In 2013 Porsche released the (991) 911 GT3 without even the option of a manual gearbox. They put all of their chips in the PDK basket, and then watched as the value of older manual-equipped 911 GT3s skyrocketed.
We’re talking $160,000+ for a 997 GT3 RS and over $300,000 for a GT3 RS 4.0.
Could Porsche have been wrong about the consumer’s desire for PDK? And does the new manual-only Cayman GT4 signify that Porsche may be back-pedaling a bit?
Lamborghini and Ferrari killed their manual transmissions after a decade of consumers simply not ordering them. As paddle shift transmissions got better, less and less customers wanted to bother with a clutch pedal. If that isn’t a clear demonstration of demand, then I don’t know what is.
Porsche, on the other hand, seemed to force paddle shift on their customers a little more. Manual 911 Turbos were selling well, but then the (997) 911 Turbo S came out with only a PDK gearbox available. I guess enough people bought it anyway that Porsche thought it was a sign that everything must be PDK from now on!
Don’t get me wrong, PDK is a great transmission, one of the best in the industry for sure. I’ll even say it’s good enough not to ruin a car that is otherwise very good. But give me the option of any two identical Porsches, one PDK and one Manual, and I will always go for the manual. It comes down to one simple fact, in a sports car, manual is just a lot more fun. And fun is what sports cars are all about, right?
So now we have the new Porsche Cayman GT4, a sort of GT3 for the Cayman lineup. Many Porsche enthusiasts will agree with me when I say that the Cayman GT4 is probably going to be the best car in the entire Porsche lineup — save for a manual 911 GT3 RS, which is rumored.
The Cayman GT4 is going to be sublime. With 385hp coming from a 3.8L flat-6 engine, this is a similar package to the 3.8-swapped Caymans that a few enthusiasts have built for themselves.
I drove a manual Porsche Cayman R a few years ago, and it remains one of my favorite cars I’ve ever experienced. I imagine the Cayman GT4 as a Cayman R with another 55hp and a little more aerodynamic grip. In short, it should be phenomenal.
Let’s hope this is a step back in the right direction that Porsche will continue in the future. PDK is great for Cayennes and Panameras. But a world where Porsche sports cars don’t have clutch pedals is a world I don’t want to live in.
Watch Evo’s Interview With Porsche Motorsport Boss Andreas Prueninger About The GT4: