RE: Porsche 911 Carrera T: Driven

RE: Porsche 911 Carrera T: Driven

Monday 18th December 2017

Porsche 911 Carrera T: Driven

New Touring model is no cut-price GT3 - but it's as good as the stock Carrera is likely to get



Some minor legwork was required to deliver you the first UK drive of the new Carrera T; about 750 miles of it in fact from Porsche's gallingly sunny launch base in Nice to the standard-issue drizzle of Calais. What did a day and a half of spearing impatiently north tell us? Well, aside from providing the umpteenth reminder that the term 'work' should be applied sparingly at PH, the autoroute suggested that not too much long-distance usability has been stripped from this the lightened 'Touring' variant of the entry-level Carrera. Sure, Porsche has zealously deleted the PCM system (it can be re-added at no-cost) which makes navigation and music-listening a DIY affair, but the shedding of some sound deadening has not made the 911 outrageously loud, just as the fitment of the lower PASM sports chassis has not made it unreasonably stiff. Broad strokes, the 991's gratifying knack for covering ground - a facet of its absurdly well-sorted control weights and very decent sports seats - is still appreciable in a car knowingly dropped onto titanium grey 20-inch alloy wheels.


What deficit there is in basic talent is not the fault of the T's specification. Being based on the Carrera means that it shares the lesser 370hp version of the 911's 3.0-litre turbocharged flat-six - and while Porsche has tacitly acknowledged the pitfalls of its long gearing by including the final drive ratio from the punchier Carrera S, the tweak does not prevent the T from feeling less than meteoric in its last three ratios. This is hardly enhanced by the familiar drawbacks of the seven-speed manual 'box (the PDK remains an option), which is still a faff to work smoothly out of its specially partitioned final cog. Nevertheless, even with a noticeable deficit in tractability compared to its stablemate, very few rivals stand up to multiple, unbroken hours of motorway scrutiny like the 911.

Despite atrocious weather on the coast, that overriding sentiment is transferred onto British soil mostly intact. The lorry-ploughed M20 is a vicious arena for a sports car even when it's not full of standing water, but on Pirelli Sottozeroes the T takes it all in its stride; with only the occasional unchecked bob of the head to show for the more determined suspension settings. True, when finally removed from three lanes of tarmac and assigned a stock Surrey high street the car does remind you that there's a price to be paid for being 10mm lower to the ground - although it's easy to forgive the odd jolt over street furniture when the T uses the subsequent B-roads to ratchet up the charm.


This isn't hard to come across, and it does rather click into place like falling dominoes. Predictably, the engine is rather more appealing in ratios two to four, and while it's easy to distain auto-blippers, the 991's powertrain does it better than most - frequently sending you into the drawn-out second cog just to enjoy the expressive clamour of expensive moving parts coming together. Of course, it's precisely because the T is less well endowed that you feel less guilty about the repercussions of being permanently camped at 6,500rpm - and it's that continuous endeavour which makes the T's single-minded attitude to damping (particularly in the Sport Chrono pack's most unflinching drive mode) seem like the perfect foil. Throw into that mix the noise of stones and water hitting the arches, and the come-hither effect of Porsche's mechanical rear limited-slip differential at the limit, and it's rather hard to stop phrases like 'pure-bred' and 'fun' cropping up in driver-seat contemplation of the Touring.

Naturally, this instinct must be batted away lest you fall headfirst into Porsche's carefully-laid marketing trap. There is still a Carrera alive and well under the new car; one plainly not made night-and-day different by an extremely modest 20kg reduction in kerb weight. Consequently, while it is livelier and leaner to drive than its sibling, its embellishments do not entirely absolve it from the base 911's shortcomings: anyone lucky enough to have experienced the fizzing finale of the last atmospheric flat-six 991 will have driven a more compelling Carrera than the Touring ultimately manages to be. And if that comparison now seems unfairly outdated, much the same could be said for the much quicker GTS, which earns every single penny of its £10K premium over its new stablemate.


Nevertheless, credit where it's due: much like the GTS, the T is a very fine car right out of the box - and that's simply not true of the standard Carreras, which always need some careful (and costly) work on Porsche's configurator to bring up to snuff. As advertised, the £85,576 asking price buys you a grittier, harder-driving breed of basic 911 - one not unduly robbed of its usability despite the removal of the rear seats, and in possession of enough desirable (and otherwise unavailable) kit to easily make it the superior choice over the £77,891 Carrera. It's a harder call over the more biddable S simply because that model makes a more obvious virtue of its turbocharged engine. But if you're buying a brand new 991 chiefly to enjoy between the hedgerows in the wee hours, then the Touring is unquestionably the cheapest, easiest way into a full-blooded one.

