The 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 has an analog gauge: the tachometer. It’s huge, straight ahead through the steering wheel. And if you spec a GT3 with the six-speed manual transmission, it’s an essential instrument. Indeed, unless you own an older Honda S2000 or some type of Hayabusa-powered Ford Festiva, you’re probably not used to shifting at 9,000 rpm. Shift by ear in the GT3, and you could grab the next gear at 7000 rpm, which is, absurdly, a short shift by a wide margin. So you keep that tachometer in your peripheral vision, and when the yellow lights next to it start flashing, that’s when your left foot goes to the clutch and your right hand to the shifter. At 9,000 rpm, it feels like the 4.0-litre, 502-hp flat-six is trying to outrun the car itself. It looks like the engine of a GT3 Cup car over there. Which, of course, most of all is.
The GT3’s six-speed manual is a different animal from the seven-speed lever of other 911s, tracing its lineage back to the 2016 911 R model. mechanical conversion’ (MECOSA) from Porsche to translate its PDK automatic dual-clutch-derived guts into an H-shift pattern, no such system is needed on the six-speed, which is gloriously easy to slot into the right equipment. It feels somewhat frictionless until the soft crunch of engagement tells you you’ve reached the next cog. Revs rise and fall instantly, as if the 4.0-liter had a fidget spinner for a flywheel. Mundane chores like parallel parking inevitably attract prying eyes, so keep that rev high. Stalling a GT3 is almost as bad as stalling an airplane, in terms of embarrassment, if not consequences.
A manual gearbox suits a machine so deeply devoted to a filterless riding experience. Our $197,935 test car’s limited selection of options were nearly all speed- or performance-related: $10,110 for carbon-ceramic brakes, $5,900 for fixed-back carbon bucket seats , $230 for the 23.7-gallon extended-range fuel tank that should perhaps be standard, given the GT3 guzzles fuel like a four-wheel-drive Chevy Tahoe (16 mpg combined, according to the EPA) . The GT3’s $164,150 base price includes a single cupholder, positioned directly in front of the shifter. Do not use the cup holder.
In the GT3’s Normal drive mode, you can try to match the downshifts yourself. In Sport and Track modes, the car does it for you. Reverse is up and to the left of first gear, and its trigger—pressing the shifter—isn’t exactly a seven-foot-tall bouncer with brass knuckles. Tip: If you think you’re in first gear but the rear view camera is on, it’s best to check your work before letting go of the clutch.
Key in a perfect launch and the six-speed GT3 will hit 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and cover the quarter mile in 11.5 seconds at 124 mph. Those are big numbers, but far behind the automatic car’s 2.7-second dash at 60 and its 10.9-second quarter-mile sprint at 129 mph. The manual GT3 weighs a little less than the PDK car (3199 pounds versus 3222 pounds) and manages to improve the grip of the automatic model’s pads (1.16g versus 1.11g). But there’s a reason Porsche sent a GT3 automatic to represent the car at our Lightning Lap event: the dual-clutch gearbox allows for quicker lap times. By choosing the manual transmission, you deliberately give up performance. And why would you do that?
Well, because you can spare a split second here or there in the name of glorious mechanical involvement. And because, with a manual gearbox, this car draws a straight line to the first 911s, except it’s so much better. Plus, there’s the snobby appeal. The GT3 is its own exclusive club, and the manual GT3 is the demarcated VIP area inside this party. No installer allowed. It’s like the GT3 versus 911 Turbo debate distilled to an intra-GT3 rivalry. Do you favor raw emotion or raw speed? While the manual option costs zero, it should be a statement credit. But it’s an accounting oversight we can put up with, especially when the GT3 looks like a bargain.
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