed drops below 80 km/h (50 mph).
There is also an override switch on the centre console so people won’t know you’ve been naughty.
My tester had the optional ($2,390) rear axle steering feature, that at speeds up to 50 km/h causes the rear wheels to steer in the opposite direction, making for faster cornering and low speed maneuvering, such as getting into a tight parking spot.
Above 50 km/h, all four wheels steer in the same direction, making it more stable at higher speeds.
I took the Carrera T and went off and hid with friends for three days, racking up more than 800 km of fun in the spring sun.
The same engine in the 911 GTS produces 450 hp, but the 370 hp and lighter weight in the Carrera T make it as much fun to drive.
Acceleration was without lag. With the sport exhaust baffles open, the sounds when roaring down the on-ramp to the highway were so enjoyable, I turned the radio off for the rest of the journey.
The gearbox, as mentioned, was new and notchy, but I’ve learned from experience and over time that a Porsche manual becomes as comfortable and familiar as your favourite slippers.
The blissful response to all driver inputs was immediate and satisfying to the point you realize the joy that can be had in motoring.
And to my surprise, on a long stretch of highway at flow of traffic speed in seventh gear, the fuel read-out showed 8.2L/100 km average when Porsche says 9.4L/100 km highway is normal.
I’ve observed many times on these pages how the noted Porsche driver Ricky “The Racer” Bye once said, “when you drive a 911, it spoils you for anything else”.
Truer words were never spoken.
2018 Porsche 911 Carrera T
BODY STYLE: Super performance premium sportscar.
DRIVE METHOD: Rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive.
ENGINE: 3.0-litre, turbocharged direct injection “boxer” six-cylinder (370 hp, 339 lb/ft) with standard seven-speed or optional seven-speed twin clutch automatic transmission with paddle shifters
FUEL ECONOMY: (Premium) automatic, 11.9/9.1/10.6L/100 km city/highway/combined; manual (as tested), 14.6/9.4/12.3L/100 km
CARGO: 145 litres in front bin
TOW RATING: Not recommended
PRICE: $116,500; as tested, $132,610 including $1,250 destination fee and $1,250 Excise Tax
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