In “things I have a hard time believing because Porsche fans would riot,” a Porsche engineer told Edmunds that it’s hard to make a business case for offering the next 911 with a manual transmission. I don’t know, man. See this vat of tar and that bucket of feathers over there? There’s your business case.
Thomas Brandl, the engineer responsible for the new 911's engine range, was speaking on the current 991-generation’s facelift. He had this to say on whether the next generation will continue to offer three pedals:
As long as the gearbox exists, we will use it. but it would be very difficult to justify the investment needed to develop a new gearbox when little more than 10 percent of buyers choose it.
From any other automaker, sure. This would be lame as it always is, but totally believable. That 10 percent of Porsche owners, however, seems to revel in the fact that Porsche still builds fun cars with three pedals—more so than any other group I know.
“Porsche actually cares about the driving experience!” says one card-carrying Porschephile to the next. “Porsche doesn’t cater to poseurs like those watered-down new BMWs or all those goofy supercars made for hard parking. We actually drive our cars!” [Source: Every Porsche Club of America gathering, ever.]
It’s a point of pride—one that was shattered a bit by the lack of a manual 991-generation GT3 and GT3 RS, but redeemed somewhat by the rise of high-end restomods like the Singer 911s and ever-increasing values for the last manual generations of the GT3 and GT3 RS. We want the stick. We need the stick. There’s an angry, passionate contingent of owners who simply won’t upgrade to a new model if there is no stick.
Porsche, after all, had to put its foot so hard into its mouth that it was kicking its own rectum by releasing the manual-transmission-only 911 R and announcing a manual option on the way for the GT3 shortly thereafter. Specifically, GT3 program head Andreas Preuninger poo-pooed the manual in the build-up for the current 991-gen GT3, but later had to admit that everyone loved the manual GT3 test car. Finally, it feels like Porsche is listening to its most faithful group of buyers again.
Ten percent of buyers doesn’t sound like much, but when that 10 percent is your most vocal, rabid group of on-the-ground brand ambassadors, you better listen to that 10 percent.
So, it’s purely anecdotal, but color me skeptical that they’d toss all of that recent goodwill down the toilet with a two-pedal-only 911. Very skeptical. I’ll believe it when I see it, and then I’ll immediately start chipping in for additional pitchforks and torches.
As Edmunds notes, the next 911 will likely keep the same 3.0-liter turbo engines that were just developed for the facelifted 991.2 cars. It seems highly unlikely that Porsche wouldn’t use a manual that’s already been developed to work with an engine that should stick around until about 2025.
Brandl’s comment to Edmunds that customers “continue to want the experience of driving a manual 911,” but that the flappy-paddle PDK gearbox has “considerable advantages in terms of efficiency” feels like a direct flashback to Preuninger’s early comments on the 991 GT3. Let’s not revisit this entirely, though. Porsche, if you’re considering a two-pedal-only 911: don’t!