Menu toggle


25 Jan 2024

Pick of the bunch

Are the Carrera T and GTS the smart buys from Porsche’s current crop?

While Porsche’s halo models inevitably dominate the headlines, it is often the case that the more pedestrian fare is held in hindsight with equal, or even higher, regard. It’s a phenomenon that’s not unique to Porsche, but familiar to it across the decades: when the basic premise is so good, less is often more.
From the current crop of 992 generation cars, according to retail prices lifted directly from Porsche at the time of writing, a 911 Turbo S will set you back £180,600 and a GT3 RS, should you be able to secure one without paying overs, a further £12,000. At the other end of the spectrum, the 911 T and GTS are yours for £105,700 and £122,000 respectively. By no means small beer, but a different planet from the flagships. And, as the small ads will prove, these models remain in high demand on the second-hand market thanks to an untouchable ratio of bangs-for-bucks.
The Carrera T was introduced as a run out model to squeeze a few last drops from the 991 before its replacement in 2020. The concept was a marginally lighter and more focussed car that made better use of the entry-level drivetrain. The 992 version continues with this gesture towards saving weight while majoring on enhanced levels of equipment. A 380bhp 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat-six is mated to the now-familiar seven-speed manual transmission, a selling point in itself now that the entry-level Carrera is only offered with PDK.

Of equal import, however, is the suite of chassis upgrades on the ‘T’ which includes PASM Sport active suspension with a 10mm lower ride height, Sport Chrono package with dynamic engine mounts and a PTV mechanical rear diff. The car sits on 20/21-inch Carrera S alloys and four-wheel steering is a cost option fitted to the UK press car but one the overall philosophy suggests you could do without.
In terms of lightweighting, a USP of sorts for the ‘T’, Porsche has included lightened side and rear glass, reduced sound deadening, fitted a lighter battery, opted for Sport-Tex textile seats over leather (lightweight carbon buckets are an option) and done away with the rear row altogether. These last can be optioned back in, unlike with the GT3 Touring, giving the ‘T’ rather more convincing ownership of the moniker.
Once you’re on the boil, the Carrera T is sprightly and engaging. As is so often the case with Porsche’s simpler cars, it feels like all the 911 you’d ever want when you’re wringing it through a series of fast bends, the power just enough, the composure second to none thanks to a superlative chassis set-up. Steering is precise, the brakes spot on without the additional cost of ceramics and the only thing that’s really lacking as you needle the redline is some decent aural drama. But the naturally aspirated soundtrack of a GT3 Touring is going to cost you another £75,000.

The Carrera T is a great car and still one of the best 911s on sale despite its modest aspirations. Why, then, would you dig any deeper for the GTS? Because it turns out you can never have too much of a good thing when it comes to flat-sixes and empty B-roads.
The GTS has always been one of those cars that motoring journalists like to refer to as the sweet spot, the right balance of price and performance – not too much of either – without ever leaving you feeling short-changed. And so it is with this latest iteration, bigger, more complicated and more expensive as it may be. That said, everything is relative these days, when the most basic Carrera gives you little change from £95,000.
The new GTS has the same essential chassis as the ‘T’, riding lower and stiffer than the entry-level Carrera, but the differences arrive hard and fast in the degree of available grunt. With a 28bhp gain over an ‘S’ and almost 40Nm of extra torque from 2,300rpm, the GTS feels light years away from the ‘T’ when you step from one to the other. Peak power is fully 100bhp higher, torque up a very telling 20 per cent to 570Nm, and the GTS will hit 62mph more than a second faster than the ‘T’ – a number that doesn’t really do justice to quite how much faster it feels.

Yet raw performance is not the only metric by which the GTS feels a significant step up from its sporting pretender. Without the sops to lightweighting that have increased the cabin noise in the ‘T’, via both road and engine, the GTS is more refined and relaxing on the motorway, less chatty and tiring over poor surfaces. The 911 is all about versatility, after all, and the relative rawness of the Carrera T feels more acute when placed side-by-side with the maturity of the GTS. This is the package that delivers everything and, in the process, makes the ‘T’ feel more like a car for high days and holidays – albeit short holidays with a minimum of driving. That the ‘T’ is officially short for Touring should not convince you otherwise.
In truth, both cars are a pleasure to drive and would be a joy to live with. Had the ‘T’ been experienced in isolation, I doubt very much that I’d have been yearning for 100 extra horsepower and a larger monthly repayment plan. But that £17,000 increase will be a small inconvenience well worth enduring for many. Still substantially cheaper than a Turbo S but with performance to spare and refinement to match, the GTS remains the perfect 911.

Let us help you unlock the potential of your Porsche

Join now