Oh bless you, Porsche.
BMW. Audi. Mercedes-Benz. All three German automakers have, more or less, committed themselves to the dual-clutch transmission. In a nutshell, they’d prefer to ditch manual transmissions all together in order to save on development costs. The only reason they haven’t done so already is because of manual gearbox enthusiasts. But what about Porsche? After all, this is the German brand that's been a true dual-clutch technology pioneer for many years.
Speaking to Car and Driver at Detroit earlier this month, Erhard Mossle, Porsche’s engineering boss for the likes of the 911 Turbo, Carrera 4, and Targa, enthusiastically confirmed that manual-equipped 911s aren’t going anywhere. “It’s a unique selling proposition for Porsche to have a manual in the 911 range, and I think we will fight for that as long as possible. Even if it’s only 10 percent of the market, it’s important for some customers and for some markets, especially the US, to have that kind of gearbox.” Finally. An executive who gets it. This is especially great news considering that some 85 percent of 911 global production is with PDK (i.e. dual-clutch) gearboxes.
“What we learned from the last two years with the Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder is that it’s not only a discussion of lap times, but also of emotion, of being fun to drive,” Mossle continued. “Even if the car is not the fastest, it is fun to drive with a manual. Of course the PDK is faster, but a lot of customers want to change gear by themselves.”