Porsche 911 Carrera T review: a bargain GT3? Reviews 2023 | Top Gear
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Porsche 911 Carrera T review: a bargain GT3?

£85,576 when new
Published: 20 Jul 2018


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Another 911?!

Yes, and you’d be perfectly forgiven if you wanted to move on to another page. We’re huge Porsche 911 fans, but it’s easy to sympathise with 911 blindness (or boredom) when there are currently 23 different versions on sale.

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All of them are pretty familiar, save for this: so welcome the twenty-third 911, the Carrera T. In short, it’s the entry-level Carrera – with rear-wheel drive and 370bhp – but suffused with some of the hardcore road-racer vibe of the ultra-desirable and barely attainable 911 GT3.

So how much is it?

The price is a rip-off. Or a bargain. Depending on your viewpoint, this is either a 911 Carrera with no extra power that’s £7,500 more, or a GT3 without the waiting list politics and nearly £27,000 off. That could buy you a Hyundai i30N for everyday duties.

Want to confuse the matter further? While it effectively comes without air con, a stereo/sat nav or back seats, all in the name of weight saving, you can option them all back in for free. What doesn’t change is the thinner glass and reduced sound deadening, and in truth they’re the most tangible change over a standard Carrera.

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How come?

The T’s weight savings are pretty negligible, especially if you start adding equipment back in to make it more appealing on road trips. So while it feels neat, agile and keen, so does every 911. Especially if it’s specced with rear-wheel steering (£1,592) like our test car. While that may not please the purists, it’s a very good way of making a car like this nimble and exciting at all speeds, which is handy if lots of your time is spent crawling through cities.

A bit more noise and rawness in the cabin – no matter how minimal – is the big difference here, and I have to admit to loving the extra dose of focus. Porsche’s 3.0-litre flat-six is one of the better sounding turbo engines out there, making its additional presence via the skinnier glass fine by me.

Our car had no back seats, either, removing another hurdle between exhaust and ear while lending the T an amusing ‘911 van’ feel. Normally two-seater 911s have a big, serious rollcage obstructing much of the additional room, but here’s one that’s suddenly very cavernous indeed. You could run a small hipster food business from here, at the very least.

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Get serious. What’s it like to drive?

It has that ever so slightly annoying 911 trait of just feeling damn perfect, and showing every rival up as a bit try-hard. The seating position is immediately spot on, the dials are laid out flawlessly, the throttle response and steering are crisp as anything and the car just gives you everything you need to leap in and drive it right at the top of your own limits.

The manual gearbox would be perfect too if it wasn’t for the current Carrera’s seventh gear. It’s easy to get a little lost on multiple downchanges, in particular a seventh-to-third for a dual carriageway roundabout, but you’d no doubt get used to that if this was your only car.

Could it be your only car?

Absolutely, especially given you can pop those back seats back in if you need them. You still get a huge front boot and all the typical 911 liveability and unimpeachable ergonomics. I came away pretty smitten by the T: the approachability of a base Carrera, and its almost real-world pace, but with a welcome hint of the hardcore about it.

My concern was whether that’s entirely imagined, and without a regular 911 alongside it’d be impossible to know whether the T just feels a bit tougher simply because it has new decals on the side and fabric seats and door pulls that force you into a different mindset. But I was having such a good time, it seemed pointless worrying how authentic it all is.

So it's a good 'un...

Sure, the T costs much more than a Carrera, but it does add quite a bit of Good Stuff – sports exhaust, torque vectoring with limited-slip diff, Sport Chrono – and allows the option of rear-wheel steering, not currently available on regular Carreras. It’s the most serious you can make a 911 without the sky-high price and redline of a GT3, delivering a reasonable portion of its fun at more modest budgets and road speeds. We might not have asked for a 23rd 911, but the more I drove the Carrera T, the more I wondered how many of the other 22 we really need. It’s terrific.


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