Porsche has announced the new 911 Carrera T: a 911 that is 20 kilograms lighter than the regular Carrera, has a bunch of sporty touches and is sold in a range of bright colours. T stands for Touring, but the car is built with lightweight glass, RS-style pull loops in the doors and a shorter final drive ratio: all hallmarks of a sports purpose machine. The T badging is curious.
The Carrera S (S for Sport) does not come as standard with a shorter final drive, seven speed manual or limited slip differential, while the Carrera T (T for Touring) has all of those things. Twenty-seven litres of fuel equates to twenty kilograms. One could theoretically short fill a Carrera by 27 litres and have a car weighing the same as a Carrera T on full tanks.
The Touring Carrera also comes with less sound deadening (?), no rear seats and an unladen weight of 1425 kilograms. It has a chassis lowered by 10mm (four tenths of an inch), Sport Chrono but without the dash clock (which everyone loves and is sort of the point of Sport Chrono), a gearknob with red shift pattern, something else and some other stuff.
It has a power-to-weight ratio of 260hp per tonne. This is supposed to be viewed as exciting, and it probably is. But I have a twenty year-old BMW M3 sedan with full sound deadening and rear seats (seat belts for five people) that is not a million miles away from this figure. One could get the weight down pretty easily and stick a rocket up the power-to-weight, but that would defeat the point.
Yesterday, I drove a 911R recreation/celebration by the boys at EB Motorsport. It weighs 804 kilograms with a single seat, skinny R wheels and tyres, fully oiled up with a quarter tank of fuel. The twin-plug, 2-litre engine makes 220 horsepower, which gives a power-to-weight ratio of 275 horsepower per tonne (more on this car later).
OK, the Carrera T is £86k and the EB 911R is at least £100k more than that, but if you’re going to market something as lightweight, then it should not weigh the same as 23 people (average adult weight globally is 62 kilograms). The average weight of a (female) cow is 720 kilograms, which is two Carrera Ts. A five-foot Steinway ‘City’ grand piano weighs 252 kilograms, which means that a 911 Carrera T with some fuel weighs roughly the same as six Steinway grand pianos.
“Improved power to weight ratio delivers enhanced performance,” says Stuttgart, and no doubt the 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds – one tenth quicker than the standard Carrera – is quicker than a baby grand, unless the piano is travelling downwards in a straight line towards the pavement. I also like the cool range of colours including Racing Yellow, Miami Blue and Lava Orange: difficult to choose between those three. But something is not right with this T badge.
Everyone knows that the volume sellers are where Porsche makes its money: Macan, Cayenne and Panamera. The 911 remains a desirable car, but are these editions serious, or are they just preening for press releases? The truth is that, these days, if you really want a lightweight Porsche – and trust me, you do – you have to build it yourself. For the £85k cost of a standard Carrera T, one could easily build a lightweight air-cooled 911 and have enough left over to buy a nice grand piano or two. Now that’s an idea I can get with.
The new 911 Carrera T is available to order now from Porsche Centres in the UK and Ireland priced from £85,576.00 RRP inc VAT. First deliveries begin in January 2018, at which point, journos will be freaking out over the transformative effect of the shorter final drive and claiming this as a credible alternative to a GT3 Touring.
News update: my 1976 911 has a shorter final drive, as does every 911 rally car ever. When the national speed limit of 70mph is being ever more rigorously enforced, it is not rocket science to shorten the final drive and have more fun getting to a lower top speed.
I would like to drive this T: I suspect it actually will be rather more invigorating than a standard Carrera. Group test pitch for GT Porsche magazine: my 1020-kilo 3-litre 911 versus six grand pianos with 370 horsepower. Simon will love it.