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First drive: 2023 Porsche 911 Carrera T. Image by Porsche.

First drive: 2023 Porsche 911 Carrera T
Is this lighter Carrera T, complete with a manual gearbox, really the 911 that offers customers the most engagement for their money?

   



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2023 Porsche 911 Carrera T

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The Carrera T is designed to be a lightweight version of the bog-standard 911 Carrera, sacrificing some luxury and refinement in search of more engagement and better performance without breaking the bank. On paper, it should really be the purists' favourite, but will it work out that way on the road?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2023 Porsche 911 Carrera T
Price: Carrera T from £105,700 (£113,638 as tested)
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged flat-six petrol
Transmission: seven-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power: 385hp
Torque: 450Nm
Emissions: 233-247g/km
Economy/Range: 25.9-27.4mpg
0-62mph: 4.0 seconds
Top speed: 181mph
Boot space: 264 litres plus 132-litre 'frunk'

Styling

The Carrera T doesn't really exist to show off, yet it has a few sporty upgrades that set it apart from the standard Carrera on which it's based. For a kick-off, the Carrera T comes with suspension that's 10mm lower than standard, giving it a marginally sportier stance, while there are Titanium Grey alloy wheels that measure 20 inches in diameter at the front and 21 inches at the rear. And they aren't the only grey addition, with Agate Grey door mirror caps, grey logos on the doors and grey trim strips on the rear grille.

Interior

Lightness is key to the Carrera T's appeal, so the biggest thing you'll notice about the cabin is that the rear seats have been ripped out, leaving a kind of parcel shelf. And the seats aren't the only thing to have gone. The glass is lighter than standard and the soundproofing has gone, and while those tweaks save kilos, they aren't immediately apparent.

That's because the T's cabin generally looks pretty similar to any other Carrera. There must have been a temptation to rip out the touchscreen, the climate control and the navigation system, but Porsche didn't, leaving a remarkably conventional interior. Except, of course, for the gear lever. Because whereas the standard Carrera gets an automatic gearbox as standard, the T gets a seven-speed manual with a chunky lever.

But despite the changes and the lack of soundproofing, the Carrera T's cabin still feels as luxurious as the normal Carrera, with most of the same features and the same fastidious build quality. It's just as solid and as premium.

Practicality

Without the rear seats and the soundproofing, the T is both more and less practical than the standard Carrera. Not only do you get the 'frunk' under the bonnet, but you also get 264 litres of carrying capacity in the back. In addition, though, you get the space where the rear seats would normally be, giving you even more carrying capacity. For some, that'll be a bonus, because you get more luggage space, but it's also a problem because you can't carry people in the back. You decide which matters most.

Performance

The Carrera T has the same engine as the standard Carrera, so there's a 3.0-litre turbocharged flat-six engine slung out over the rear wheels. But unlike the stock Carrera, the T's power - all 385hp of it - heads to the rear wheels via a seven-speed manual gearbox. And that means despite the weight-shedding, straight-line performance suffers relative to the auto-only Carrera. The sprint from 0-62mph takes 4.5 seconds, which is a three-tenth increase compared with the Carrera, and the top speed is 181mph.

That said, the car does sound better than the Carrera, thanks in part to the lack of soundproofing and also the sports exhaust. Pressing the exhaust button on the dash doesn't change the soundtrack fundamentally, but it does magnify the characteristics of the exhaust note, giving it a throaty rumble. It sounds great, but it's a bit full-on on longer drives.

Ride & Handling

Although some might be a bit disappointed by the T's straight-line speed, it's cornering that matters most. Losing a little weight has made the car feel a bit more agile, while the sportier suspension setting has given it a fraction more body control. The four-wheel steering system has given it a bit more manoeuvrability around town, too.

Naturally, the difference between the T and the standard Carrera is all about percentages, but it certainly makes the car feel noticeably more focussed. The already fabulous steering is that bit more responsive and the brakes are a fraction more effective than they already were. And the settings make a bit of difference, too.

Ordinarily, the ride is stiff but far from intolerable, but the stiffer suspension setting makes it really quite firm - arguably too firm for road use in the UK - and certainly too firm around town. But there is a fraction more body control, which might come in handy on the occasional track day.

Value

The Carrera T range starts at £105,700, making it around £8,000 more expensive than the standard Carrera, and £3,000 more expensive than a Carrera 4. But it's more than £15,000 cheaper than a Carrera GTS and £40,000 cheaper than a GT3. Considering how engaging it is, that makes the T look like a bit of a bargain.

But you will have to add some options to the mix to get a car you really want. Our test car came in at more than £113,000, but it was still almost £10,000 cheaper than a basic GTS. That money buys you an awful lot of options, even at Porsche prices.

Verdict

The Carrera T is not necessarily the best 911 on the market Ė a GT3 is more fun on a track and a Turbo is a better motorway cruiser Ė but when it comes to value, the T makes a solid case for itself. Because itís one of the cheaper 911s (everythingís relative) and it has some of that pared-back, purist driveability, itís a really compelling choice in the 911 range. And though that might sound like slightly faint praise, thatís really quite some accolade.



James Fossdyke - 16 Oct 2023



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2023 Porsche 911 Carrera T. Image by Porsche.2023 Porsche 911 Carrera T. Image by Porsche.2023 Porsche 911 Carrera T. Image by Porsche.2023 Porsche 911 Carrera T. Image by Porsche.2023 Porsche 911 Carrera T. Image by Porsche.








 

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