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Driven: 2018 Porsche Carrera T adds spice to 911 lineup

2018 Porsche Carrera T
2018 Porsche Carrera T - Contributed

OTTAWA, Ont. — Porsche has created derivatives of the 911 to fit any taste and budget — provided you are shopping in the $100,000+ range.

You can personalize your 911 with everything from the colour of the belts and slats on the air vents, to the exhaust sound or ability to adjust the suspension.

Porsche did not get to be the most profitable company in the business by giving away these options. It has become famous for not only the variety of extras, but their prices.

There are literally hundreds of configurations with extras ranging from hundreds of dollars, to $10,000. You can almost double the base price by playing with the options list.

In case that wasn’t enough personalization, Porsche has added a 24th distinct model to the 911 line — the 2018 Carrera T. The T (Touring) is the result of Porsche playing with its own options list, selecting items that add to performance by reducing weight, and in the process creating another route to exclusivity.

It has been 50 years since the first 911 T, the base six-cylinder model. The 2018 version is one step up from the base Carrera.

While it retains all the creature comforts and features, it looses weight, rides lower and has a bevy of special features that emphasize the car’s already-impressive dynamic capabilities.

The 2018 Carrera 911 T is the lightest of all 911 Carreras. Steps taken to achieve this include: Pull straps instead of interior door handles, and thinner “Gorilla” glass like that used for the GT2 RS. There is no rear seat and the fronts are made from carbon fibre.

The 911 T has the same delightful twin-turbo, flat-six engine as the base Carrera. It sends 370 horsepower and 330 lb.-ft. of torque to the rear wheels through your choice of seven-speed transmissions — manual or automatic.

But, the final drive ratio has been lowered for additional acceleration. Other performance enhancements include: a torque vectoring, limited slip differential, sport exhaust system, and a unique suspension, with a 20 mm lower ride height.

Visually, the 911 T is differentiated by “Agate Gray” trim on the 20-inch wheels, mirror casings, rear air vent, unique front spoiler and badging. There is also a graphic stripe along the lower edge of the doors.

I got to drive two versions of the Carrera T on mostly-secondary roads from here to Montreal with a stop along the way in Mt. Tremblant. It is always a good day when you can drive a Porsche on back roads — or a race track.

The 911 T retains what makes this marque so successful — astounding engineering. From the built-as-from-a-brick structure, to the telepathic steering, the 911 is one of the most rewarding and pleasant vehicles an enthusiast can enjoy.

The T adds a bit of spice to the mix, enough so that all but the most ardent Porsche addict would not consider it as a daily driver.

The monstrous and sticky (305/30-20) rear tires create a lot of noise and a rather harsh ride on all but billiard-table smooth surfaces.

But bend this car into a corner at speed, and they become your best friend, providing unbelievable levels of grip, and direct and accurate communication to the driver through the steering wheel.

The T has the least powerful engine in the Carrera line. But that is hardly a sacrifice. Thanks to light weight, the gearing and 370 horses in the corral, this sports car will scoot from rest to 100 km/hr. in 4.3 seconds, 4.0 with the PDK (automatic).

You may give up some straight-line acceleration, and fuel efficiency with the manual box, but it is such a delight.

Incredibly short throws allow you to use your wrist when selecting gears, and clutch take-up is progressive and consistent. It is also $4,250 less expensive.

A note here for potential T buyers larger than a size 38, or about 150 pounds. Before springing the extra $6,000 for the carbon fibre seats, try them out.

Only if you are a small, slim and athletic youngster will you be able to get in and out gracefully.

The Carrera 911 T may be a little too intense for most in their daily commute.

But, as the least expensive of the performance models, it is probably the most pure 911 Carrera.

The specs

  • Model: 2018 Porsche 911 Carrera T
  • Engine: twin turbo, 3.0-litre flat six, 370 horsepower, 339 lb.-ft. of torque, premium fuel
  • Transmission: seven-speed manual or automatic
  • NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 14.6/9.4 (manual) - 11.9 / 9.1 (automatic)
  • Length: 4,527 mm
  • Width: 1,808 mm
  • Wheelbase: 2,450 mm
  • Weight: 1,428 kg
  • Price: $116,500 (manual)/$120,750 (automatic) base, plus freight

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