Niche work, Porsche. Latest 911 991.2 iteration plugs a tiny gap to impressive effect. Words Matt Robinson.
It might seem that, what with the Carrera and the Carrera S and the GTS and the GT3 and the Turbo (and more), there’s precious little room left in the current 991-generation Porsche 911 line-up to exploit. Yet we’ve got another addition to the canon here, in the form of the 911 Carrera T 991.2. Drive-My readers may recall that, in 1968, the 911 T (standing for Touring) won the Monte Carlo Rally. Well, this is a nod back to that legendary car – but, slightly confusingly, this time around the ‘911 T’ is not a softer, more luxuriously appointed Porsche in a Touring mould; rather, it’s a stripped-out version based on the standard 3.0-litre, 365bhp turbocharged Carrera.
Much as, further up the 911 tree, the GTS is a Carrera S with the most desirable options fitted, so the T is a Carrera with added focus. The engine is unchanged, but standard equipment includes Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) with a 20mm drop in ride height, 20-inch Carrera S wheels, thinner glass from a GT2 aft of the B-pillar, no back seats or infotainment (they can both be optioned back in), a reduction in sound deadening, red fabric pulls for the interior doorhandles, loads of ‘Carrera T’ graphics inside and out… oh, and a sports exhaust to make the most of that blown flat-six. Porsche says that, in identical specification, the regular Carrera is 20kg portlier than the T.
There’s a choice of seven-speed manual or PDK transmissions – opt for the former to capitalise on Porsche’s aim of providing you with maximum driving interaction. The manual also benefits from a shorter final drive and a limited-slip differential; the PDK does without either. The PDK car is quicker in the 0-62mph sprint (4.2 versus 4.5 seconds), but we’re still firmly in the camp of having three pedals in the 911’s footwell.
Does all of this work? Does the Carrera T convince as an even sharper 911 than the storming standard car? Well, yes, it does, but if we were being cynical we’d say you might not instantly notice much of the difference compared with a regular Carrera. Especially considering the £85,576 asking price – £7685 more than a Carrera and only £1759 less than a 414bhp Carrera S.
No, the T is a grower. These are incremental, subtle improvements to the Carrera formula and you need to give the car time to worm its way into your affections. And it undoubtedly will, because even a modest amount of exposure to the Carrera T is enough to convince you that this might be the perfect road-going sports car. All the 911’s stupendous balance, rear-engined traction, wondrous steering and lightness-of-touch is preserved – indeed, built upon – with the diff, dampers and marginally reduced mass all working to make the T feel ridiculously swift and thoroughly enjoyable, be the road ahead of it straight or twisting.
Aside from more noise in the empty rear cavern of the passenger compartment, it can seem hard to remind yourself you’re in the ‘special’ 911 Carrera model. But that’s what the T is: very, very special. It might not have the clearest link to the 1968 original, but the 997 Carrera T is a scintillating coupé executed to the highest possible standards. More than enough reason, then, to resurrect that ‘T’ badge for the 21st Century.