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Last week’s 2017 Geneva motor show debut of the updated 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 signalled availability of a manual gearbox to the enthusiast-focussed model for the first time since the 997.2 GT3. Now though, it seems, despite the reintroduction of a manual option, buyers are still favouring Porsche’s self-shifting PDK transmission.

Available for order in Australia since its 2017 Geneva motor show unveiling, the 991.2 Porsche 911 GT3 is offered with either a standard seven-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission or an alternative six-speed manual – the latter being unavailable since the first-generation 991 GT3 succeeded the second-generation 997 GT3 in 2013.

Speaking to CarAdvice, Porsche Cars Australia public relations and motorsport director Paul Ellis said, although there had been widespread interest in the return of a manual gearbox to the iconic GT3 911 variant, initial customer response seems to be somewhat at odds with some expectations.

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“We’re holding a considerable number of expressions of interest [for the new GT3], and by that I mean, money-down expressions of interest,” Ellis said.

“Customers have sort of bemoaned the fact that there was no manual available with the previous [991] GT3, and now that there is one available [on the 991.2 GT3], they’re still ordering the PDK – because it is a faster car.

“There will certainly be take-up on manual, but probably not as big as everyone thought because those that were hardcore manual drivers, they’ve had the opportunity to drive PDK in that sort of high-performance context. They’ve become convinced of the merits of PDK, and have placed that above their sporadic desire to drive a manual gearbox every now and then.”

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With final production numbers yet to be confirmed (or made public) by Porsche, Ellis says the 991.2 911 GT3 will not be a ‘limited edition’ model – unlike the manual-only 911 R revealed at the 2016 Geneva motor show, limited to 991 units.

“We will not have any trouble selling whatever is allocated to us, I don’t think,” Ellis said.

“This is a series production car, albeit, it may not run the full model life of the second-generation 991. But it will have a meaningful production period.”

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And while Porsche Cars Australia may not quite have enough numbers to confirm any potential trend in buyer preference, Ellis says early indicators suggest automatics will still outsell manuals.

“[There’s] a lot of interest generally overall, and not people necessarily saying I have to have a manual or I have to have a PDK, they’re just saying I want a GT3. But some of the anecdotal evidence from discussions with dealers is that people they thought might lean towards a manual, are probably going to lean towards a PDK.”

Could this have something to do with the fact that all 25 examples of the 911 R, allocated to Australia, were snapped up in no time?

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“It’s hard to tell,” Ellis said, “Because even if they had of built the 911 R with ‘paddle power’, it still would have sold – so you can’t really draw a conclusion from that.

“But it did sell out. The Cayman GT4 was manual only and that exceeded expectations [too], so you’d have to say that there’s strong and healthy demand, not just in Australia but globally, for manual Porsche performance cars.”

Priced at $404,700 (before on-road costs), the 1370kg Porsche 911 R is powered by a 4.0-litre flat-six engine that develops 368kW of power at 8250rpm and 460Nm of torque at 6250rpm. Also propelled by a naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six, the new 991.2 911 GT3 starts at $327,100 (before on-road costs) and outputs an identical 368kW of power at 8250rpm, with its 460Nm of torque peaking at 6000rpm.

The lightest road-going version of the current 911, the 911 R claims 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 323km/h. Tipping the scales at 1413kg in manual guise and 1430kg in PDK trim, the 991.2 911 GT3 claims 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds (3.4s PDK) and a top speed of 320km/h (318km/h PDK).

The first 2018 Porsche 911 GT3s are due to arrive in Australia from the fourth quarter of 2017.

MORE: 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 revealed
MORE: Porsche 911 R unveiled
MORE: Porsche 911 news, reviews, pricing and specifications
MORE: 2017 Geneva motor show

Which transmission would you pick for your 911 GT3, manual or PDK? Let us know in the comments below.




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