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Modern classics | Why Porsche's 911 Carrera T is a brilliant dance between man and machine

2020-09-11 07:30

Charlen Raymond

Porsche 911 Carrera T

Porsche 911 Carrera T (Warren Wilson)

• The 991 Porsche 911 Carrera T came to market in 2018.

• The car is powered by a 3.0-litre flat-six engine.

• The Carrera T is a car for pure driver-enjoyment.

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It was 2017 when I had my first taste of a Porsche. A 911 GTS, of all cars. I remember the experience quite vividly, but what struck me was how "empty" the interior was, and that the entirety of the car is centred around the driver.

Fast-forward three years and a bright yellow 911 Carrera T joins the Wheels24 garage for a couple of days. Having come to market in 2018, the 911 Carrera T forms part of the 991 Porsche 911 family and slots in between the Carrera and Carrera S of the time.

Let it be known, though, that the Carrera T wasn't designed to be an overtly luxurious car, but rather for the car and its workings to revolve around the driver. Hmm, I have a strong sense of familiarity...

Porsche 911 Carrera T

Porsche 911 Carrera T (Warren Wilson)

Successful design recipe

The Carrera T carries the familiar design of Porsche's 911 family, with subtle hints and giveaways that this is a special car in the Carrera range. At the front, the bulging wheel arches hover on either side of the boot - yes, the boot is at the front - and the circular sequence flows all around the bodywork. The headlights, too, have a striking design and a family of LED lights are placed in each.

The side profile of the car is classic 911, with "911 Carrera T" lettering brought onto the side skirts. At the back, the electronically controlled rear wing is merged into the bodywork, and two exhaust pipes are positioned in the middle of the rear diffuser.

READ: Headed for SA - Porsche reveals specifications and arrival date for all-new 911 Targa models

The 911 has a design recipe that relies on evolution rather than revolution, which is why the car is such an icon in the motoring world. While it may not be the most inspiring, it is functional and fulfils its purpose with aplomb. Yet, if you want your 911 to have a sense of drama, Porsche's GT range might be right up your alley.

Interior for the purist

The 911 Carrera T is not the most luxurious of Porsches. Like the 2017 GTS, it also has an interior that plays second fiddle to the driving experience. In the Carrera T, though, things are just a little more user-friendly. Slip into the bucket seats and you are met with a snug steering wheel. Just behind it, the information display is very analogue-driven, with the only digital display being the small screen to the right that plays home to several readings, including satellite navigation, media, vehicle information, and the tyre pressure monitor - to mention a few.

A personal favourite regarding this car's interior are the cupholders that are sensually hidden away above the cubbyhole. Press the cup icon and users have access to two fold-out holders that can be adjusted to fit your (non-alcoholic) drink's size. But the real party trick is the door handles that must be opened via a little rope from the inside. It adds a real sporty sense to the car's aura and underlines that this is a car designed for the driving purist.

READ: Porsche reveals pricing for its new 911 Targa range in South Africa

The multimedia screen takes centre stage on the dashboard, and above it, the classic Porsche clock. Below the multimedia screen, though, are a myriad buttons.

Granted, this car is two-years-old, and the new, 992 Porsche 911 addresses this issue tenfold.

Aside from the buttons, one must make sure that the driver's seat and steering wheel are ideally positioned. When it's raining, for instance, and the wipers are active, the right stalk on the steering wheel can obstruct your view of the fuel gauge when flipped upwards. The two rear seats are better suited to smaller passengers and will provoke a colourful vocabulary from passengers upon exit who had no issue cramming in just minutes prior.

Still, this is a cabin that speaks unashamedly to the driver; that puts the thrill of the experience above anything else.

Porsche 911 Carrera T

Porsche 911 Carrera T (Warren Wilson)

A driver's car

Unfortunately, no amount of words will do the Carrera T's driving experience justice. This is a car that must be felt and enjoyed, rather than an experience that's described around the campfire. Switch the drive mode selector to either Sport or Sport+ and listen as the engine comes alive. In Sport+, the suspension stiffens, and the steering feel becomes tauter and far more direct than it already is.

Lay on the throttle, and the flat-six 3.0-litre engine's rough bark growls ever-louder as the rev needle rushes towards 7000rpm. It's unbridled and unrefined, yet acoustically so perfect that it would be a sin to lift off the throttle. 272kW and 450Nm are sent to the rear wheels via Porsche's stunning seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, never missing a beat and always transferring just the right amount of power to the tarmac.

READ: The most powerful Porsche 911 Turbo S is headed for SA - we have pricing and details

Launching the car is easy, too. Deactivate Porsche's Stability Management (PSM) system by holding the traction control button, dial the car into Sport+, left foot on the brakes and the right one on the accelerator. With the perfect launch, the car will reach 100km/h from standstill in 4.5 seconds and run out of breath at over 290km/h (the latter Porsche claims).

The experience from behind the steering wheel rewards the driver who is willing to engage with the car. It speaks to the man or woman who understands what this car is about and why it came to market in the first place. Once you've found your rhythm with the 911 Carrera T, it's like a dance between man and machine and the music will keep on playing for as long as you'll let it.


How would you rate Porsche's 911 Carrera T? Do you agree that it is one of best sports cars around? Email us.

Porsche 911 Carrera T

Porsche 911 Carrera T (Warren Wilson)

In summary

The 911 Carrera T is a perfect example of what a driver's car should be. It's devoid of many modern in-car technologies and places the driver and his/her experience at the forefront of everything. Several aspects on this 2018 model will not meet the contemporary buyer's criteria if it were to be a new car in 2020, but the purist will look beyond that and opt for it because they know what type of reward awaits them.

This car was made for pure enjoyment. And weighing a mere 1425kg, you come to realise just why it's such an engaging car when the road becomes a bit technical.

I think the 911 GTS I drove in 2017 will always be at the pinnacle of my driving experiences. Not because the car was endowed with luxury, but 1) because of the lack thereof and 2) it placed the driver first. This Carrera T thrives on that very minimalistic approach to its interior, and the driving experience takes preference over everything else, as well.

I am yet to find a car that left me speechless the way that 911 GTS did, but I had never danced with a car the way I did with this 911 Carrera T.

Porsche 911 Carrera T

Porsche 911 Carrera T (Warren Wilson)

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