LOS ANGELES — The 2023 Porsche 911 Carrera T is effectively a 911 with the base Carrera engine but with a few choice mechanical upgrades that are either standard or optional on the more powerful and expensive Carrera S. Those upgrades would otherwise not be available on the base car. The Carrera T also goes on a bit of diet compared to both the base 911 and Carrera S thanks to thinner glass, less sound deadening, a smaller and more compact battery, and the standard deletion of the back seat (you can still add it back in).
Great, but why would you want that? If you can afford the Carrera T’s base price of $118,050, including destination, chances are you won’t blink about getting a Carrera S with roughly the same mechanical upgrades for about $132,000. Oh, and more power: 443 horsepower versus the 379 hp you get with the Carrera T. Does it matter that that advantage only works out to a 0.3-second quicker 0-60 time? Nah, you’ve got the money, why get less power? More is better.
This is a valid argument against the Carrera T, and as such, it certainly isn’t for every 911 buyer. Except as we’ve previously documented, the 911 pie is sliced awfully thin. And those pieces just got even thinner thanks to the delectable 911 Dakar. While it’s true that the Carrera S has more power than the Carrera T, the GTS has more power than the Carrera S. And the Turbo has more than that. And then there’s the GT3 and the Turbo S and whatever else Porsche comes out with. Basically, you could play this game forever and continuously ask yourself “Oh what the hell, what’s another $14,000?”
The Carrera T, and this author for that matter, is here to tell you that you do not need to do that. To put it simply, the base 911 Carrera 3.0-liter turbocharged boxer-six is a brilliant, thoroughly decadent performance engine that makes it seem silly that Porsche needs to sell versions with even more gusto. While driving on the famous Angeles Crest Highway north of Los Angeles, my driving partner for the press drive turned at one point and asked: “Have you been driving in third this whole time?” I paused, looked at the tach and then down at the T’s standard seven-speed manual, and replied, “Yep, guess so. Didn’t really need anything else.”
You see, the 3.0-liter’s 390 pound-feet of torque is so robust, coming on between 1,950 and 5,000, that downshifting is really only necessary on the tightest of turns. Meanwhile, the engine revs out…