“You can’t really have a favorite shift with a paddle shift, can you?”, says Catchpole in this recent Carfection video exploring the loveliness of a proper manual gearbox. A nicely tuned dual-clutch flappy-paddle gearbox is a glorious thing on a race track, they’re perfect, but maybe a little too perfect. There is something to be said for enjoying flawed things. An automatic movement watch, for example, will lose track of time if you don’t keep it properly wound, but isn’t it a much more interesting thing than a quartz movement? As Catchpole’s analogue, I’ll take a freshly ground cup of pour-over to a jar of Sanka any day of the week.
If you love driving, if you enjoy getting into that rhythm with your car, if you revel in the idea of finding the perfect back road, chances are you’re a manual lover. There’s a greater level of connection between you and your car when you are forced to ‘row your own’. It’s a next level experience to slot the lever into gear at exactly the right moment. And a perfectly timed heel-toe downshift is transcendent. In certain circumstances, the manual transmission even allows an extra level of car control. You can use a shift or a clutch-in moment to initiate weight transfer or instigate a drift. It’s one extra level of analog control for the driver in a world of computer controlled digital interfaces.
Call me a Luddite if you like, but I prefer clicky buttons to touch screens, I like a from-scratch meal better than a mass production one, and I like my cars to do what I say rather than what their computer thinks is best. Therein lies the beauty of a proper manual sports car like Porsche’s new GT3. It’s ostensibly worse than its PDK sibling, but that is exactly what makes it better.