2018 Porsche 911 Carrera T Review

For a long time now, the Porsche 911 has been a very good sports car and a benchmark for many. It’s the go-to choice because it’s sporty, fast, refined and available through a wide range of price points and performance targets.

But somewhere along the line, the 911 became a bit sterile. It became a safe choice. It lost its identity a bit too, by offering models with four-wheel drive, complex removable tops, or extremely expensive track-focused versions.

The purists were missing the 911 of yore, and purists are an important crowd for Porsche. Fortunately, the new Carrera T version of the 911 is poised to bring some excitement back to the model lineup, and bring it back in a more accessible and energetic form.

911 Throwback

The T is a throwback to a 1968 model and stands for Touring, but I’d say it’s a more Textbook example of what an ideal 911 would be. It’s based on the regular “basic” 911 Carrera but outfitted with all the impressive handling features and options found throughout the rest of the 911 range.

It’s not faster, but it is more fun, which is always a tricky objective to achieve. Mounted over the rear wheels is a twin-turbo flat-six engine that makes 370 horsepower and 339 lb-ft of torque. It sends power to the rear wheels through a seven-speed manual transmission, or you can ignore the traditionalists and get a seven-speed dual-clutch instead. Each takes about 4 seconds to reach highway speeds, which is plenty quick, but slower than what the Carrera S models can achieve.

This tester features the seven-speed manual, which takes a some getting used to, but is still a pleasure to use. It has a shorter final drive ratio than normal 911s and you swap through the gears frequently. Adding to the fun of a manual is an automatic rev-matching system that will blip the throttle when you downshift in the Sport or Sport+ Modes. It also helps that the motor in this car sounds pretty good, and winding it out past 6,000 or 7,000 rpm is a lot of fun. Exclusive to the Carrera T is a red pattern on the shift knob.

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T is for Twisty Roads

But there’s way more to discuss with the Carrera T than it’s powertrain, which is somewhat familiar by now. This model has a ton of handling upgrades that aren’t available at the base-spec 911 level. The sports suspension, which brings the ride 0.39-inches (10 mm) lower is one such feature, as is the optional rear axle steering. Both help improve the handling, along with the mechanical rear differential, which helps put the power to the road and keep the car planted.

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There are some extra tweaks to save weight and improve all-around performance too. Porsche says the rear windshield and rear side windows are made of lightweight glass, which should have shaved a few pounds. Straps replace the conventional door handles as well, which is supposed to save weight somehow. The automaker also threw away a bunch of the sound deadening used on the 911 and the overall result is a weight of 3,142 lbs, making this the lightest 911 model you can get.

On the pavement, the car feels nimble and fun and seems to break free of the buttoned-down, all-business persona that the flagship product often felt that it had. It feels more carefree. It’s fast, but not the fastest 911, and it’s fun, but not the sharpest, stiffest and most uncomfortable 911. It’s this fantastic medium ground that brings joy to the driver in a way the purists will really appreciate.

Interior and Exterior Tweaks

Singling out a 911 Carrera T isn’t hard. The mirrors are finished in a unique grey finish, as are the badges and louvers. The sport exhaust system features black tips and there’s a cool stripe on the doors that say “Carrera T” as well. The darker wheels are also gorgeous.

Inside, the focused cabin of the 911 gets a few new touches. There are unique seats with different, cloth-like upholstery, and accented seatbelts and embroidered 911 logos on the headrests. Since our tester was bright yellow, all the interior accents were done in yellow too, which again made the car feel more lighthearted.

The Verdict: 2018 Porsche 911 Carrera T Review

Will some enthusiasts be upset that Porsche rearranged its options and packages to come up with this model? Maybe. It is an odd combination, but it works. The pricing is a bit awkward too, as the 911 Carrera T will set buyers back at least $103,150, which is about $10,000 more than a base Carrera. To enthusiasts, this model is definitely worth that much, as the Carrera T feels like a normal 911 but dialed in well beyond what was expected in the now familiar sports car.

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