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The US is keeping the stick shift Porsche alive

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Old 02-20-13, 08:30 AM   #1
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Default The US is keeping the stick shift Porsche alive

Porsche admits manual gearbox could die

Popularity of Porsche’s PDK auto transmission puts the clutch pedal on notice.






http://smh.drive.com.au/motor-news/p...214-2efl8.html


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Porsche has admitted it could be the latest sports car company to phase out the manual gearbox.

With sales of its benchmark PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission accounting for up to 80 percent of the overall volume in its traditional sports car models - the 911 and Cayman - the German sports car brand has admitted the conventional manual gearbox could be dropped within the next few years.

The news comes less than a year after Porsche debuted the world's first seven-speed automatic in its 991-generation of the Porsche 911.

Other sports car brands, including Ferrari, have already discontinued the manual gearbox in favour of autos, which with modern technology are quicker and use less fuel.


Its Cayenne SUV and Panamera limousine are already offered in Australia exclusively with automatic gearboxes, and it has confirmed even its most hard-core, track-focused model, the next-generation 911 GT3, will be available with a PDK automatic transmission for the first time when it is revealed at next month’s Geneva motor show before arriving in Australia later this year.

“That is an interesting question for us at the moment,” Porsche’s vice president for R&D, planning and processes, Bunno Brandlhuber, told Drive.

“As far as I know the take-up rates of the PDK in the 911 is up to 80 percent and in the Boxster and Cayman it is around 60-70 percent. And it is increasing. Maybe someday the question will come whether we need a manual gearbox anymore.

“That question may be answered in two years or five years time, but the customer will dictate this for us.

One potential saviour for the manual gearbox could be the United States market. While Americans generally prefer automatics, most Porsche sports cars sold in the States have a manual gearbox.

“There are some Porsche enthusiasts who prefer [a manual gearbox] and we will continue to offer this in the meantime. But we are constantly looking at the customer behaviour and maybe the time will come when the manual transmission is an old style. Maybe one day it will become irrelevant.”

Porsche’s GT3 with a PDK is one of the most significant transitions towards an all-automatic future for the German brand. The model has traditionally been used as an homologation model for the company’s Carrera Cup one-make race car and has traditionally been available with only a manual transmission.

But Brandlhuber admitted the 991-series GT3 will have a seven-speed automated manual transmission, which will not only improve its acceleration and outright lap time at the famed Nurburgring it offers drastic improvements in fuel consumption.

“PDK is part of the GT3, yes,” Brandlhuber told Drive.

“The PDK is the better gearbox in terms of fuel consumption and sportiness; even [legendary former rally champion and Porsche test driver] Walter Rohrl agrees. He was asked about this recently and said he doesn’t need a manual gearbox anymore. [The PDK] shifts perfectly and I don’t have to do anything. The gearbox does the job perfectly.”

Highlighting the expected improvement in the GT3’s outright performance, Porsche has admitted the current standard-spec Carrera S is already as quick around the Nurburgring as the previous-generation GT3.

Brandlhuber said the new GT3, which is expected to be powered by an uprated version of the 3.8-litre naturally-aspirated flat six that produces around 330kW and weighing less than 1350kg, will offer similar gains.

“I can’t say too much about this, but you can be assured the genes of the 911 will be transferred to the GT3 and the GT3 will be at the right level,” was all he said.

In 2013 the legendary Porsche 911 celebrates its 50th anniversary.
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Old 02-20-13, 08:34 AM   #2
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Same thing with BMW M, they wanted to drop the manual a long time ago but we won't let them. You know I was watching Top Gear and they drove the incredible Veyron for top speed and while it was a rocket ship seeing Tanner just press a paddle to shift seemed as involving as yawning in the morning.

I totally understand leaving manuals, hell I don't drive one much, but its really sad to see it go like this.
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Old 02-20-13, 08:47 AM   #3
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no offense to these "engineers" and "knowitalls" but a sports car is not a sports car with an auto. sure the flappy padals are fun but you still dont have the same feel as you do with a clutch. to much "go" and not enough fun.
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Old 02-20-13, 08:53 AM   #4
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manuals only make sense for low powered vehicles or control-freaks. many control-freaks buy really fast cars but can't drive a stick for shat.

and thanks to govt force, fuel economy goals can only be met by software controlling the whole drivetrain from brakes to steering to engine to transmission.
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Old 02-20-13, 10:56 AM   #5
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Another reason manuals may be on the way out (though the article doesn't address this), is so the engineers can program restrictions into the way that gears upshift and downshift at cold temperatures and during engine-warm-up. That, I agree, can be annoying, but is done to help get the catalytic conerters up to snuff sooner.

That's no to say, however, that even manual transmissions don't have some restrictions of their own. When I reviewed a recent Mustang GT, I noticed that the old skip-shift programming was still used.....it locks out second/third gears at lower-throttle settings and forces a 1-4 shift, though it can be overridden if you lead-foot it. Older Camaro SS/Z28 and Firebird Formula/Trans-Ams also had it, but GM seems to have dropped it on the latest-generation Camaros.

The ideal way to shift a manual, to save synchro-wear, is to either double-clutch (which increases wear on the throw-out bearing) or use the so-called "heel and toe" method on both the clutch and brake pedals....which takes some practice, and many people (including myself) aren't very skilled in (though I can, and do, otherwise drive sticks with no problems). The design/location of some brake pedals, of course, can make heel-and-toe difficult. But, the way I look at it.....why put in synchros in the first place if you aren't actually going to use them? Not only that, but some cars (the Nissan 370Z, which I also reviewed, comes to mind) have a program in the engine's computer that automatically matches revs on downshift, which pretty much negates the need for synchros in the first place.

Last edited by mmarshall; 02-20-13 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 02-20-13, 11:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dream36 View Post
no offense to these "engineers" and "knowitalls" but a sports car is not a sports car with an auto. sure the flappy padals are fun but you still dont have the same feel as you do with a clutch. to much "go" and not enough fun.
Aren't all formula one cars paddle controled automatics? Isn't that the high end of the "sports car"?
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Old 02-20-13, 11:22 AM   #7
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It's no secret the slush box is now the better transmission for performance and economy. What manuals come down to now is nostalgia and the spirit of motoring. The 911/Cayman, GT86, and of course the king Miata are the few who continue a tradition of motoring that began with MBZ's Benz Patent Motorwagen.
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Old 02-20-13, 12:52 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Hoovey2411 View Post
It's no secret the slush box is now the better transmission for performance and economy. What manuals come down to now is nostalgia and the spirit of motoring.
Depends on where you are. A traditional three-pedal manual and that "nostalgia" can be a PITA in congested stop-and-go traffic. That is one of the factors (among several) that have led to its downfall.
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Old 02-20-13, 12:57 PM   #9
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manuals used to have the advantage of higher mpg and faster shifting than autos. Not anymore
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Old 02-20-13, 12:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmarshall View Post
Depends on where you are. A traditional three-pedal manual and that "nostalgia" can be a PITA in congested stop-and-go traffic. That is one of the factors (among several) that have led to its downfall.
variables aside, humor me
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Old 02-20-13, 01:00 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by 4TehNguyen View Post
manuals used to have the advantage of higher mpg and faster shifting than autos. Not anymore
The traditional manual-transmission quick-action "power-shift", though (which is just another way of saying "abuse") certainly didn't extend the life of the transmission or clutch any.
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Old 02-20-13, 03:49 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Dream36 View Post
no offense to these "engineers" and "knowitalls" but a sports car is not a sports car with an auto. sure the flappy padals are fun but you still dont have the same feel as you do with a clutch. to much "go" and not enough fun.
I guess you haven't driven a Ferrari recently. They're all going away from traditional manuals.
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Old 02-20-13, 03:58 PM   #13
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Anyone knows the take rate of the manual 86/FR-S? I suspect it's much higher than that of the 911 from what I've seen on ft86club.com.
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Old 02-21-13, 06:01 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by jwong77 View Post
I guess you haven't driven a Ferrari recently. They're all going away from traditional manuals.
no the last ferrari I drove was a 360 in 2001. It had the flappy padels as well and it was ok. My point was that taking the clutch away ruins the full body feel of driving. I imagine in ten or twenty years Iwill change my attitude about it, but for now I still believe that a sports car should have three pedals.

When I drive, I like to use my left foot to "feel" the drivetrain, the right foot to "feel" the engine, and my hands are used to point where I want to go its a better workout than just using the foot and brake. Oh and heal/toe makes no difference on how long your equipment works. heal toe is just for entering, cornering, and exit speeds. you are still regulating what gear and how much pressure is on the clutch plate with the OTHER foot.
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Old 02-21-13, 06:49 AM   #15
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Drive a Ferrari 458 (I have on a track) there is no way a manual can keep up with one not in its wildest dreams.

nowadays you wanting to "feel" the car will get you defeated in races. My first two cars are manual, they were better than autos back then for mpg and performance but with the advent of these newer transmissions, manual is inferior from a performance standpoint. I'll shoot a bolt action rifle if I want nostalgia and to feel a gun but I will run to a semi auto when I need to. Manual is a beneficial skill to learn but with current technology it is not king anymore
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