Let’s consider a Porsche 911 GT3 Manual to PDK comparison. You grew up driving with three pedals and enjoy using a manual shift. You currently own a 997 GT3 RS: potentially the last RS to be made with three pedals. Porsche now says you should abandon the idea of a manual shift and embrace two pedals forever. So what are the chances of that happening?
This spotless Gen 3 997 GT3 RS has just 1,100 miles on the clock. Recently offered for sale, it went in under 24 hours. “The 991 GT3 situation with PDK-only has increased enquiries for the best examples of 997 GT3 RS,” says the salesman. “We have a growing waiting list for these cars and always want to find more used Porsche 911s for sale.”
No matter how PDK is put over: with launch control, paddle shift, seamless acceleration and all the rest, it’s still essentially an automatic transmission and that’s just not for everyone. I like manual transmissions: the feel of a clutch pedal, the action of the shifter, the process of matching revs with conditions. But I am not a GT3 owner and am unlikely to be in the very near future, so my opinion makes no odds. What do owners think? Do you jump from the three-pedal Porsche train to two, or hang on to your three-pedaller?
Cost to change is one consideration. Latest data from Porsche dealerships says a Porsche owner in the UK running a late-ish Gen 2 997 GT3 with under 10k miles will need the car plus £40K to get a 991 GT3. It’s going to take a lot to loosen those purse strings.
Porsche 911 GT3 Manual to PDK comparison
Will the new car be such a huge step forward? Gen 2 997 GT3 RS has 444 hp in 1370 kilograms, if you abandon some options and add big bucks for ceramics and lightweight seats. The RS has slicker induction and higher compression than the GT3. A single mass flywheel connects to shorter gearing, and the whole lot shrieks through a titanium exhaust. Max RS torque comes higher up the rev range, but those tighter ratios mean it’s more fun to scream.
However good the 991 GT3 and RS derivative prove, the 997 GT3 RS is huge fun. The controls are responsive: old-school steering offers exceptional feedback and is never too heavy. Wider track front and rear means that only on track will you get to the limits of grip: owners of so many UK GT3s regularly take them to the Nürburgring, and any track day at Spa shows a few RSs in the mix.
Set up to deliver excitement on track, the GT3 RS offers a monumental 911 experience. There are driver aids, sticky tyres, dynamic engine mounts and more, but you still have to work those three pedals to get the best from the car.
Given how good the old car is, it’s hard to see how shaving a few tenths off using two pedals and paddles will improve upon driving rewards. A high cost to change now versus uncertain long term return on investment asks quite a bit in this economy, and Porsche dealers may rue Stuttgart’s PDK-only decision.