The manual transmission is on its way out in today’s automotive world. The reason for this is largely due to the fact that automatic transmissions have become quicker and sales of cars with manual transmissions have plummeted.
The dual clutch transmission has allowed for an automatic (or semi-automatic) to be faster than a traditional manual transmission. Porsche makes one of the best dual clutch transmissions available with their PDK.
If you are like us then you are a fan of the traditional manual transmission. The driving experience is just more fun with a third pedal and that can improve your performance car lifestyle.
But if you aren’t an accomplished driver, then you may still be a little green when driving a manual. People also aren’t often taught very well with how best to drive a car with a stick and the lessons normally focus on keeping from killing the car.
Click past the jump (or scroll down if you came directly to the full article) to find out some tips on how to better drive a manual car.
This video is an oldie but goodie from Jay Leno’s garage. In it Jay takes a look at the then new PDK transmission in a Porsche 911 (997) Carrera Cabriolet. There is some footage of Jay, along with his mechanic, taking apart a PDK transmission to see just how the manual automatic transmission works.
The video then features Jay putting the 911 through its paces both in the city and on some nice back roads. He gets to show off the launch control and attempts to show just how fast the transmission can shift. While Leno says he would prefer a traditional manual transmission he says if you have to get an automatic (or manual automatic) get Porsche’s dual clutch transmission.
Also, remember this is an older video (the car is a 2009), so when there is talk about wishing there was a 7-speed manual available that was before the new 991 variant of the 911 came out and started to offer that. I wonder if this video gave Porsche the idea.
The manual transmission’s days look like they may be numbered. Even Porsche, that for a long time stood by the manual transmission as the transmission of choice for their driver’s cars, decided to only use their PDK transmission for the new Porsche 911 (991) GT3. While the reworked transmission looks like it will provide great performance, it just doesn’t give the driver the same kind of connection with the car.
For years the manual transmission was saved from being scrapped because automatic transmissions were always slow. However, now a days the dual clutch transmissions available in high performance car outperforms the manual transmissions by quite a bit. One has to wonder if you will even be able to buy a new car with a manual transmission within the next ten years.
Don’t get me wrong transmissions like Porsche’s PDK transmission are great and the cars perform great. Having said this, when I’ve driven a Porsche with the PDK transmission I didn’t feel connected the same way as I did with the manual transmission. The PDK transmission is a technical marvel and if your drive on the track you have to go with one, but if you just want a fun drive in your Porsche, I think a manual transmission is more fun.
In the above video I have filmed myself driving home from work with the camera on the shifter. The video has been edited to just show all of the shifts as I was driving. I also added some music to it which I think makes it a bit more entertaining. The video is to celebrate one of my favorite things about driving a sports car, the shifting and the experience you get from it.
So, will the manual transmission make a comeback or is the release of the new Porsche 911 GT3 with only the PDK transmission the beginning of the end? Either way, we can also enjoy a manual transmission in a classic sports car.
UPDATE: The video above was meant to be more tongue in cheek, so don’t expect for it to be informative for the topic.