Look, most of us are going to be pretty happy with Porsche’s twin-clutch PDK. Smooth in traffic after a long day in the office, but lightning fast up and down the cogs in manual mode on a nice road come the weekend, it does offer the best of both worlds. And yet, there’s still something undeniably special about having a pedal for the clutch and a lever to choose your own ratio.
Porsche, of course, still offers manual in many of its sports cars and in the newly turbocharged 911 Carrera it’s a happier marriage than with the old atmo flat-six. See, the tall gears – third is good for 50km/h all the way to 180km/h – made it hard to properly exploit all the previous engine’s performance (and noise) stashed at the top of the tacho.
Now, though, the glut of turbo torque smack-bang from 2000rpm to 7500rpm, means those taller gears aren’t quite so much an issue, letting you surf the mid-range muscle and use more of the engine’s performance.
Unfortunately, in some modes the engine will automatically blip itself on downchanges, robbing you of your chance to practice your heel-toe – but making you look like a driving god to your mates – and we wish one of the many blank console buttons was to turn this off.
But otherwise everything else about this manual sports car is pretty bang-on: a nice shift knob, a near-perfect driving position, a delightful-to-use clutch, and a nicely-judged shift through the gates.
Sure, you’ll be 0.4sec slower to 100km/h than the bloke with the same car in PDK, but who’s going to have the bigger grin on the back streets home? Exactly. And you’ll be saving $5950 in the process.