Los Angeles, California – Porsche has been perfecting the 911 for decades and, at this point, you’d think the model would have come of age. Truth be told, the sports car has offered everything that enthusiasts want in a driving experience for a long time.
Still, because it’s human nature, the company’s engineers are looking to improve it. The amazing thing is that they continue to succeed at making it better. Every time you feel like perfection has been achieved, they suggest a new variant that literally throws you off your game.
That’s what’s happened with the 911 Carrera T. The letter T stands for Touring, by the way. The goal is simple: to offer a car that delivers the purest driving experience possible. To achieve this, they’ve reduced the weight of the beast while spoiling it with a host of settings that have only one mission in mind; to make the sessions behind the wheel very intoxicating.
The exercise is successful on all fronts. I’ll get back to you later with details on the little trip we had the opportunity to take north of Los Angeles, after explaining what the company did with its model.
Weight is the enemy of performance. Of course, you can get around it with a perpetual injection of horsepower, but that’s not all. A lighter car is more agile, easier to launch into a corner, more pleasant to drive… and to catch if a slip occurs. With this 911 Carrera T, Porsche has managed to shave 35 kilograms off the weight of the 911 Carrera version with the eight-speed PDK automatic transmission.
How? By serving the car with a manual transmission (no longer offered with the 911 Carrera), reducing the insulation materials (our ears are fine), opting for lighter windows, and using a lighter battery. Oh, and the rear seats were thrown overboard, which translates into a “gain” of 7 kg in this case. Bottom line, we end up with a model that tips the scales at 1470 kg, which is excellent. For reference, that’s still 35 kg more than a GT3 variant, the ultimate featherweight in the range.
That said, you can add the rear seats, as well as the automatic transmission, both at no cost. One interesting option is certainly the rear-wheel steering, which increases agility, reduces the turning circle at low speeds, and makes the vehicle more stable at higher speeds. As for the direction the rear wheels take, they follow the angle of the front wheels at high speed and do the opposite at low speed.
What you need
The 911 Carrera T comes with everything you need, including Porsche’s Active Suspension Management (PASM) system, a 10-mm lowered chassis, four-way power Sport Plus seats, a Sport Chrono package, heated seats and steering wheel, navigation, and a host of other features.
The heart of the car is the 3.0-liter Boxer 6-cylinder engine, which uses twin turbos to deliver 379 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque. Frankly, it feels like there are 50 to 100 more of them when you hit the throttle, but clearly, the model’s low weight reinforces that feeling. With a stopwatch in hand, it’s possible to measure a 0-100 km/h sprint in 4.5 seconds, which you’ll agree is plenty fast. But more than that, it’s not so much the tenths of a second that count here, but the emotion that runs through your body when you launch the car and dare to put your foot down. The sound, the feel, the steering feel, everything is spot on.
The 911 Carrera T comes with 20- and 21-inch wheels, 245/35 in the front and 305/30 in the rear.
For the rest of the details, the configuration tool for this 911 Carrera T is functional on the Porsche Canada website. With the level of customization possible, hours of fun await you. You can literally make your 911 Carrera T one of a kind.
Behind the wheel
As for the driving experience, I briefly alluded to it earlier and you’ll have gathered that it’s more than convincing. Our drive took us from downtown Los Angeles to the Angeles Crest Highway, a winding road that lies in the heart of the Angeles Forest. The route was the perfect place to test drive the car and push it hard.
Beyond the fun of the ride, there were a few things that particularly caught my attention. First of all, the suspension offers a good mix between firmness and softness. It’s true that the roads there are smoother than here in Montreal. At home, it might be a little less pleasant, but it depends on where your trips take you. Something to consider.
Next, the steering. Its precision makes us forget how much the power steering can sometimes ruin everything. Here, the proportioning is perfect and when you give the car a course correction, the slightest touch of the steering wheel has an immediate and positive effect. It may seem trivial, but when you’re cornering at high speed or entering or exiting a tight curve, there’s something very reassuring about knowing that the car will perfectly obey the angle you’re imposing on it. It quickly gives you confidence.
As for the acceleration, it’s smooth, and linear, so much so that you forget that the engine behind you is turbocharged. And to get to the limits of its capabilities, we would have needed an airport runway; I’m repeating myself, but this car has enough power.
The braking is also up to the task, as are the suspensory elements that can be relied upon with confidence when attacking any type of corner.
It is often said that a car like this sticks to the road like velcro. In the case of this 911 T, it feels more like powerful magnets holding it to the pavement. Roll is virtually non-existent and the rear end’s grip under acceleration is astounding.
Inspired by the 1968 911 T, this new incarnation of the desire to offer a more affordable car to aficionados comes as a remedy for automotive purity. It will clearly appeal to all those who tend to turn off the radio when it’s time to get out on the road. It may not be the best 911, but it’s certainly one of the most enjoyable, if not the most enjoyable, to drive.
The Porsche 911 Carrera T is priced at $132,000 in Canada.