There are now eight families of 911. There are the Carreras, the GTS, the Targa 4, the Turbo, the Turbo S Exclusive Series, the GT3, the GT2 RS, and now the 911 T. If you count each body style family variant individually, there are now 23 distinct 911s to choose from.
Where does the new 911 T fit in?
It shares its 370 horsepower, turbocharged flat-six with the base Carrera, but not the short ratio gearbox it's equipped with. That short-ratio gearbox also includes a mechanical limited slip differential. The 911 T is rear wheel drive only. The rear glass is thinner than in the standard Carrera. The seats have cloth center sections. It is 20kg lighter than a standard Carrera, making it the lightest 911 in the range at 3,142 pounds. Porsche calls it a successor to the original 911T of 1968. Is that accurate?
Divining the T
The new Porsche 911 T features unique graphics, a unique front fascia, as well as Agate grey badging not used on the standard Carrera. Under the skin, the T also has PASM Sports Chassis standard, 20mm lowered suspension, weight-optimized Sport Chrono, and a shorted shift leather. Rear-axle steering is also available as an option, though it is not available on a standard Carrera. The interior door handles are cloth pulls, 4-way electrically adjusted Sport Seats Plus are standard but GT3-style fixed back buckets are available as an option (when so ordered Porsche will delete the rear seats as well). That's all well and good, and the car will probably be a great drive.
Does All The Above Make it a T?
Back in late 1969 (the article was published in January, 1970) Car and Driver brought together what was then Porsche's full lineup. Oh, and they also brought along Mark Donohue for his professional opinion. At that point the lineup contained just four models; the 912, 911T, 911E and 911S. The 911T was the "touring" oriented model, and it was also the least expensive and least powerful six-cylinder model in the range. Fair enough, as the new T shares its engine with the standard Carrera. The Car and Driver staff of 1969 also praised the original T for its tractable, forgiving engine. Given the current Carrera's broad, flat, accessible torque, the story will likely be much the same for the new car.
What About The Interior
Where the original Porsche 911T did not come unglued was the cabin. The original T was praised for being comfortable and easy to drive. It was not a model with thin windows, reduced sound deadening, and a more merciless approach to performance than lesser 911s. Apart from the 912, there wasn't a Porsche model below the T. Apart from poor heaters and bewildering ventilation in all of the classic 911s, the Car and Driver staff actually praised the level of equipment in all three 911s and the 912, though the 912 was said to be a bit under-instrumented.
Why then does the new T used in the press photos lack even a radio? Instead, the radio is a $1,600-$5,300 option. A radio comes standard in a GT3, with radio delete available as a no-cost option. The rest of the option list is baffling as well. The rears seats are deleted when ordering Full Bucket Seats, but rear footwell lighting is available, for example.
While Porsche went to great lengths to save 20kg, you can add it all back with a full suite of options. As on virturally all other 911s, extended leather and a sunroof are available. So is the option to delete the lightweight rear glass. Deleting the lightweight glass is a no cost option.
I want to love it, because it looks so right, but maybe I just don't get it
The new cabin options look spectacular! The Sport-Tex upholstery is great, indeed I was a big fan of it in the GT3 Touring. I think cloth is extremely appropriate in a sports car. In the T the Sport-Tex is available with body colored elements in Speed Yellow and Guards Red, and the gauges can be color-keyed as well. It really looks the business.
Indeed, the T will probably be excellent, quibbles about the name aside.
I don't want to come out and say this makes the T a bad Porsche. It's just that given the position of the original T in the lineup, I think the nomenclature makes this new version confusing.
The 991s are so good that a Carrera S even made it into Motor Trend's Best Driver's Car. It fared very well against much more focused machines, like the Viper ACR, Acura NSX and Camaro SS 1LE, claiming third place overall. The T's upgrades over the standard Carrera only seek to improve the driving characteristics of the standard Porsche Carrera, and offer buyers a different approach to adding performance than with the Carrera S.
Perhaps the best way to think of the T is as an analogue to the GTS.
What the GTS is to the Carrera S, the T is to the standard Carrera. It's a more focused version of essentially the same tool. Being the lightest 911 in the range is no small honor, even if negating that advantage seems a little too easy.
2018 Porsche 911 T Pricing and Availability
Porsche's website lists the T's base price at $102,100 for US buyers, and $116,500 for Canadian buyers. Both of these prices undercut the S, while offering a lot of equipment the S does not include as standard. Deliveries will begin in the first quarter of 2018 for the US and Canada.