For years when a car said it had a manual transmission this meant three pedals and a stick you have to shift yourself. With the advances in technology on cars, the stick has basically gone away as has the third pedal. Both have been replaced by a pair of paddle shifters on the steering wheel or the shifter knob that simply turn an automatic into a car we feel allows us to do some of the shifting once again.
There are some actual manual transmissions out there, just not from Porsche. One of the benefits of a real manual tranny is the weight reduction. Having an automatic onboard increases the overall weight of a vehicle by a few hundred pounds in order to house all the necessary components. When a manual transmission is on a vehicle part of the components is the driver themselves, making for a complete and symbiotic relationship with man and machine, which is really what many of us older drivers want so we can feel like we are part of the equation once again.
The problem with putting a real manual back in a Porsche is the speed and smoothness with which their automatics perform. The transmissions on the Porsche lineup are so finely tuned they can pull better numbers across the board than any human shifting machine can. This nearly makes the driver obsolete if it wasn’t for that darn steering wheel we probably would be. Even though Porsche has some of the best developed transmissions on the market, the word is out that there may be a new player in the 911 lineup that will have an honest to God three pedal, stick in the floor, manual transmission.
This new 911 is expected to be the 911 GT and be a low base model (as if there is such a thing) and sport the narrow body style and a true manual gearbox. This is a response to the clamoring for it from so many that have loved the Porsche 911 for so long who now want to enjoy the fun of having a car they can change the gears in themselves and enjoy the feeling of driving they grew up with. So many drivers today have no real idea how to handle a true manual transmission and some of them even have odd gear changes, but the expectation from Porsche is a top notch sporty slick stick with short throws and the fun of being part of the action once again.
Even though Porsche will certainly not bring back the engagement we used to enjoy, which was a car without the computerization, we can all wait and hope this new 911 GT will be exactly what we want it to be, a great sports car that makes using a manual transmission fun, enticing, engaging and for many of us older drivers, gives us the feeling of driving we felt so many years ago.