Porsche 911 Carrera T
A special-edition 911 at a palatable price ... a future classic, perhaps?
AS fans of the Zuffenhausen brand will know, the T moniker dates back to 1968 when the original 911 T won several rallies, including the Monte Carlo event with British driver Vic Elford behind the wheel. The formula was simple: reduce mass; shorten the gearing; improve traction.
The 2018 version continues this purist approach, with lightweight windows and straps for door handles that shave some 20 kg off the weight of the Carrera, plus you can choose to forgo the rear seats and infotainment system for further reductions at no cost. Our press unit was a seven-speed manual (alongside a seven-speed PDK at the same price) and its final-drive ratio has been shortened to make the most of the 272 kw delivered to the rear axle with a limited-slip differential.
It’s a differential that would have its work cut out given the weather and route we were going to drive. In the heart of one of the biggest storms to hit the Western Cape in years, lashing rain transformed roads into rivers and snow-cloaked the surrounding mountain peaks. But even in these treacherous conditions, the T allowed me to mine its dynamic abilities without too many skipped heartbeats. I opted for sport mode to activate the rev-matching feature while keeping the suspension setting in comfort in a bid to maximise grip on a soaking-wet Franschhoek Pass. As ever, the joy of manual shifting brings a smile to your face, although be warned that selecting the seventh (overdrive) cog on your first attempt isn’t easy because it requires a dog-leg action.
The brilliant six-cylinder turbo engine the T shares with the Carrera has no discernible lag and provides strong shove from low engine speeds. That’s not to say it doesn’t love spinning to more than 7 000 r/min, sending its classic racing soundtrack into a cabin that has only the minimum of sound-deadening, especially with the absence of rear pews. Get carried away and the rear-end breaks traction in a smooth and progressive fashion, requiring only a slight steering correction with stability-control intervention before the onslaught can continue.
While most special versions of the 911 are suitably more expensive than the standard models, the T offers exclusivity without the sizeable price penalty. For R126 000 more than the standard Carrera, you’re getting a manual 911 offering a pure, exhilarating driving experience, which may just be a good investment as well.