Inspired? Buy a Porsche 911 here


SPECIFICATION - PORSCHE 911 CARRERA T

Engine: 2,981cc, flat-six turbocharged
Transmission: 7-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 370@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 332@1,700-5,000rpm
0-62mph: 4.5sec
Top speed: 182mph
Weight: 1,500kg (EU)
MPG: 29.7 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 215g/km
Price: from £85,576

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

Oz83

Original Poster:

326 posts

70 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
So is the gearbox good or bad?

A 911 Carrera without rear seats is lost on me. It's the only reason I would consider buying one.
If I only needed 2 seats I'd be looking at an Exige.

Jollyclub

1,902 posts

177 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
‘Clicks into place like falling dominoes.’ Does that mean it does or doesn’t?

Sounds like something Dan Brown would write.

hondansx

3,143 posts

156 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
I don't get it.

It should have been a GT3 touring without the GT3 engine.

Motorsport3

216 posts

123 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
It would only make sense if it was cheaper than the Carrera. If i were in the market for a 2-seater Porsche shouldn't i be looking at rare Caymans?

cris9964

173 posts

111 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
You can add rear seats back in
Advertisement

spreadsheet monkey

3,343 posts

158 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
article said:
a day and a half of spearing impatiently north
Spearing? Not sure if this is some kind of Troy Queef parody.

lukelovescars

26 posts

40 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
Why would you buy one of these over a Cayman GT4?

Mr-B

1,487 posts

125 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
spreadsheet monkey said:
Spearing? Not sure if this is some kind of Troy Queef parody.
Nick Cackett IS Troy Queef AICMFP.

cookie1600

890 posts

92 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
It seems like so many whys, so little want.

andrewparker

3,149 posts

118 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
As much as I want to love this car, I think you’d be mad not to buy a GTS.

toppstuff

11,411 posts

178 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
I have read this three times now and it still does not make much sense.

Aside from the obvious Troy Queefery, I still cant tell if he/she likes the car or not?

I assume the T model has a role in the 911 line up but I am no wiser after reading the article than I was before I started.

Sorry to be harsh, but did the person who wrote this get paid? Frankly, its bobbins.

givablondabone

2,502 posts

86 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
It's almost as if Porsche has chucked the normal Carrera spec sheet in the air, seen how it lands on top of a very small table then tried to convince us all it's something special and ltd that we all want.


PhantomPH

2,967 posts

156 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
andrewparker said:
As much as I want to love this car, I think you’d be mad not to buy a GTS.
If you mean 911 GTS, then try spec'ing a GTS for anything like the price of a T. It ain't gonna happen. Especially once you tick the GTS packs which (ironically) are optional on a GTS but are one of those 'requirements' of spec.

I whole heartedly agree with the sentiments of those suggesting buying a used GT4 or Spyder (or Cayman/Boxster GTS, even) over this, but if you really must have a 911, then tick the no-cost option of putting the rear seats back and you have a very, very nice car.

FerdiZ28

900 posts

65 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
Lovely.

Approaching being in the market for a 991, this would be up there as a choice for my first. Guards red and those wheels are the sex.

I’d re-spec both the infotainment and the rear seats though.

😍

chappardababbar

241 posts

74 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
Whilst i appreciate that this is free content, and I am very grateful for it, I found this article very difficult to read. Only compelled to make a point in the comments because I was so looking forward to reading this review.

chappardababbar

241 posts

74 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
chappardababbar said:
Whilst i appreciate that this is free content, and I am very grateful for it, I found this article very difficult to read. Only compelled to make a point in the comments because I was so looking forward to reading this review.
Perhaps I'm a little slow, but having read it a few times now, I can just about make out the key points. However, I would have expected some discussion on the following items which, as far as I can tell, were missing.

- does the thinner glass add to the aural experience?
- do the shorter gear ratios matched with smaller engine make for a more exciting drive than a C or CS?
- is the base engine the right choice for this car? Does it feel the most naturally aspirated of the turbo engines?
- is the weight reduction noticeable?
- does it feel special?


bosshog

1,228 posts

207 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
yeah I don't get it ether.

andrewparker

3,149 posts

118 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
PhantomPH said:
andrewparker said:
As much as I want to love this car, I think you’d be mad not to buy a GTS.
If you mean 911 GTS, then try spec'ing a GTS for anything like the price of a T. It ain't gonna happen.
Isn’t the base price £10k apart?

Nightshade

50 posts

117 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
This car would make sense if the weight saving was greater than 20kg. 60-80kg sure. But I doubt that the average driver would be able tell the difference in 20kg when driving. Removal of the (useful) rear seats and (useful) stereo to save 20kg doesn't seem worth it to me.

ducnick

846 posts

174 months

Monday 18th December 2017
quotequote all
Can’t help thinking a carrera S with no extras would be a better car at the same price point.