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Porsche 911 Carrera T 2023 review


With its new Touring variant, Porsche’s iconic 922-generation 911 coupe loses a little weight, gains some sporty options, and morphs into something special

Good points

  • Engaging drive
  • Great sound
  • Desirable options
  • 911 daily driveability

Needs work

  • Still quite pricey
  • Some will want more power

It’s easy to get lost when digging through the Porsche’s online 911 configurator. If you have the funds, you can fall right into a real quagmire trying to figure out which of the dozens of overlapping options packages are right for you.

There are too many to pick from, each and everyone singing a siren song that threatens to send your budget smashing onto the rocks.

Porsche 911 Carrera T 2023 front 3/4

And so, when Porsche announced at this year’s LA Auto Show that they were adding yet another 911 variation to the mix, I confess I didn’t exactly jump with joy.

But now, after a few hours romping through some of California’s greatest roads in the new 2023 Porsche 911 Carrera T, I’ve been convinced. I was left grinning ear-to-ear. It’s that good and, for performance-minded Porsche enthusiasts, it’s the one to buy.

What is the Carrera T? Priced from $280,600 (before on-road costs) in Australia, the new grade is basically a one-click way to get some of the 911’s tastiest performance features on a coupe that’s been pared down to its raw essentials – well, as raw as a 1475kg car can be, anyhow.

Porsche 911 Carrera T 2023 rear city close

It also opens the door to even more options, like rear-steering, something that you normally have to step up to the Carrera S to unlock.

The Carrera T rolls on larger, 20- and 21-inch wheels by default, connected through Porsche’s PASM suspension, which makes it 10mm lower than a standard Carrera.

The sport exhaust out back is standard, as is a seven-speed manual transmission with a short-shift kit, although the eight-speed dual-clutch ‘PDK’ is a no-cost option. Porsche’s torque-vectoring, limited-slip differential is also available as an option, normally only found on the Carrera S and up.

Porsche 911 Carrera T 2023 front 3/4 driving mountains

Driving it all is the 3.0-liter twin-turbo flat-six that is found on the base Carrera. That makes 283kW of power with 450Nm of torque, which may sound a bit limp compared to the 353kW offered by the GTS, but trust me when I say I was not wishing for more power as I went screaming through the California night on the iconic Angeles Crest Highway.

As the sun fell over the glimmering city of Los Angeles down in the valley, the Carrera T was just waking up. In Sport Plus mode, exhaust open and free, the sound of that engine reverberating off the mountains was amazing.

Sure, the turbos have spoiled the song a little, but the reduced sound deadening material in the Carrera T and the sport exhaust make for a very good sounding machine.

Porsche 911 Carrera T 2023 rear 3/4 driving

That sport exhaust is one of the many niceties added to the Carrera T, but it’s not all about the additions. The Carrera T also features some notable reductions. Beyond the sound insulation, there’s thinner, lighter glass and a lightweight battery, too.

Not even the rear seat made the cut. You can add one back in if you really want, but I say leave the kids at home and instead option out the rigid, carbon-fiber sport seats. Those buckets will cost you US$5900 (not currently available in Australia) and will make climbing in and out a bit of a chore, but damn do they feel good in the canyons.

The steering of the 911 Carrera T is wonderfully responsive and that rear-steering system makes the whole package feel much shorter and lighter than it is.

Porsche 911 Carrera T 2023 manual shifter

Overall weight here is down 45kg over the base Carrera, but I think the elevated sound plus the shorter throws from that seven-speed gearbox do even more to make it seem that much racier.

And that’s what this is all about, really. At 4.5 seconds to 100km/h with the manual (4.0 with the PDK), the T isn’t much quicker than a base Carrera, but the net effect of all those special parts pulled out of so many different flavors of 911 create a car that feels far more different than it should.

Most importantly, it feels special. That’s not to say a base 911 isn’t a special thing, it most certainly is, but it’s so good in the everyday that you can forget just how good it is to really push hard.

Porsche 911 Carrera T 2023 seats

The Carrera T will never let you forget. It will remind you with every gearshift, every turn, that it’s capable of so much more. You, in turn, will go out of your way to find roads that capitalize on that capability. For that reason alone the Carrera T would be the one for me.

Yes, I know, many of you will rue the relative lack of power, but again trust me when I say you don’t need it.

Or, if you don’t trust me, rest assured that there are plenty of companies out there that will gladly apply some custom software to turn up the virtual wick on that 3.0-liter six for you – so long as you’re not too worried about warranty claims down the road.

Porsche 911 Carrera T 2023 rear 3/4

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