Next Porsche 911 GT3 Will Once Again Offer Manual Transmission
The auto industry can be a pretty unforgiving place, especially if a company tries to reinvent the wheel when it shouldn’t have to in the first place. For all of Porsche’s engineering brilliance, it’s also had moments when it tries to think too much of what can be without looking in front to see what’s already there. Purists of the Porsche 911 know this all too well after Porsche decided to go with a full automatic transmission on the 911 GT3, considered as the spiritual embodiment of the 911’s celebrated lineage. Fortunately, Porsche itself isn’t above reproach and has recognized the need to bring back the manual transmission on the GT3. Yep, according to Car and Driver, the successor to the current 911 GT3 will be available with an automatic or a manual transmission.
That’s reason to jump for joy for those people who felt short-changed when the 911 GT3 arrived with only one transmission type in tow. It’s easy to understand Porsche’s rationale behind it. The company wanted the 911 GT3 to embrace its track potential and doing so meant that the use of a quick-shifting transmission that can maximize its power and performance capabilities. But, in its quest to make racers and track-day enthusiasts happy, it left out an equally important segment of Porsche customers: those who care more about the emotional connection between them and the car.
As good as the 911 GT3 is on the track (numbers don’t lie: 0 to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds; top speed of 195 mph), a segment of the 911-loving community felt it compromised its spirit in the pursuit of performance. It took a while for Porsche to come to grips with it, but fortunately, it’s finally come to its senses.
In the short term, Porsche is planning a limited edition model called the 911 R that will carry the GT3’s 3.8-liter flat-six engine that delivers 475 horsepower and 324 pound-feet of torque on the nose. More importantly, though, is that it will use a manual transmission. Once the next generation 911 GT3 arrives, it will be offered with both a six-speed manual transmission and a seven-speed PDK transmission, as it should have been from the very beginning.
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Why it matters
It’s nice to see Porsche righting its own wrongs and admitting that it had made a mistake with the Porsche 911 GT3. To be fair, it wasn’t really a mistake so much as it was an ill-timed decision. I understand why it did what it did, since it wanted the 911 GT3 to embrace its track-day capabilities. But in doing so, the 911 GT3 lost a part of itself that connected it to customers who had no intention of driving the car in the track.
Porsche’s mistake was not considering an “either or” proposition with the current 911 GT3. It wouldn’t have lost out on anything if it offered the sports car with an automatic or manual transmission, the same way it does with some of its other models. Fortunately, the German automaker had the smarts, and the sensitivity, to give a segment of its customers what they wanted. With the next-generation 911 GT3 set to come with a manual or automatic transmission, those who prefer either setup can have their cars in the configuration that they want.
Sometimes, appeasing the wishes of its customers, especially those have been loyal to the brand, takes precedence over what the company thinks is what’s best for its brand.
Read more about the Porsche 911 GT3 here.