New Porsche 911 Carrera T 2023 review
The Porsche 911 Carrera T is simply the one of the best models in the 992-generation’s range
The T is a simple idea, executed brilliantly. It takes the formula of the standard car, sprinkles on some choice upgrades but maintains the 911’s accessible performance. Compared to its 911 siblings, the T even looks relatively good value. Aside from the slightly lumbering gear ratios the T stands out in the 911 range as a real driver’s choice.
We adore the 992-generation of 911 here at Auto Express, whether that be in base Carrera or hardcore GT3 RS form. Porsche decided the 911 range could do with even more variation, however, introducing the new Carrera T model as a result.
The T is based on the standard Carrera, getting the same twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre flat-six engine with 380bhp and 450Nm of torque. On the outside you’ll find ‘911 Carrera T’ graphics and a staggered wheel set up of 20-inch front wheels and 21-inch rears, a new front splitter and rear spoiler extension, plus a distinctive ‘Racing Yellow’ paint scheme. As it wears the iconic ‘T’ badge, however, the changes are much more than just skin deep.
A total of 35kg is saved over the regular Carrera thanks to lightweight glass, a smaller battery and less sound insulation. The rear seats have also been removed (though they can be optioned back in).
Car group tests
- Porsche 911 Sport Classic 2023 review
- New Porsche 911 Dakar 2023 review
- New Porsche 911 GT3 RS 2022 review
- New Porsche 911 GTS 2021 review
- New Porsche 911 GT3 Touring Package 2021 review
Used car tests
The result of all this is that the Carrera T takes 4.5 seconds to go from 0 to 62mph, 0.3 seconds slower than the base Carrera. Confused? Well, don’t be. The main contributor to the weight loss is the incorporation of a seven-speed manual, replacing the standard car’s PDK automatic gearbox (which, again, can be optioned back in).
Although the PDK is a sensational ‘box which obviously provides quicker shifts and faster sprint times, we wouldn’t bother putting it back in. To do so would be to miss the whole point of the Carrera T as the driver’s choice within the 911 line up - this side of the GT3 models at least.
Another feature the T gets over the Carrera is PASM Sport Suspension - an electronically variable damping system that can lower the ride height by 10mm depending on the driving mode.
If you’re a cynic you might think these changes sound fairly minimal and certainly not worth the extra outlay (which we’ll come to later). Put them all together though and the T offers something quite different to the Carrera.
It doesn’t take long to develop an affinity with the T. All the driving inputs; steering, pedal feel and that gearshift are nicely weighted, just as you’d expect from a 911 with the chassis providing plenty of communication.
Setting off with the driving mode in Normal (Wet, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual are accessible via a rotary knob on the steering wheel), you first notice a bit more engine noise creeping into the cabin. With no rear seats there’s only some carpet and metal separating you from the chatter of the flat-six engine and its whooshing turbochargers. The overall refinement is still perfectly manageable, road and wind noise is hushed but with the T there’s just a constant reminder you’re in something a little more eager.
Most will immediately shift the Carrera T into Sport mode given that’s really what this car is all about. This engages the sports exhaust system, which you notice from the deeper bellow behind you but also the auto blip function on down shifts, which we’d suggest turning off (those pedals couldn’t be more perfectly positioned for heel and toeing).
Crucially, on UK roads at least, the sports suspension remains in ‘Normal’ setting when the car is in Sport mode. You can either stiffen it up with a toggle on the dash or by switching to Sport Plus, but we found it a little too firm and not really beneficial to the driving dynamics - upsetting the car’s mid-corner balance in some instances.
Anyway, let’s concentrate on the positives because there are a lot of them here. That gearbox is very well matched to the Carrera T’s brief. It doesn’t feel brutally mechanical nor too rubbery and vague, in fact it’s incredibly precise without being tiresome to use in traffic or around town. The clutch, as with the other two pedals, is perfectly weighted, adding to the confidence you gain within those first moments of driving the T.
Any inadequacy you may feel over the T’s slower acceleration figures compared to the Carrera will be forgotten once you snick the gear lever from second the third, or even better master a perfectly-timed downshifted into a bend. It’s strange that despite the seven gears the ratios still feel a tad long in the T - top of second gear will have you over the national speed limit for example. Shorter gearing would also allow you to experience the wonderful shift more often too.
Much was made of the 992’s growth spurt over its predecessor, but the T doesn’t feel ungainly on British backroads. That’s because the steering is such a delight to use and is constantly giving you feedback about the road. Thanks to pretty decent visibility it makes the car easy to place, even in narrow lanes or B-roads.
With wider tyres and our car’s optional rear-wheel steer system, you’re aware of the tremendous amounts of grip on offer but also how sprightly the T is. The Carrera T’s responsiveness makes it feel like it’s on your side and gives you all the tools to extract its performance on the road.
The engine might be unchanged but it takes on a new character because it’s that much more audible. It’s not hair-raising like a GT3’s but after 3,000rpm you can feel the turbos wake up and then it’s a linear surge up to the red line, with the exhaust’s crescendo for the last thousand rpm as the reward.
The T costs £8,700 more than the Carrera, which itself has risen in price over the years to £97,000 (yes the cheapest 911 is nigh-on £100k). The changes here undoubtedly make it the driver’s choice out of the two and probably even more so than the more expensive and more powerful GTS. Yes, it’s expensive but the added cache of the T badge will surely help it in terms of retaining its value when it comes to selling. Up until then just enjoy one of the best 911s of this 992 generation.
|Porsche 911 Carrera T
|3.0-litre 6cyl turbo petrol
|Seven-speed manual, rear-wheel drive