Alex Kersten 10 years ago

Why We Have To Man Up And Accept That The Manual Gearbox Is Dead

Looks like we've been put on the naughty step with our recent rant...

Remind me later
gt3 1 This week, we brought you news of the mega fast and super hot new Porsche 911 GT3. It'll cost over £100k, will demolish the 62mph marker in 3.5sec (the same figure you'll experience in the 611bhp GT2 RS) and is good for 200mph with a gentle tail wind. Thing is, the new GT3 is available with an automatic gearbox only, which completely takes the fun out of driving, no? Prompted by our rant, we received this comment from Porsche Experience driving consultant (aka professional hoon expert) Jeremy Palmer:
Sorry boys, cant agree with you on this one! Manual is slow, laborious, open to error and generally old fashioned. It would be like wanting a record player over an MP3 player.
While we hate to admit it, Palmer's right. The reason the 468bhp GT3 matches the 611bhp GT2 RS is, of course, that gearbox. No human can change gear as quickly as expensive technology, and no driver can match the correct gear with optimal engine revs quite so well. gt3 2 Palmer continues:
Other than the theatrical element it offers nothing over the other and is technically much worse. The Porsche PDK system is by far the best system on the market and has many features to it that most drivers haven't found or realise, this allows it to be far more involving than any manual and of course massively more efficient and faster. The system has evolved considerably even in the short time it has been available and will take over the world!
The reason we bitched about the GT3's auto only option was precisely because of the manual's theatrics. Manly men like to play with hammers and guns, and in the motoring world, punching through a heavy gearbox satisfies these primitive cravings. Still, most of us lot moisturise and eat sushi these days, so it looks like we're subconsciously preparing for auto 'box world domination. gt3 3 Palmer's final nail in our rant coffin comes here:
Handbrakes are going and clutches will be next, they have of course been missing in all top line Motorsport for quite a while now. Once you are in gear you are in gear, how this is achieved is almost irrelevant, the quickest easiest way has got to be the best surely?
As he points out, top line motorsport - the sector which dictates future car technologies most - has ditched the manual 'box altogether. Judging by this DRS, KERS and carbonfibre lot, it's only a matter of time before the manual gearbox is gone for good too. Not to mention the benefits the auto brings to a car's CO2 emissions, which every car maker on the planet is working hard on to reduce. Now that we've got a pro's opinion on the subject, what do you think? Is it time to hang up our left foot driving boots for good, or should car makers like Porsche offer the fabled manual gearbox on every car it wants to tempt us into?