What is it?
Yet another member of the expansive Porsche 911 family. The new 911 Carrera T slots in between the entry-level 911 Carrera and sportier Carrera S, but that doesn't really tell its story.
On paper it doesn't really seem to make a lot of sense, given the standard 911 Carrera was already a great car and the S only made it even more appealing. And yet somehow Porsche not only makes the Carrera T fill a gap, it makes it deeply appealing at the same time.
Does it have any racing pedigree?
Obviously the 911 has motorsport in its DNA, right from its earliest days, but the story of this specific model has particular racing relevance. The original 911 T, which stands for ‘Touring', was developed in 1968 as a homologation car for touring car racing.
That meant cutting weight for a more competitive racing package and that idea has translated to this 2023 model. There are a number of changes made to cut kilos, the most obvious being the (optional) removal of the back seats, but there's also less sound insulation, lighter glass, a lightweight battery and a standard seven-speed manual gearbox. All up, assuming you delete the seats, Porsche claims this saves 35kg compared to the 911 Carrera with the dual-clutch (PDK) transmission.
What's under the bonnet?
The T uses the same engine as the entry-level 911, that means a 3.0-litre flat-six with two turbochargers. That's enough to make 283kW of power and 450Nm of torque.
As mentioned earlier, it comes standard with a manual transmission, but our test car was fitted with the optional seven-speed PDK.
That may make the most modestly powered 911 in the line-up but that doesn't mean it's slow. On the contrary the 911 T feels responsive and punchy, from low down in the rev range all the way towards the redline. It takes just 4.0 seconds to run 0-100km/h and has a top speed for 291km/h.
While this generation of turbocharged 911s lack the same evocative soundtrack as the naturally-aspirated flat-six engines, it's still a great engine that provides more-than-enough performance.
How does it handle?
In addition to saving weight, the 911 T also gets Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system and a 10mm ride height reduction. This helps provide an even more dynamic ride and sharper handling (although, full disclosure, it's been a very long time since Porsche gave us a sports car to test without PASM).
The brakes and wheel and tyre package are the same as the 911 Carrera, but again, that's not meant as a criticism. Instead it underlines just how good the most basic 911 is but cars like the 911 T and above allow Porsche's engineers to make small adjustments for a different driving experience.
Where would you most like to drive it?
While the 911 GT3 and 911 GT3 RS we've tested recently are designed for the racetrack, the 911 T feels like the Porsche you take when you want a long, winding drive in the country. This is the kind of car that can eat up kay after kay in comfort and enjoyment.
What's the interior like?
As we've said every other time we've driven this generation of 911, Porsche has done a fantastic job of modernising the cabin while still linking it to the long, rich history of the model. It manages to feel both contemporary and traditional at the same time, which is no easy feat.
The 911 T takes that to the next level with the optional carbon fibre-reinforced plastic sports bucket seats, which are trimmed in a combination of leather and perforated, black Race-Tex fabric, which looks sensational.
How much does the Porsche 911 T cost?
It's priced from $299,200 (plus on-road costs) which neatly slots it between the $277,800 911 Carrera and the $317,000 911 Carrera S. It does make for a large and at times confusing model line-up, but Porsche has managed to turn expanding the 911 into an art form.
Would I buy one?
To be perfectly candid, I'd be happy with any model in the 911 line-up. Even the base 911 Carrera is all the sports car you really need, with everything above it just cream on top. However, the 911 T is a deeply likeable and appealing version. It's not wildly different and unusual, but with its subtle changes and weight reduction it just makes it that bit more special.