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When Less is More

When Less is More

Porsche 911’s have always fascinated me. In fact if there ever was a sports car (or indeed any car for that matter) that stuck to it’s fundamental design philosophy since inception, it’s the Porsche 911. The first 911 was first produced in 1963 with the air-cooled flat-6 engine sitting in the tail. 56 years later, in 2019; the 911 has a liquid cooled flat-6 sitting in the tail. And the sloping front and the purposeful rear has remained - albeit with minor changes - from inception.

Porsches went from air-cooled to liquid-cooled in 1996 much to the chagrin of Porsche purists. Their decision to drop the air-cooled engine was broadly, in order to maintain similar price points (as competitors), meet continually stricter emissions standards, and keep pace with competitor offerings in terms of power output. Any further evolution of the 3.6L Variocam unit (the last of the air cooled models) would have either not met emissions levels for most markets where Porsches were being sold, and/or been very costly, and would soon have reached a point where the cost would be beyond sustainable.
Also figuring into this was Porsche's near bankruptcy at the time. The Boxster was a make or break project for the company, and key to it's on-going survival was that the upcoming Boxster project would need to share many parts, including the engine block with the 911.

The car featured here is a 911 Carrera T and was ordered to the personalized specs of fastidious owner Kishan Perera.

The T nestles between the 370-hp Carrera and the 420-hp Carrera S in the the 911 lineup. It uses the Carrera’s 370-hp twin-turbocharged flat-six, yet takes on the adaptive suspension from the Carrera GTS, a Sport Exhaust system with black exhaust tips, a shorter 3.59:1 final-drive ratio, a limited-slip rear differential (on this version; equipped with the seven-speed manual transmission), and a "lightweight" version of the 911's Sport Chrono package that keeps the dynamic engine mounts and steering-wheel-mounted driving-mode selector but goes without the usual dashtop gauge (although this car has it added as an option). This car also has the optional Active Rear Axle Steering, Mechanical LSD and Close Ratio Gearbox.

A set of stripes just above the bottom of the doors announcing that it is a “911 Carrera T” and side mirrors finished in Agate Grey and 20-inch Carrera S wheels painted Titanium Grey complete the look. What is not so visible is the fact that aft of the B-pillar is Lightweight glass. Inside you find nylon door-straps instead of door handles. Some of this is obviously for weight savings, but I would think that thinner rear glass and nylon straps for interior door handles while indeed saving some weight, would be more of a Go-Faster / Ego thing!

The super ergonomic seats have height and back-rest adjustment via the conventional switches on the side. But rake is adjusted via a purposeful looking manual slide lever.

On the road, the car BEHAVES, and surprisingly for a 370+BHP car; is fully civilized. Not a hint of brashness about it. The short-throw seven speed manual gearbox is precise, and the clutch is nicely weighted. Although I was not able to get beyond fifth gear in the city drive that I did, the amazing power delivery available at the slightest tap of the throttle, and the degree of precision and control that Porsche has built into the T with the sport suspension package, limited-slip diff, and rear steering is impressive to say the least. The car feels alive, desperate to tackle a turn the minute you set off. In fact the only thing this car wants is to be driven… hard: as real sports cars were meant to be driven.

No 911 review is complete without talking about the flat-6 engine. Thanks to the 991-generation’s switchover to full turbo-charging across the Carrera line-up, the T’s torque band stretches most of the rev range, with a whoosh of boost accompanying the still scintillating flat-six wail. And because there’s less sound deadening, you’ll hear more of it, too! It is stated that you can get from zero to 100 km/h in a mere 4.5 seconds. Judging by the feel of the brakes, I would also guess that you would come from 100 to zero in less than 4.5 seconds! And if you are an engine-head, and want to have a peek at the engine… you cant; because when you open the tiny engine lid all you see is the radiator cap, oil filler cap and a couple of small fans. Only the service man gets to see the beautiful flat-six when he removes virtually all the rear panels including the tail lights and all!

But I promise… there will be a constant smile on your face when driving the 911 Carrera T.

 

LIKES

Great Steering

Brilliant 7 Speed Manual

Howling Flat 6

Civilized Predictable Drive

 

DISLIKES

Fact that I can’t afford one

 

OWNERS’ VIEW

My fascination for Porsche’s iconic car, the 911; started at a very young age. Hit TV series such as Falcons Crest and Dallas aired during the mid-80s showed many exotic automobiles such as Ferraris, Corvettes, Mercedes SLs  and Lamborghinis which were fascinating to watch. But nothing caught my eye as the 911s (930s & SCs) at that time. Targas were the most popular back then.

Being a kid growing in the 80s/early 90s there were not many exotic automobiles on Colombo roads. So a room-full of car posters were the only form of imagination. My favorite poster being the white Porsche 959 albeit next to the Samantha Fox poster! Growing up in the 80s… life was simpler.

My Love for the Porsche 911s got a major rejuvenation when IWS holdings announced the Porsche marque arriving in Sri Lanka circa 1998. The launch displayed a last gen 993 red Cabriolet and a yellow Targa, and the then all new Boxster range at the Hotel Lanka Oberoi (Now Cinnamon Grand).  Seeing the 911s in the flesh was like doubtful Thomas seeing Jesus. Seeing is believing! It’s perfect proportions (smaller than a current 718 Cayman / Boxster) , up-right nose touching windscreen driving position, wide instrument cluster and most of all the low grunt of the air-cooled flat six hemispherical engine - inside the hotel premises - roaring still resonates inside my head to this date. Seeing these 2 cars on our SL roads to date brings a smile to my face.

It was on that day I promised myself - I will own a 911. All or Nothing! 

Finally after many moons had passed (240+ to be precise) my ideal 911 was available to order. Lightweight, with all the necessary dynamic goodies like sport suspension, sports exhaust, mechanical LSD, close ratio gearbox, rear axle steering, all included  and most of all; in MANUAL transmission! A true driver’s delight, plus being practical with rear seating (small but occasionally useful). That is the 911 Carrera T. PERFECT for me. 

Also being a tail-end car for the 991.2 generation, it was perfected and reliable as a 911 can be. Yes, water-cooled and turbo charged now; but 911s have always been an evolutionary car. 56 years of evolution to be precise. 

The order to delivery wait of 6+ months was the most anxiety I felt in my life. The local Porsche agent Euro Cars’ sales team did their utmost in securing an allocation slot for Sri Lanka in a timely manner.  With the car finally being delivered in August 2018; my dream of owning and driving a 911 came true.

Thereafter started the early morning daybreak drives on Sri Lanka’s fine B roads with a few like-minded petrol heads. With highway connectivity directly to these B roads owning and driving a 911 has been a great motoring experience for me. If anyone says that Sri Lanka does not have great roads to drive nice cars they are truly oblivious of their surroundings.

Kishan Perera

 

 

 

Porsche 911 Carrera T

Quick Specs

Engine                             Twin Turbo 3.0L Flat 6 mounted in rear

Drivetrain                        Rear Wheel Drive

Passenger Capacity      4 (with a bit of luck). Ideally 2

Body Style                      2 door

Transmission                 7-Speed Manual incl. dual mass flywheel and self-adjusting dual-disk clutch

Brakes                            4 Wheel Disc

Steering                          Power Rack-Pinion.

Tyres                                Front P245/35YR20. Rear P305/30YR20

Suspension                    Front – Strut. Rear - Multi-Link

Safety                             Air Bags – 4 / Daytime Running Lights / Traction Control / Electronic Stability Control with Rear Steering / ABS and Driveline Traction Control / Side Impact Beams