Test-driving the new driver-focused 911 Carrera T

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Image: Porsche Singapore

Waqiuddin Rajak
SINGAPORE

“Lighter, toned down and less powerful than any of the latest models of its range.” – This is what the new Porsche 911 Carrera T is supposed to be.

But after a whole-day of test-riding the car on an unfamiliar ground, it felt like the description itself is somehow inaccurate, despite having some truth to it.

In mooting out the 911 Carrera T, Porsche seems to give the idea that it is a downgrade of all other variants of the 911 range; its sporty features stripped, made a bit smaller and engine size reduced.

But being “toned down” doesn’t really mean that it is behind the others when pitched against an actual road.

Like a wolf perfectly fitted into a sheep’s clothing, the car actually speaks a different language from the rest of its crew, and it took us a long ride across Singapore to fully grasp its game.

Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

A lightweight fighter

With its size stripped down, certain parts made out of lighter materials, belt-like door handles and comfier textile-based sports seats, all these pieces seems to direct its craftsmanship more towards the comfort side.

But does amplifying the aspects of comfort in a car come with a compromise in speed and performance? Despite having lesser-powered engine loaded, the new 911 T screams “no”.

It is true that when you compare the engine alone, its 370 horsepower is inferior to its brethrens, which mostly breathe over 400 horsepower on the road. But if you take its size and lightness into factor, the 911 T is more like a nimble ring-fighter, whose advantage is to land spot-on punches to its opponents through tiny-narrow gaps.

Taking the road, the 911 Carrera T handles excellently in swooping in and out of long line of cars, so drivers have less hassle when claiming lanes on a busy road. The size makes it easier for drivers to adjust to the gap in between cars, and with Porsche’s 20-second burst-mode feature retained, the 911 Carrerra T is considerably the best slider car so far, especially for those looking for a lighter, less-hassle cruise around a city.

Speed-handling and comfort

Part of the interior that makes the car feels more of a cockpit Image: Waqiuddin Rajak[/caption]

Singapore has regulations that permit drivers to speed up to 50km/h in city rides, 70km/h in semi-highways and 90km/h in highways. But this doesn’t mean we’re deprived from really testing out its accelerating power – and this too, doesn’t mean we have to break the rules.

One thing that quickly stood out during the drive was how easy it was for the car to triumph against sharp corners, which we were presented with multiple times throughout the test-ride.

And this is also where Porsche’s marksmanship soars.

Making sharp turns and sliding through corners seems like a piece of cake for the 911 Carrera T. At a higher speed, we didn’t even have to move around that much, and we didn’t even have to step onto the brakes. The steering felt rigid, easily controlled and drivers don’t struggle that much to set the car back on track.

It was also worth noting that throughout the sharp turns, there wasn’t even any single drama felt inside the car. As nimble as the car could get, the ride itself remained smooth, we were still comfortably glued to our seats, our sunglasses were still on, and drinks unspilled.

And with the wide selection of infotainment channels and a generous amount of USB and card slots, we especially enjoyed our ride around the suburban areas of the city state.

A surprise for the niche market

The infotainment screen that shows one of the routes we’re supposed to take during the test-ride. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

Bringing back the T out of the 1960s, it’s not wrong to assume that Porsche is actually moving to rejoice the other segment of its auto-market, particularly those that are more inclined towards comfort and driving pleasure. This is especially when the German automaker is also celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

This market segment might be considered small in other parts of the world, but it could be big for Brunei, as evident in having the comfort-amplified Macan and the Cayenne currently and previously the top-selling Porsches in town. And I feel like the lightweight 911 Carrera T could stand well with these heavy-champs.

The 911 Carrera T has the best of both worlds. It might not be as big as the Macan but in no way it is less comfortable. It might not host much power than the other 911s, but in no way it is less powerful.

It is certainly stylish and suitable for a long, therapeutic cruise, that by the end of our test-ride, we feel that it won’t be a surprise to hear how easy it is for the car to quickly be friends with just anyone.

Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

The Bruneian