Considering the fact that it’s 2019, and almost every mainstream sports car and literally every supercar has abolished the manual transmission, I’d say Porsche is doing pretty good with its efforts to “save the manuals.” As of this writing, there are only 4 Porsches (excluding non-sports cars) that don’t come offered with a manual transmission. It just so happens that these 4 models are arguably the best models Porsche has to offer. I’m talking about the 911 Turbo, Turbo S, GT3RS, and GT2RS. So what do you guys think, should these cars come with a manual option? If so, which one, and to what extent?
The Case for the Turbos
Since 1975, the Porsche 911 Turbo has served as the pinnacle of Porsche technology and performance. With its high tech engine, sophisticated all wheel drive system, race tuned suspension, and everyday drivability, the 911 Turbo has evolved into one of the best supercars money can buy.
The last 911 Turbo to be offered with a manual was the 997.2 911 Turbo (the Turbo S was PDK only). The likely reason why Porsche stopped offering the manual on the 911 Turbo was because of the very nature of the car. As fast as it was, the 911 Turbo was aimed to be more of a nice, comfortable, GT car rather than an all out track monster (that’s why we have the GT3). On top of this, the 911 Turbo was also meant to showcase the best Porsche had to offer, hence, all the tech and the turbos.
It was in the 997.2 generation, where Porsche had finally come up with a faster transmission than its old 6 speed. Before the PDK, Porsche used its sluggish Tiptronic transmissions as the automatic options for its sports cars, the 911 Turbo included. The Tiptronic was literally just a torque converter automatic that let you choose gears easier (it’s no wonder resale prices for Tiptronics are so low), and it was slower and heavier than the manual. Keep in mind that when I say the Turbo had a manual transmission, it was not nearly as raw and driver focused as a GT3’s transmission. It was nice, comfy, smooth, and had a very light clutch. So when Porsche finally developed the PDK, it only made sense to replace the 6 speed which was slower, and less comfortable than it. Porsche’s advanced, superfast flagship could only come with the fastest and most advanced transmission, that was just the way of things.
Despite all this, I still think a manual could do the 911 Turbo way more good than harm, hear me out. The biggest problem with today’s 911 Turbo is that it’s come so far in terms of performance and ease of use, it’s gotten rather boring a dull to drive compared to its competition. The engine note is very muffled compared to say, a GT3, it’s steering is really good, but still a bit dull, and it’s gotten heavier and heavier with every generation. In theory, it’s the perfect GT car, but I strongly feel that if it had a manual option, it would be more engaging and more fun to drive like the Turbos of old. You’d be surprised how much a manual can change a car.
The Case for the RS Models
As much as I love manuals, and as important as I think they are, there is no denying that a dual clutch is faster. In every way shape and form, a car with a dual clutch transmission is faster than the same car with a manual. This was the reason why Porsche’s RS models don’t come with a third pedal.
Porsche’s last RS cars to get manuals were the 997.2 GT2RS and GT3RS 4.0 (arguably the 2 best 911s ever made might I add). Note that there is some contradiction here. Why would Porsche not offer their newly introduced PDK on their “fastest, no compromise” supercars? My guess was that the PDK was so new, Porsche’s GT division probably did not have enough time to test it and modify it for its cars, it was also a lot heavier than a 6 speed. But by the time the 991 911s had come along, it seemed that Porsche had perfected the PDK because that’s all they had on their RS models.
Forgive me, but I think this actually makes sense to a certain end. Porsche’s RS cars, are meant to be the fastest track cars in the world. Performance comes before anything else with these cars; if you don’t believe me, just sit in one and you’ll know. And as I said before, in the performance world, a dual clutch is superior. But I don’t think it should end there.
If you ask me, I think that the GT3RS should come with a manual, but the GT2 RS shouldn’t. I say this becuase the GT3RS is a bit more driver friendly than a GT2RS per say. The 2RS is more hardcore, more track focused I feel, hence the no nonsense turbo engine. It’s angrier, it’s tougher, it’s more of a racecar. So if you want an extreme track monster, buy a GT2RS with a PDK, but if you want to go to the track and focus more on having fun, a GT3RS with a manual would be hard to beat.
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