Porsche Carrera T and GT3 Touring
Porsche 911 Carrera T vs. 911 GT3 Touring
ZUFFENHAUSEN DOES IT AGAIN, STOKING YOUR FANBOY DESIRE...
There’s a bit of an analoge revolution going on at Porsche right now. No, not a return to handrolled panels and cross-ply tires, but a recognition that pleasure isn’t necessarily linked to lap times. The Cayman GT4 was the first to place sensory experience ahead of raw speed, then the 911R, then the GT3 with an optional manual gearbox, and now there’s two more old-school-flavor
911s to add to that list. We begin with the 911 GT3 Touring Pack, essentially a GT3 with its wing deleted… but there’s a little more to it than that. For instance, did you know the Touring name was first used on the
2.7-liter Carrera RS from 1973? That’s heritage, right there. The missing wing is replaced with a classic pop-up rear deck embellished with a GT3 Touring badge and a unique lip spoiler on the trailing edge.
You can have any gearbox you like, so long as it’s a six-speed manual, and it’s all-leather and cloth on the inside, no racy Alcantara or roll cages here. Other than that, it’s as per the GT3, with the same options (ceramic brakes, nose lift, LED headlights, Chrono Pack, audio upgrades).
There are no rear seats, but 20-inch center-locking wheels, a 44mm wider and 25mm lower stance than the base Carrera and four-wheel steering are all standard. Oh, and a 4.0-liter flat-six touched by the hand of God, with
9,000rpm to play with. The Carrera T resides at the opposite end of the 911 spectrum. The ‘T’ also stands for Touring… although that’s probably a bit misleading. Porsche is actually pitching this one as a lightweight special—a more driver-focused version of the bog-standard Carrera.
The Carrera’s 365hp 3.0-liter turbo flat-six drives the rear wheels through either a seven-speed PDK or a sevenspeed manual. You should go for the latter for three reasons: you get a mechanical limited-slip diff (missing on the PDK), it has a shorter finaldrive ratio from the Carrera S and a stubbier gearlever, and a manual just suits what this car’s trying to be so much better.
A sports exhaust is standard, along with PASM sport suspension lowered by 20mm and thinner glass from the GT2 RS for the rear windows and rear screen. Sound deadening has been “largely reduced” and there are no rear seats and no radio and no satnav (although you can add those things back in at no extra cost). You also get a Sport Chrono pack and fabric door
pulls. Total weight saving? 5kg when the extra standard kit is taken into account.
The 0–100kph time drops by a tenth to 4.5sec (4.2sec with the PDK), and top speed is 293kph. This, you quickly realize, is plenty on tight and twisty mountain roads. Most of the time the T felt just as fast as the GT3, thanks to its more flexible turbocharged engine. Do not think the basic 911 is somehow a compromise car for those that can’t afford the Carrera S; it’s actually a sweet spot on public roads.
Sports exhaust burping and cracking away behind you, Sport mode engaged, suspension in its softer setting and paddling the manual gearbox: this is a joyous experience. Next to the GT3, it feels noticeably narrower and more dainty… you’re not going as quickly, but the steering is crystal clear, the brakes nicely progressive and you feel just as involved in the process. The downside? This car is brilliant because the Carrera it’s based on is already brilliant, not through any single piece of engineering innovation. It’s a bit of a marketing-department special.
Same can’t be said about the GT3. Yes, the changes are minimal, but not only does it look cooler than its bewinged brother, it also assumes the role of a 911R for the masses. Contrary to speculation, Porsche GT boss Preuninger says the Touring wasn’t devised to give 911R speculators sweaty palms—the 911R was the guinea pig that proved there was a thirst for this kind of car; this is the more ‘affordable’ result.
Clinging on while this engine thrashes the final 1,000rpm and really opens its pipes is something we should all experience once—like skydiving or the Pamplona bull run—but it’s the speed you can carry through the corners, the crispness of the steering and how late you can stand on the brakes (despite our test car being on steels not ceramics, for the full retro effect) that stand out.
And a word for the six-speed gearbox (well done, GT department, for refusing to move to seven gears), a precision tool that’s not only satisfying to flick around, but forces you to constantly assess where you are in the rev range, plan ahead, take part more than with the point-and-shoot PDK.
To name a winner here seems obtuse. Yes, the GT3 exists on a higher plane, but if you’re unlikely to see a racetrack, the softer Carrera T is almost as involving… and you could buy a hot hatch with the change. Let’s just rejoice that as tech goes into hyperdrive, makers haven’t forgotten simple pleasures are often the best. Bravo, Porsche, for leading the way.
Carrera T nav switched for double-deck Fruit Pastille holder
Badge and 20in wheels—subtle clues the GT3 T is the ultimate sleeper