The new Porsche 911 Carrera T has lightweight windows, no rear seats and a limited-slip diff; so is it the recipe for the perfect Carrera?
PORSCHE IS RETURNING TO THE Monte Carlo Rally.’ Yes! I digest the first line of Porsche’s Carrera T press material and my heart rate soars: images don’t come much more seductive than that of a factoryentered 911 Carrera broadside on compacted snow and sheet ice, its flat-six hysterically headbutting the limiter as it battles with a treacherous Col de Vence stage. The thought alone gives me goosebumps, and I’m designing the car’s livery in my head already.
Sadly and of course inevitably, this is not going to be the case, as the second line confirms with depressingly corporate bonhomie. It reads along the lines of ‘your test drive route today will take you to the place where Porsche made history’ etc, and there are the same accompanying images of times long ago – Vic Elford, the Alméras brothers, and so on. Raised expectations dashed by underwhelming reality: let’s hope that doesn’t turn out to be a metaphor for the new Carrera T.
It’s a nagging feeling that doesn’t want to subside, and stems from what we know of the car already. It’s largely because Porsche claims that the lightened T’s 1425kg kerb weight is 20kg less than that of the standard Carrera. That’s a difference of less than two per cent; hardly front page news. It is also a seemingly simple but deceptively complicated business, that of production cars and their weight, where some bend the rules and others are merely exceedingly careful with their language. To Porsche’s credit it adds the phrase ‘compared with a Carrera of similar equipment’, and it does this because anyone with an ounce of curiosity will hopefully have checked the basic Carrera’s kerb weight and realised it’s listed as 1430kg. So that’s a mere 5kg more than the T…
Of course, this is because of the Carrera T’s list of standard equipment, which is integral to the proposition Porsche is presenting. These items put the lost weight back in, hence Porsche’s qualifying statement. They, too, are a minefield to understand, because it’s not so much what’s new, but more what Porsche is allowing the customer to have. The Carrera T is based on the 365bhp 911 Carrera, not the 414bhp 911 Carrera S, and to create clear marketing air for the S there are quite a few items that you’re not allowed to order for the regular model. These include both the PASM variable suspension in 20mm lower Sports specification, plus a limited-slip differential. You’re also not allowed to go for the active rear steering on the Carrera, yet this is an option for the T, while the aforementioned diff and suspension upgrade are standard T equipment. The switchable Sports exhaust, usually an option, is standard, too, and the infotainment system can be deleted entirely if you’re happy to listen to flat-six music. The intrigue surrounding the rumoured shorter gear ratios turns out to be the lower final drive from the Carrera S.
Partly offsetting the weight of the extra kit are the lighter rear side glass and rear window developed for the GT2 RS. There are also no rear seats – they can be reinstated at no extra charge – and sound deadening is kept to a minimum, for reasons both of weight and to put a little extra grit back into a car that’s brilliant everyday transport, but which sometimes lacks the sparkle of a truly special car. In short, what we have here is a Carrera with all the bits you’d probably spec if you wanted one aimed squarely at driving enjoyment, and with a few ‘special measures’ to boost performance over and above that.
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