2023 Porsche 911 Carrera T First Drive Review

A lighter, purer, more focused 911 with nothing extra.

By Dan Heyman Wheels.ca

Nov 23, 2022 5 min. read

Article was updated 10 months ago

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Los Angeles, CA – We all love the Porsche 911. Well, maybe not all of us but anyone who appreciates design, a good drive and a fantastic backstory should at least respect the 911. Thing is, for a car that’s always been about the thrill of a drive, the latest line leaves a little something to be desired in that you can’t get a manual transmission in the base model. Seems not long ago a manual transmission was the only transmission you could have in a base model of any given car – the 911 included -- but times have changed and for the 911 today, that’s how it is.

Until now. Sort of.

Enter the 2023 911 Carrera T, an even more driver-centric take on the 911 sports car. It costs about a 10-grand premium (Carrera: $125,800, Carrera T: $136,600) over the Carrera, so you still can’t get a manual at street level, but the T is a good compromise.

The conversion to “T” spec (available only as a coupe and with rear-wheel-drive) provides standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Sport Chrono package, four-way sports seats plus, lighter glass and standard rear seat delete (they can be added as a no-charge option) plus optional fixed-back carbon seats. My tester didn’t have the latter, which I didn’t mind as I’ve sampled Porsches with them before and found them too rigid and snug. Other neat-o interior bits include a bright green seatbelt option with matching seat stitching, a jewel-like graphic on the shift knob, and “911” scripting on the headrests.

2023 porsche 911 Carrera T

Just look at it, though; all green and dark-wheeled and squat, with cool door graphics, dark badging and smoked tailpipes á la 911 GTS. This is a car that doesn’t try to hide its intentions because they’re meant to be celebrated.

If there was one thing I’d ask for, though, was the option to leave the auto-adjusting rear spoiler and swap it for a classic 911 ducktail example. Doesn’t get much purer than that, and you’d have to think it would save even more weight.

The 379 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque on-hand equals that of the Carrera, fed to the rear wheels via either a 7-speed manual or 8-speed PDK automatic. While I would never say “no” to more power over the base model, I get it; if you wanted Carrera S power, you’d have to pay Carrera S money. Indeed, one of the great aspects about the T is that even with all that great standard kit, it comes in at less than a Carrera S ($150,060), less still if you’ve specced PASM for your S. Plus, it’s not like the T feels slow; throttle response from the 3-litre turbo-6 is immediate and satisfying, giving you peak torque at just 1,950 rpm, at which point the engine’s propensity to rev takes over as you approach peak power at 6,500 rpm.

2023 porsche 911 Carrera T

While you can get the T with either a manual or auto for the same price, mine – Huzzah! – had the former.

Indeed, I’m surprised (well, not really, but anyway) that the T is available with the PDK at all; in my opinion, that affects the “purity” of the car. Sure, the shifts will be faster with the PDK, but all-out speed and track performance just aren’t what the T is about. For me, it’s about getting the most enjoyment out of a drive, if not necessarily the most outright speed and a big part of said enjoyment is being able to row my own gears.

As soon as you start doing so, meanwhile, you see just why the manual is the way to go. Incredibly snickety-snick lever action from the short shifter, plus pretty much perfect clutch take up make for an involving drive.

2023 porsche 911 Carrera T

After burbling out of the carpark in downtown LA, it wasn’t long before I was snaking my way through the sun-baked roads along the driving utopia that is the Angeles Crest Highway just outside of town. Very quickly the T’s mantra came into focus; this is a car that is as in-tune with its driver as one could ask, a car that lets you feel the road through your fingertips and butt as much as you can see the scenery fly by, or hear the revs climbing.

One of my favorite Porsche drives I’ve ever had was actually not at the wheel of a 911, but at the wheel of a base Cayman, because it just felt so granular, so precise and perfect. The 911 T with its standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (a $1,170 option on the Carrera S) and modifiable drive modes is more of that, just with more power and the unique feeling that only a rear-engined car can provide. Instantaneous turn-in is matched by pristine body control, so you don’t have energy-wasting and nausea-inducing body roll to go with quick left-right-left chicanes.

2023 porsche 911 Carrera T

Of course, the T, like any other Porsche – any other car, for that matter – is not without its faults; my main issue was how the thin glass and extenuated exhaust note means more interior noise. Luckily, you can adjust the exhaust note with the flip of a toggle switch mounted just below the infotainment display. Which is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, if that’s important to you in this context. No matter how you set those dampers, meanwhile, the T is a firm-riding car. You’re going to have to be ready for the full 4D onslaught of expansion joints, cateyes and even raised road paint.

That’s all you’re going to hear from me on that front, though. If it wasn’t for the existence of the GT3 Touring, the ultra-rare 911 Sport Classic or the 911R, the T just might be my favorite modern 911. While I haven’t had the chance to sample the GT3 Touring, I’d bet deutschemarks to strudel that the T is still the more tractable car when it comes to everyday use. Plus, I know that hardly a thought of Porsche passes through my mind without thinking of the immense heritage behind the marque, and the T taps right into the main nerve of that mantra.

2023 Porsche 911 T

BODY STYLE: Two-door sports coupe

DRIVE METHOD: rear-engine, rear-wheel drive
ENGINE: 3.0-litre inline-6 bi-turbo, 379 hp, 332 lb-ft of torque

TRANSMISSION: 7-speed manual or 8-speed dual-clutch automatic




Base MSRP: $136,600

WEBSITE:  Porsche 911 Carrera T




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