From £75,07410
Tuned Carrera T delivers sharper, more communicative steering, ramped-up agility and enormous straight-line performance

Our Verdict

Porsche 911

Does Porsche's decision to introduce turbochargers across the 911 range damage its heritage? Or is the foundations of a new era for the supercar you can use everyday?

5 October 2018

What is it?

Faster, sharper and more exciting than the base-model Carrera it's derived from, the Porsche 911 Carrera T is one of the best new sports cars of 2018.

But like most cars, it has been designed and engineered to slot into a model hierarchy.

That means there is potential within the Carrera T that Porsche has consciously left untapped. At least, that’s the way Iain Litchfield, founder of performance car tuning specialist Litchfield Motors, views it.

His reimagining of the Carrera T isn’t a total reworking, but instead a fine-tuning exercise. Litchfield calls its OEM+. He’s quick to point out the Carrera T is already a very competent car, but he reckons he and his team have made it better still with some choice upgrades.

The Carrera T sits 20mm closer to the road than the standard Carrera, but Litchfield’s chassis upgrades drop it by that much again at the front, while the rear sits down by 10mm, on slightly stiffer springs all round. This gives the car a more purposeful, hunkered-down look when stationary and introduces a little more rake, which should enhance the car’s turn-in once on the move. The lowering springs are by KW and work alongside the Porsche Suspension Management switchable dampers.

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Litchfield benchmarked a current 911 GT3 for steering feel, and so its upgrades for the Carrera T include revised front suspension geometry. A set of four wheel spacers help fill the out wheel arches and top off a subtle but well-considered set of revisions.

Litchfield’s engine upgrades aren’t quite so subtle. Actually, the upgrades amount only to new engine management software and a much freer-flowing exhaust system (with either an Akrapovič rear silencer or a Remus item), but the results are emphatic: power is up from 365bhp to 480bhp, while torque climbs from 332lb ft to 450lb ft.

What's it like?

With optional carbonfibre fixed-back sports seats, as fitted to this test car, the Carrera T feels a very different animal to the stock Carrera. The thinner rear glass, deleted rear seats, fabric door pulls and smaller, Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel help make it feel so much more purposeful than the entry-level model – to the point, in fact, that you’d swear you were sitting in a GT3.

Although the KW springs are stiffer by around 20% at the front and 10% at the rear, the car’s ride quality has been more or less unaffected, and the brilliantly judged damping that makes the factory-spec Carrera T work so well on our bumpy roads is carried over intact. Even on a really tricky section of B-road, the car’s suspension is pliant, absorbing bumps rather than being kicked about by them, while the body is so well tied down that you simply never feel it get light or out of phase with the wheels. It feels like witchcraft.

The steering is more impressive still. It's so pure, crisp and responsive, and the wheel fidgets so subtly but tellingly in your fingertips that it feels as though the car’s electrically assisted steering rack has been swapped out for a hydraulic one. Until there is some great breakthrough in the technology, electric steering gets no better than this.

Fitted with a short-shift kit and ever so slightly shorter ratios than the Carrera, the Carrera T’s manual gearshift is among the very best and most satisfying out there. The automatic throttle blip, which can be switched off, is very good, too. The factory also fits a mechanical limited-slip differential, which improves traction on slippery surfaces - on a dry surface, the 911’s traction can only be improved by fitting four-wheel drive - and makes the car playful and throttle-adjustable at lower speeds.

To all of that, Litchfield simply adds more power. The car is astonishingly quick in a straight line, pulling with a real muscularity from a little under 2000rpm that becomes a forceful surge at 4000rpm and a frantic, unrelenting slingshot towards the horizon over the final 3000rpm. It is violently fast – quick enough, surely, to keep the more powerful but heavier 911 Turbo honest on the road.

Improved in every way by Litchfield’s upgrades, this is undoubtedly one of the best turbocharged performance engines you’ll find anywhere. Pulling hard all the way to the redline at 7500rpm, it has an enormous 5700rpm usable rev band, and with so much torque throughout the sweep of the rev counter needle, it pulls fifth or sixth gear from medium speeds with real urgency.

The Carrera T uses smaller turbochargers than the Carrera S and Carrera GTS, and even when they’re helping to produce 480bhp, they spool up incredibly quickly. In the first half of the rev range, turbo lag is fractional, but it's entirely absent in the latter half.

Should I buy one?

If you have a Carrera T and want more power and sharper handling, send it to Litchfield. If you want one of the most rewarding and engaging sub-£100,000 sports cars on sale today, buy a Carrera T and send it to Litchfield. It’s that good.

On top of the Carrera T’s £85,556 list price, the Litchfield upgrade package costs £10,339 (including fitting but not VAT). Specifying a Remus rear silencer rather than the Akrapovič one brings that down to £7832. Alone, the chassis upgrades cost £1703, while the powertrain upgrades cost £5604 with the Remus exhaust and £8111 with the Akrapovič.

