I have not had the opportunity to drive the newest iteration of Porsche’s 911 GT3. I probably won’t until somebody I know buys one. But I have driven the 991 Carrera S with the 7-speed manual transmission, and plainly put, it’s a crappy gearbox, the polar opposite of the enjoyable unit in the 997. The shifter feels balky and soft, the clutch is heavy and feels oversprung. It is the furthest thing from enjoyable. Purist tendencies be damned, I would get a PDK 911 in a heartbeat rather than dealing with the awkward, artificial stick shift. Apparently I’m not alone.
Canadian outlet AutoFocus spoke to Andreas Preuninger, the man in charge of the 911 GT3 since day one. Addressing the inevitable complains about the GT3’s switch to PDK-only, Preuninger politely proclaims what many of us are thinking; the people doing the complaining are never going to drive, much less own one.
Q: Here’s the question you’re getting a lot: Why PDK only and no manual transmission?
A: The PDK that is so discussed so much—‘Why! How can you do this! Holy Manual and skip it overboard’—I say it’s a shut up and drive.
It’s a crucial period now, people complain, forming strong opinions about something they can’t judge because they didn’t have any opportunity to drive it and judge it realistically. But that will pass as soon as the first journalists come back with their feedback—and I know exactly what this feedback is going to be like.
I experience it too often. With every new RS: ‘Oh no! This colour scheme; Oh no! These decals; How can they do this; Blah blah bloop.’ And everybody bought it nevertheless and is happy.
What this also leaves out is a stark fact that many do not like to admit. Just because it’s a manual gearbox does not automatically (no pun intended) make it superior to the two-pedal option. There are cars where the automatic is the better choice. Mazda’s Skyactiv cars spring to mind. I fear that Porsche is next on that list.