American 911 GT3 buyers really want manuals
The manual transmission may be slowly dying, but Porsche buyers have something to say about it before the third pedal vanishes entirely. According to a recent report from Bloomberg, American buyers of the 911 GT3 are choosing the optional six-speed manual transmission seven times out of ten. That 70-percent take rate here in the U.S. is more than twice the global take rate, which lies at 30 percent.
The 911 GT3 offers perhaps the most distilled, driver-focused experience within the complex hierarchy of Porsche’s beloved sports car. There’s no all-wheel drive trickery to help blast you out of a corner or away from a stoplight, no turbochargers to help catapult you down the tarmac. It’s just you, four liters of naturally aspirated fury, and two driven wheels aft of your keister. Naturally, this pared-down driving experience is the perfect match for a manual gearbox. When Porsche announced the 2022 911 GT3 last month, we were thrilled to see that this 992-generation car would continue to celebrate the joy of driving, so we’d expect roughly the same 70 percent take rate on manuals for the new car as well.
Once high-tech automatics proved both faster and more fuel-friendly than manual gearboxes, the third pedal became a lot more difficult to justify. It’s fair to say that Porsche’s own PDK is probably the biggest culprit that helped urge along this transition, but the engagement that a manual gearbox delivers is something totally different from pure speed and cold efficiency. Here at Hagerty, we believe in the virtues of the manual so much that we run a program that teaches younger drivers how to operate one using classic cars.
Of course, the Porsche 911 represents a small but vocal segment of the car community. It’s an expensive machine no matter how you slice it; we don’t expect the average Joe to save the manual by throwing down well north of six figures on a GT3, but there’s real value in a company like Porsche proving that customers who love driving will shell out for the option to row their own gears. The forthcoming Subaru BRZ will surely offer a stick, and some other great cars like the Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger, Honda Civic Si/Type R, and Hyundai Veloster N still proudly sport manual gearboxes.
If you already own a manual-equipped car, how about simply sharing the experience with your friends? Teaching them the skill to fully engage with a car helps spread the enjoyment of driving. And if they win the lottery, maybe they’ll give you a few laps behind the wheel of their stick-shifted 911 GT3.