Any sort of drivetrain modification will void a manufacturer warranty, but Litchfield points out that he’ll guarantee his own work and says that in all the years he’s been selling tuning upgrades, he’s yet to see a customer’s engine fail.

Litchfield Porsche 911 Carrera T specification

Tested Gloucestershire, UK Price £85,556 plus £10,339 On sale tbc Engine 2981cc, flat-six, twin-turbocharged petrol Power 480bhp at 6550rpm Torque 450lb ft at 3695rpm Gearbox Seven-speed manual Kerb weight 1500kg Top speed 190mph (est) 0-62mph 4.0sec (est) Fuel economy na CO2 na Rivals Porsche 911 GTS, Audi R8 V10

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Comments
18

5 October 2018

Bravo Litchfield but who’s gonna fancy arguing the toss about the ‘grey areas’ when the ‘Porsche side’ goes a little bit wrong but Mr Litchfield says (I’m sure quite rightly) that his stuff is all good ? Zuffenhausen ( in my view ‘correctly’) don’t like people messing with their set-ups without permission.

I’d consider the suspension but getting rid of the OEM cats and fiddling with the ECU ? You are either brave with deep pockets or a fool who’s never antagonised Zuffenhausen. Caveat emptor, I suggest... no matter how temptingly excellent Ian Litchfield’s work undoubtedly is.

BertoniBertone

5 October 2018
BertoniBertone wrote:

Bravo Litchfield but who’s gonna fancy arguing the toss about the ‘grey areas’ when the ‘Porsche side’ goes a little bit wrong but Mr Litchfield says (I’m sure quite rightly) that his stuff is all good ? Zuffenhausen ( in my view ‘correctly’) don’t like people messing with their set-ups without permission.

I’d consider the suspension but getting rid of the OEM cats and fiddling with the ECU ? You are either brave with deep pockets or a fool who’s never antagonised Zuffenhausen. Caveat emptor, I suggest... no matter how temptingly excellent Ian Litchfield’s work undoubtedly is.

Grey area since MOT changes were applied in May. Could be a failure if there is no CAT present

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

FMS

6 October 2018
xxxx wrote:

BertoniBertone wrote:

Bravo Litchfield but who’s gonna fancy arguing the toss about the ‘grey areas’ when the ‘Porsche side’ goes a little bit wrong but Mr Litchfield says (I’m sure quite rightly) that his stuff is all good ? Zuffenhausen ( in my view ‘correctly’) don’t like people messing with their set-ups without permission.

I’d consider the suspension but getting rid of the OEM cats and fiddling with the ECU ? You are either brave with deep pockets or a fool who’s never antagonised Zuffenhausen. Caveat emptor, I suggest... no matter how temptingly excellent Ian Litchfield’s work undoubtedly is.

Grey area since MOT changes were applied in May. Could be a failure if there is no CAT present

 

What an idiot...no wait...you are RIGHT!. Litchfield is daft enough to spend £££ on R&D, then release this option pack to unsuspecting owners, only for his company to trash their hard won rep, come MOT time. Massive TwIT

5 October 2018

Delightful. But to really make sense it needs the rear seats. This gives it a real point of differentiation with the GT3. Might as well bring the kids along for the ride...

5 October 2018
£2,500 for a silencer!

5 October 2018

 For the money I’m sure you could have one two year old Turbo with Cats, and back seats too!?

Peter Cavellini.

5 October 2018
Makes my wrist ache just thinking about it. Two gears too many with all that torque.

5 October 2018

So you spend your £90k on a spot on Porsche,then chuck another £10k so you can invalidate the warranty to make a car that is impossible to use it,s full potential in standard form, faster ?. What the hell is the point,obviously if you have more money than sence then brilliant.

If you really must do this sort of thing then use a Q car. We already know the Carrera T is dam fast,what is the bloody point !!!!

7 October 2018
perpmick wrote:

So you spend your £90k on a spot on Porsche,then chuck another £10k so you can invalidate the warranty to make a car that is impossible to use it,s full potential in standard form, faster ?. What the hell is the point,obviously if you have more money than sence then brilliant.

If you really must do this sort of thing then use a Q car. We already know the Carrera T is dam fast,what is the bloody point !!!!

How about those 1200hp GTRs that do 0-200kmh in 6sec?

Some people just want to have straight-line-fast cars. 

I used to be one of these guys, tuned everything I had. Nowadays I know I will not tune anything anymore ever again, like you said, with the current level of machinery there is no point tuning as one cannot use what is there already.

Most, if not all, 911s are already overpowered for the roads and the skills of the buyers, only in straight line can they "unleash" the power, "unliashing" involving holding the steering wheel and pressing the gas pedal, letting the systems sort is all out. For me this has become boring, everyone is fast in a straight line, no skill required.

I switched to bikes and stick to corners (=avoid riding highways) because that is where I can work on my own skills and that is satisfying, and one does not even need to go fast to get that satisfaction.

No manual - no fun

5 October 2018

Turbo on a 911 : what a nonsense !

 

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