Porsche 911 Carrera T
Engine: 2981cc, turbocharged flat-6
Transmission: 7-speed twin-clutch semi-automatic, rear-wheel drive
Top Speed: 291km/h
Price: S$500,888 w/o COE
The venerable Porsche 911 is a car that needs no introduction amongst car enthusiasts. What can be hard to pick out for casual enthusiasts, though, is the myriad of variants that the 911 can be bought as. From the range-topping Turbo S to the base model Carrera, and unique GT2 RS, there are a whopping 13 different versions available in Singapore, and that’s not counting the cabriolet versions.
Driven here is the 911 Carrera T, the latest to join the stable and essentially a ‘touring’ variant of the Carrera. The ‘T’ in the name stands for Touring, rather than the more obvious Turbo which, by the way, is now standard across all 911 engines.
There was a time when a high revving, naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine was a calling card of the 911 Carrera, but stricter emissions regulations have seen an end to that, as turbocharging is just about the most efficient way to ensure a high power output and still stay within European emissions regulations.
The 3.0-litre turbo engine is identical to that of the standard 911 Carrera, but what makes the Carrera T special is its unique trim package. Touring in Porsche-speak doesn’t mean a relaxing cruise on a straight highway. It’s all about driving, for the sake of driving. The first 911 to wear the ‘T’ badge was the 911 T back in 1967, and the new Carrera T carries on the tradition.
Significant weight savings have been introduced through the use of thinner rear and side glass window panels, and sound insulation materials throughout the car have also been significantly reduced. This not only makes it a more responsive car without requiring an increase of engine power, but also lets more engine noise into the cabin, always a hit with sports car enthusiasts.
Inside, the first thing that you’ll notice is that the door handle pulls are made of seatbelt fabric. Very race car-like, but at the same time, it’s quite a bit harder to tug open than a simple metal lever. You’ll get the hang of it soon enough though.
Apparently, the factory specification also leaves the car without rear seats for a more driver-centric look, but buyers can choose the have them fitted in like how the car is sold in Singapore. In a 911, the tiny rear seats have always been a ‘just in case’ option. No adult-sized person likes being squeezed into the rear bench.
The GT sport steering wheel, with the rotary mode dial set off to the lower right between the spokes, is a joy to hold. The car also comes with Sport Exhaust and Active Suspension already fitted as standard, and in the tradition of the modern Porsche 911, the centre console is stacked with buttons that let the drive toggle through settings from the suspension and exhaust modes to raising the rear spoiler.
It’s as involving and exciting as you’d expect the 911 to be, and the gearbox ratios are cleverly spaced so that in the lower gears you get all the popping and banging excitement from the engine, then on a 110km/h highway cruise, the seventh gear just keeps the engine ticking over above idling speed.
The Carrera T is designed as an enthusiast’s 911 Carrera, a step above the entry-level 911 Carrera and more driver-focused. It’s lighter and purer than its four-wheel drive siblings, but whether it’s worth the premium over the base model, is dependent on the ownership factor of driving a car just that bit different from the other Carrera.