Porsche's 911 T is lighter, sharper and louder than the Carrera, but it is much costlier
Porsche 911 T: T for top-notch The Porsche 911 T has a century sprint of 4.2 seconds, which is quicker than a similarly equipped 911 Carrera or a manual T. ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR

Hopping into a Porsche 911 after just about any car is like replacing a butter knife with a steak knife halfway through a slab of fillet mignon.

Life suddenly becomes a lot easier and your senses become keener. Colours are brighter, the air is crisper and you can chew the fat without working up a sweat.

The new 911 T is no different. The moment you slip into its hip-hugging seat, the car wraps itself around you. Its laser-sharp, lag-free steering is tuned to deliver taut responses few can match.

Even if the car had a weedy engine, a steering as sweet as the 911's would make life bearable.

But no, the T has a 370hp juicer, which makes 450Nm of shove from 1,700rpm. Paired with a dual-clutch seven-speeder, it takes the 2+2 to 100kmh in 4.2 seconds (quicker than a similarly equipped 911 Carrera as well as a manual T).

Top speed, often academic here, is 291kmh - slightly lower than the 293kmh rated for the 911 Carrera.

The 911 T is up to 25kg lighter, which is its main selling point. Weight-saving is achieved through things like paring down on noise insulation - which you can attest to each time the car goes over the tiniest bit of grit or when the brakes squeak while reversing - and replacing inside door handles with fabric straps.

The effort translates to very little differences in the world, though. For instance, the Singapore version has rear seats, a full-fledged infotainment system and a dual-clutch transmission. The purist's T does without the first two and has a manual gearbox.

Its superiority in the century sprint aside, the T is similar to its less costly Carrera sibling. A 0-160kmh sprint is completed in 9.2 seconds and in-gear acceleration from 80kmh to 120kmh is delivered in 2.7 seconds (5.5 seconds if in fifth gear). The Carrera matches all these and offers better fuel economy. Which is strange, given its weight penalty.

The numbers do not tell the whole story, though. The T sits lower with sports suspension. It is fitted with 20-inch wheels instead of 19's and wears slightly wider tyres. A sports exhaust is also standard fare.

So, even though there is not much difference in performance figures, the T is tailored for tighter handling characteristics. This is clearly evident at the wheel.

The tailpipe music is a bonus. Automatic throttle blipping on downshifts in Sport and Sport Plus modes is another special feature. Louder and more enveloping than the Carrera's, it just makes the car seem faster. Indeed, in the real world, with its many twists and turns, the T can be faster. Not only against the Carrera, but also against more rarefied racers.

The car is satisfyingly brisk in normal drive mode. In Sport, it spreads its wings and sings. Sport Plus turns it into a fuming beast, best unleashed on very empty stretches.

Whichever mode you choose, the T lavishes you with beautiful handling. It is this handling which makes immense speed more palatable and, at times, less terrifying.

More surprisingly, the ride, while decidedly hard, is relatively easy to live with - thanks to the sports seats.

Clearly, in the T, as in any 911 which is similarly equipped, you can have your steak and eat it too.