Arriving in spring, the 2023 Carrera T occupies the space within the 911 model line between the Carrera and Carrera S. The “T” stands for Touring.
It gets the same twin-turbo flat six as the Carrera, making 379 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque. The mid-range pull is quite satisfying and will push you out of any corner.
The Carrera T’s balance, the direct steering feel, the more-than-adequate power and torque will make you swoon.
For the discerning sports car enthusiast there are many models of Porsche 911 available. You start with the “entry level” (ha!) plain old “911 Carrera,” with a perfectly powerful 379 hp, a 0-60 mph time of 4.0 seconds and a top speed of 182 screamin’ miles per hour. That costs an entirely reasonable $107,550, well within some budgets.
Then, at the other end of the Porsche showroom is the generally regarded as fantastic GT3 RS, with 518 hp, 0-60 mph in 3.0 seconds and a top speed of 184 mph. That costs a house-selling, college-fund-depleting, no-retirement-savings-after-this-baby $235,250. More than twice the dough and you only gain a second in 0-60 and two mph at the top end.
So what is the discerning sports car enthusiast to do? Have a nice, tall glass of T. Carrera T. The 911 Carrera T has all the features that make 911s fun to drive but without the big, honkin’ wing. The new 2023 model will be available in spring, with a base price of $118,050.
Technically, the T stands for “Touring.” And you could certainly tour in this. It’s comfortable, livable, and yet a lot more toned down on the outside so you’re not as likely to be noticed by, say, the police. It gets the same twin-turbo flat six as the Carrera making 379 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque. But under that tastefully designed skin are a number of features any real Porsche driver would want.
“The philosophy is that it’s the combination of the standard engine, i.e. the engine you’d find in the 911 Carrera and Carrera 4, but mixed with chassis and performance content that you would normally find on more exclusive or more expensive models like Carrera S, GTS, or even potentially a little bit higher than that, depending on how you want to look at it,” explained Porsche spokesperson Luke Vandezande at the LA auto show.
The Carrera T is the second iteration of a model that occupies that T nameplate and this particular space within the 911 model line between the Carrera and Carrera S. What performance features from higher up in the model range do you get standard on the 2023 Carrera T?
You get PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management), which instantly changes damper stiffness depending on how you’re driving. It’s a sportier chassis setup than the “base” 911 Carrera. You also get these standard features: sport exhaust, Sport Chrono, lightweight glass, lightweight battery, Rear Seat Delete, and a seven-speed manual transmission (although the eight-speed PDK is available as a no-cost option). Also optional is rear-axle steering.
So, in many ways, the Carrera T is more of the driver’s car. But there’s more.
With the lightweight window glass, light battery, the manual transmission, and the yanked rear seats, this is the lightest Carrera you can buy—100 pounds lighter than the 911 Carrera equipped with PDK—because there’s no other way to get the base 911 Carrera except with that transmission. The resultant curb weight of the Carrera T is 3254 pounds.
You can even order a carbon-fiber roof. But while it might technically be lighter, it’s really more of a cosmetic feature, because the standard roof is fairly light already.
The T also comes with 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels as opposed to the 19- and 20-inch rims standard on the “base” 911 Carrera. The wheels sport the same design as the Carrera S but are finished in titanium grey. Ride height is lowered by just under a half inch (10 mm, the exact size of the socket you can never find).
Inside, Ts come standard with the four-way Sport Seat Plus, which has better bolstering. The body shell of the seat is similar to the 18-way Sport Seat Plus, which is available as an option. You can also get a full fixed-position carbon-fiber bucket seat as an option, something you normally wouldn’t be able to get on the 911 Carrera. If you got that, you’d reduce curb weight by more than 100 pounds.
“So all of that boils down to a very purist, focused, driving-enthusiast package that sits toward the entry point of the model range,” said Vandezande.
And then, they let me drive it. Not just around the busy downtown streets of the Los Angeles Auto Show, but straight up one of the best driving roads in the country—Angeles Crest Highway.
If you haven’t been in a Porsche 911 for a while, you will fall right back in love as soon as you wheel through the first corner. The balance, the direct steering feel, the more-than-adequate power and torque will make you swoon.
(If you crave irony, the 100-pound weight reduction Porsche worked so hard to get is immediately thrown out the window once you add a passenger. Ha! But you don’t necessarily need a passenger, especially when driving with verve.)
The shifter and clutch feel are just about perfect; the brakes are strong and provide just the right amount of feedback; the steering is precise without a hint of being unruly.
My Carrera T came with a manual transmission and all the above-mentioned mass-reduction features. I can say I wouldn’t necessarily need anything more than this simple, lightweight, very tossable and fun model in order to be perfectly happy the rest of my life.
For almost all spirited driving, the 379 hp is more than enough. You might want more up near the top of the tach, say at the end of the quarter mile or when you’re approaching that 182-mph top speed. But as you wend your way through canyons and over mountains, you’re usually in third gear, for which 379 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque is just right.
The mid-range pull is quite satisfying and will push you out of any corner you’re likely to encounter. Once you’ve returned to the city, the lack of a wing and most of the adornment of higher-level models will allow you to stealthily creep back into your driveway unnoticed.
Yes, there are 20-something 911 models available from Porsche right now, and maybe if we had unlimited funds a GT3 RS would be nice. But with only half-unlimited funding you can get a T and be way more than half-happy. Nice problem to have.
If there are more than 20 Porsche 911 models available, there’s probably room for another. Any suggestions for the product development team? Please comment below.