Rowing your own gears is an artwork that takes years to gain a firm grasp of and many people never truly master it. Heel-to-toe downshifting, which is essentially the replacement for “double clutching” in older transmissions, allows you to match the engine speed to the transmission speed on the downshift. This speed matching helps eliminate embarrassing and lap-time-killing bucking as the synchros attempt to match up the speed of the engine and transmission. On top of that, it can also help extend the life of the synchros.
In most cars, heel-to-toe shifting takes careful placement of your right foot, so you can press the brake pedal and still tap the throttle lightly to increase the engine speed just before releasing the clutch. This takes loads of practice to master, if you can ever master it. If executed perfectly, your car eases into the downshift more smoothly and accelerates out of it much quicker.
Well, Porsche is now making this heel-to-toe shifting almost autonomous on several of its vehicles. We already learned that the Sports Chrono package on the 2013 Carrera 4 and 4S will boast this feature, but now reports are saying that this system will also come to the Boxster and Cayman lineups.
On the downside, you cannot fine-tune this system to meet your driving styles, like you can on the Nissan 370Z, as Porsche assumes its engineers are good enough to develop this system to cover just about any driver. Given all of their past ventures, we don’t doubt their ability one bit.
With this new addition, the Porsche lineup is showing that it is dead set on allowing its drivers to have maximum fun with minimal effort.