The lack of manual transmissions in the car market today has been the focus of many car nerds’ unbearable lamentations (me included) over the past decade or so. Everyone talks about how badly they want them (me included) but then don’t buy one (also me). However, Porsche just released some sales figures on the newest generation of Porsche 911 GT3 sales, and 70 percent of all sales were manual cars.
Does the Porsche 911 GT3 come in manual?
Not only does it, but it is also the overwhelmingly popular choice for the track-ready sports car. Of all the latest generation GT3s globally, only 30 percent are three-pedal cars, but here in the states, that number is reversed. 70 percent of Porsche 911 GT3 buyers chose the three-pedal option even though it comes at a premium. Oddly, the Porsche 911 GT3 comes standard with a seven-speed, automatic gearbox, a weird choice that will continue for the newly announced 2022 GT3.
Even Porsche spokesperson Luke Vandezande was shocked by the sales figures. In a conversation with Hannah Elliott at Bloomberg, he said that these sales numbers “are illustrating exactly how meaningful the connection to the car associated with a manual gearbox is.”
Compared to the rest of the world, the U.S. is clearly stoked on the manual. This is interesting because the global car market has far more manual cars than ours does. In Europe and Asia, the “standard shift” is still actually standard.
There is an upside to getting the automatic Porsche
Many “purists” prefer driving manual because it is romantic, it adds an extra element to driving, it’s really easy to rev up your loud car… oh is that last one just me? Seriously, there are also some driving advantages in sport-driving scenarios for those drivers who have the skills. Total control of shifting and revs can be a huge advantage for some people. And, most importantly, there is a subjective “betterness” that will never be overcome.
All that being said, there are some objective advantages to Porsche’s Doppelkupplung (PDK) dual-clutch gearbox. For one, it is easier. There are fewer things to think about while ripping a race track up, like Christmas morning paper. The lack of steps is not only mentally less cumbersome, but it is also literally faster. The gear changes happen much fast than in true manual cars, making the 0-60 mph sprint a mere 3.2 seconds. Porsche hasn’t released an official 0-60 mph time for a manual 911 GT3, but it is, without question, slower.
Yes, but does faster mean better?
Nope. The only folks who can actually take advantage of the milliseconds’ difference in gear changes are professional cup car racers, and we are not them. It is clear that most enthusiasts simply prefer driving manual cars. Many dream cars tend to have three pedals, and Porsche is reaping the benefits of that reality.
If we buy them, more will come.