Porsche listens to enthusiasts' pleas, restores 911 GT3's manual transmission

When it unveiled the last 911 GT3 about four years ago, Porsche ditched the manual transmission option amid howls of protests from car enthusiasts. For the past few years, this-driver focused, high-performance version of the 911 has been available only with a PDK dual-clutch transmission. But that’s about to change.

Unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 regains a manual transmission, indicating that even Porsche is no match for the collective will of angry car fans. The GT3 also adds plenty of other upgrades that should make it even more ferocious than before, while keeping the fans happy.

That long-awaited manual transmission is a six-speed unit, and Porsche will continue to offer a seven-speed PDK as well. The engine those transmissions are bolted to is a new 4.0-liter flat-six, one of the last engines in the 911 lineup that isn’t turbocharged. It produces 500 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque, up 25 hp and 15 lb-ft over the previous 3.8-liter flat-six.

Despite making the car slightly heavier, Porsche says the PDK also makes the GT3 slightly quicker. It quotes a 0 to 60 mph time of 3.2 seconds for the PDK, and 3.8 seconds for the manual. Top speed is 197 mph with the PDK, and 198 mph with the manual. Beyond the powertrain upgrades, the GT3 is largely unchanged, keeping the aerodynamic enhancements and trick mechanical features of its predecessor.

The GT3 retains a locking differential, active engine mounts, and rear-wheel steering. The rear wheels are capable of turning in the opposite direction as the fronts at low speeds to increase maneuverability, and in the same direction as the fronts at higher speeds to maintain stability. The Porsche Track Precision App is another new addition, allowing drivers to record driving data and send it to a connected smartphone. The app is bundled with an infotainment system that also includes navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

The 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 will arrive in United States showrooms this fall. Pricing will start at $144,650, including the mandatory destination fee.