It’s no secret that manual transmission models are becoming increasingly scarce year after year.
Even Porsche is no exception to this trend, which offers its famous PDK dual-clutch transmission. Fast and efficient, there is objectively not much to complain about. The models equipped with a PDK transmission are also faster than the models equipped with a manual transmission. On the other hand, for those who want to put driving pleasure before pure efficiency, a gear lever and a clutch pedal are simply irreplaceable.
The modernity of a current 911 with an “old-fashioned” gearbox, is this the perfect recipe for a sports car in 2020? This is what we will see …
Our test model is a 911 Carrera S with manual transmission, enhanced by a few options, as usual at Porsche. Among the most notable elements, we can cite the black leather interior, the steering rear wheels, the “Aerokit” set including additional skirts at the bottom of the bumpers and a large rear spoiler, the Sport Pack (active suspensions , ground clearance lowered by 10 mm and Sport Chrono Pack), the sunroof, as well as several comfort equipment.
Thus equipped, the bill for our vehicle for the day reached $ 159,800, transport and preparation included.
Climbing into the cabin, you can see how the 911 has become techno. The car is always started on the left side, however it is a fixed command, the ignition key now being intelligent. Facing the driver, there are obviously the five dials, but they are all digital except for the tachometer. In the center of the dashboard sits the multimedia system screen, whose definition is excellent.
Inside, the quality of finish and construction borders on flawless. No matter where you look, the quality of the materials is absolutely superb. Manufactured with seriousness, the 911 is placed at the top of the category on this point.
A small flat of ergonomics all the same, with the cup holder which complicates the change of gears when it is used. Overall, the car lacks storage at the front. Fortunately, the rear seats (which can only accommodate young children) allow you to store some things. They can also be folded down if necessary.
Equipped with a large number of comfort and safety equipment, our test model adapts very well to daily use. The ride is obviously firm, the 911 remains sporty, but it remains perfectly acceptable. It is only on the largest bleeds that we really experience the hardness of the suspensions.
The seats, which are also firm, offer excellent lateral support, even if they make getting out of the car slightly more difficult if you are driving near the steering wheel.
Carried out at a quiet pace, we are surprised at the versatility displayed by the Carrera S, an ease that contrasts with its rather aggressive aesthetic. With Normal driving mode, the exhaust remains discreet and the engine delivers its power more smoothly. And for rainy days, there is even a Wet mode which makes the car even more docile when the grip becomes precarious.
Driving in this way, fuel consumption fluctuates between 10 and 11 L / 100 km, which is fine for a turbocharged 3.0-liter 6-cylinder. The car is more greedy in town, with an average posted of 15 L / 100 km. For our part, we recorded 10.9 L / 100 km during our entire week of testing.
A two-faced car
Everything changes when you select Sport or “Sport Plus” modes. The sound of the exhaust intensifies, the car is more responsive and the driving aids become more permissive.
Since the stop, the power rises crescendo to literally explode between 5,000 and 7,300 rpm. Already strong in torque at mid-speed, the tachometer needle rushes towards the red zone without the slightest inertia.
Reports are linked without downtime thanks to the speed of the 7-speed gearbox. Easy-to-dose clutch, reduced travel and straightforward locks, this transmission is a model of its kind, perfectly supporting the 443 horsepower delivered by the flat-6 turbo. With the sportier driving modes engaged, the car does the heel-toe for you as well, cranking the engine with each downshift. This famous “Rev match” is performed by the car, and fortunately, because the crankset does not facilitate the real heel-toe because of a brake pedal that is too high.
You will tell me that it is now useless to practice it because the car does it impeccably. Except that in a Porsche 911, you might also want to keep full control of the controls, including in this phase of driving, especially if you practice driving on the track. But in everyday use, this obviously has no effect on driving.
The dynamic capabilities of the 911 are such that it will be necessary to take it to a circuit to draw its true potential. Driving enthusiastically on the road, the car puts forward its front axle with devilish precision, coupled with a steering system which transmits information to the driver wonderfully.
Despite its rear overhang engine, the Carrera S is unperturbed in curves. In large radius turns, tire grip and cornering speed are impressive, especially since our test model was fitted with winter tires. And thanks to its steered rear wheels, the added maneuverability allows you to play more sinuous portions without the slightest difficulty.
To slow everything down, you can count on a braking system that borders on perfection. Bit, power and endurance are there, while the driver benefits from an impeccable feeling at the pedal.
In the end, this week of testing has once again confirmed the versatility of the 911 to us. Capable of taking you to work every morning as well as giving you crazy pleasure on a circuit, the compromise found by the German engineers makes fly. And apart from a slightly too firm ride in the rutted streets of Montreal and the noises of wind and marked rolling at highway speeds, we do not really see what to blame him. Especially in this version with manual gearbox, which further enhances driving pleasure.