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2023 Porsche Carrera T
In 1968 Porsche introduced a T, or “Touring”, version of their popular 911 in an effort to appeal to enthusiasts who wanted 911 goodness but couldn’t afford the more expensive versions. The 911T wasn’t a big hit, but it did reasonably well and helped the company grow and evolve. Interestingly, it wasn’t until 50 years later in 2018 that Porsche released a second 911T, this time based on the 991.2 Carrera platform.
Like the 1968 version, the 991.2 911T “remix” wasn’t a sensation but neither did it bomb, so it was no surprise that Porsche released a new 992-based Carrera T in late 2022.
For the record, the 992-gen Carrera T is a base model 911 with a 7-speed manual transmission combined with the Sports Chrono Package, mechanical limited-slip differential, thinner glass and rear seat delete to save weight, and Porsche's PASM active suspension system with sport-tuned dampers. There are other add-ons, but that’s mostly it.
The base Carrera comes with a 379-HP twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six engine paired with an eight-speed PDK automatic transmission, whereas the more expensive Carrera S increases output to 443-HP and can be ordered with Porsche's 7-speed manual. The Carrera T couples the lower horsepower version of the flat-six with the 7-speed manual, which is a good thing. You can buy a Carrera T with the PDK, but doing so negates some of the T's weight savings. Plus it’s completely lame.
Since exterior clues are minimal, it would take a true Porsche “fan-boi” to spot a Carrera T in the wild. It sits slightly lower than other Carreras, has (deletable) graphics on the lower door panels, and adds the cool smoked wheels, which I love.
Inside, charcoal cloth seats with nice pinstriping are the first things you notice, but the absence of the rear seats also grabs your attention. Fortunately, the shelf left once those seats are gone can comfortably house numerous pieces of luggage. (If you prefer, the rear seats can be retained at no cost.)
The optional “Interior” package adds some pizazz inside via seatbelt coloring and embroidered logos on the headrests and floor mats in your choice of Slate Gray or Lizard Green. Leather trim for the doors and dashboard is also available, as are 18-way power-adjustable seats. Porsche's carbon-fiber racing-style bucket seats, typically GT-model-only fare, can also be selected. While it’s nice that Carrera T customers can choose the perfect-for-track-day carbon fiber seats unavailable in other non-GT 911s, I’d go with the 18-way seats. They’re endlessly adjustable and much easier to live with.
Ok, enough of that, how about driving the Carrera T, what’s that’s like? It’s great. The 911 generally drives very well, and the T does even better in some situations than other Carreras. While the T is down 64HP to the Carrera S and 94 to the GTS, it hardly feels underpowered. Yes, I could feel the power deficit compared with a Carrera S I had driven recently, but it wasn’t significant.
More important was the improved shifter, which is better than the one in the S and is now approaching the 997 generation 911 6-sp manual, which is generally considered one of the best manual gearboxes ever offered in a Porsche.
A quick aside: when the 991 version of the 911 launched in 2012, replacing the 997, it featured a new 7-speed manual transmission that was supposed to be better—it’s as good as the old 6-speed but now has an overdrive to save fuel and decrease emissions, was the pitch. Only the 7-speed wasn’t nearly as good. It felt rubbery, imprecise, and just bad. When the 991.2 gen 911 launched in 2016, the gearbox improved slightly, and when the 2018 Carrera T came out it was finally decent. The 992 911S incorporated the improvements from the 991.2 Carrera T, and the 992 Carrera T moves things forward even more with a shorter throw shift lever and even better feel. Thank you Porsche.
All those changes and reduced sound deadening mean that driving the Carrera T on fast back roads with sweeping curves is a joy. Turn-in is quick and precise, and down-shifting and braking before an especially tight turn energize your soul.
Long freeway stints are noisier than most drivers would like, however, and running errands in town is probably better done in an Escalade. But for true driving enthusiasts, this is the 911 to buy.
Porsche is now offering a 911 variant that harkens back to a model from 1968 that was all about driving fun, and I love it. The 2023 Carrera T is modern and full of tech, yet also a blast to drive. If you buy one with the manual I promise you’ll experience many happy driving miles for years to come.