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

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.

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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.

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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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Join the debate

Comments
18
Add a comment…
eseaton 6 October 2018

It may or may not be nicer

It may or may not be nicer than the standard T. But the problem is that it is turbo charged, and that cocks it up beyond redemtion. For the same money, give me a 997 any day.

Also, why is the answer always always always proclaimed to be lower and stiffer? And why does Autocar go along with this fallacy?

NoPasaran 7 October 2018

eseaton wrote:

eseaton wrote:

It may or may not be nicer than the standard T. But the problem is that it is turbo charged, and that cocks it up beyond redemtion. For the same money, give me a 997 any day. Also, why is the answer always always always proclaimed to be lower and stiffer? And why does Autocar go along with this fallacy?

997 is a bit of an animal though, compared to newer models. My 997T with a little tune can be quite scary, even with PSM on it can be very tail-happy very quickly, can catch you out, even though mine has upgraded suspension, more agressive wheel alignment and wider tires front and back. 

NoPasaran 7 October 2018

eseaton wrote:

eseaton wrote:

It may or may not be nicer than the standard T. But the problem is that it is turbo charged, and that cocks it up beyond redemtion. For the same money, give me a 997 any day. Also, why is the answer always always always proclaimed to be lower and stiffer? And why does Autocar go along with this fallacy?

997 is a bit of an animal though, compared to newer models. My 997T with a little tune can be quite scary, even with PSM on it can be very tail-happy very quickly, can catch you out, even though mine has upgraded suspension, more agressive wheel alignment and wider tires front and back. 

scrap 6 October 2018

Presumably, Litchfield could

Presumably, Litchfield could do this to a three year old Carrera too? Now you are talking... no warranty issues to worry about and you could elevate a base 911 to hero status for £10k.

Boris9119 6 October 2018

Not really scrap,

Not really scrap,

Presumably, Litchfield could do this to a three year old Carrera too? Now you are talking... no warranty issues to worry about and you could elevate a base 911 to hero status for £10k.

I get the point you are making, but this is a turbo unit, not available 3yrs ago on the base Carrera, but yes they could in say 12-18 months. Even so there are many, many small and not so small differences that distinguish a "T" from a regular Carrera. When all is said and done, surely the travesty is that Porsche deliberately plans and chooses not to build enough GT3's to satisfy the market?

Boris9119 6 October 2018

Great Car, Makes No Sense

Have to agree with the former posts. Pay MSRP for a Carrera "T" and then throw 10k at it and invalidate your nice 4yr warranty? Like many I got shafted on the GT3 wait list (3rd time), got offered two build slots, both 20k over MSRP, told them where to go. So I look at this as an alternative but it just does not make sense. Kudos to Litchfield for calling Porsche out on the "T", their power outputs and mods are precisely what the "T" should have from the factory. As soon as the "T" was launched based on the non Carrera 'S' engine you knew it was wrong. Oh, and here in the US, used Carrera "T" with delivery miles offered for 15k below MSRP on Porsche official website!! Says a lot?

NoPasaran 7 October 2018

I know what you mean

Boris9119 wrote:

Have to agree with the former posts. Pay MSRP for a Carrera "T" and then throw 10k at it and invalidate your nice 4yr warranty? Like many I got shafted on the GT3 wait list (3rd time), got offered two build slots, both 20k over MSRP, told them where to go. ...

It's a shame that Porsche condones that kind of behaviour, real disgrace in fact.