Total 911’s five favourite manual Porsche 911 gearboxes

In recent years, the Porsche 911 range has been dominated by the rise of the PDK shifter. Around 80 per cent of all new Neunelfers leave the factory with the dual-clutch ‘box, with the statistics bolstered by the PDK-only ethos on the 991 GT3, GT3 RS and Turbo ranges.

The launch of the 911 R (with its bespoke six-speed shifter) has opened has been met with incredible support by ardent supporters of the manual gearbox though, and all the rumours suggest that the next 911 GT3 will see the return of a clutch pedal too.

Therefore, to celebrate the resurrection of the analogue shifter, here are our five favourite manual Porsche 911 gearboxes from across the ages:

Porsche 964 Carrera – G50/03

After years battling with the often recalcitrant 915 gearbox, the G50 unit revolutionised the art of changing gear in a Porsche 911 when it was launched on the 3.2 Carrera in 1986.

In G50/03 form, the 964 Carrera’s gearbox was even better, providing a short, crisp throw with a fluid (yet positive) action that ranks among the best Porsche 911 gearshifts ever.

Porsche 991 R – MT11

When the MT11 gearbox was launched as the manual counterpart to the 991’s PDK system, its seven-speed pattern proved clunky and frustrating to many Neunelfer enthusiasts.

Its new six-speed form (fitted to the exceptional 911 R) is a completely different story however. A stubby, bespoke carbon-clad lever accentuates the super short action while the contentious seventh gear’s absence proves that quality trumps quantity.

Porsche 911 2.2S – 911/01

Since 1972, the Porsche 911’s shift pattern has remained relatively unchanged (bar the gradually increasing number of ratios). However, in the early days of Zuffenhausen’s seminal sports car, first gear was not always found ‘up and left’.

First seen in the 901 ‘box (fitted to the 904 prototype), a dogleg first gear kept the rest of the ratios in a tight cluster, perfect for fast road and track driving once underway. The 911/01 shifter, from the 2.2-litre Neunelfers, is the ultimate incarnation of this unusual ‘box.

Porsche 997.2 GT3 – G97/92

A distant descendant of the 993 GT2’s race-bred ‘box, the G97/92 unit in the Porsche 997.2 GT3 is the gearbox that helped to launch a thousand motoring hack clichés (such as its ‘rifle bolt’ action).

In practice, it’s probably the best gearbox Porsche has ever bestowed on a 911, with a snappy jump across each gate and a fast synchromesh that’s hard to beat. What’s more, with its own oil cooler keeping temperatures down, its tough enough to withstand a beating on track.

Porsche 930 3.0 – 930/30

Slow; clunky; vague; long-legged. The list of criticisms for the original Porsche 911 Turbo’s gearbox is famously long, making it very much the wildcard on our list of favourite manual shifters.

However, its many foibles make for a challenging driving experience that test even the very best Porsche 911 drivers (just ask Walter Röhrl). The four-speed shifter is one of the most iconic gearboxes on this list too, even if it isn’t the best technically.

What is your favourite manual Porsche 911 gearbox? Does one shifter stick in your mind? Add your best three-pedal experiences in the comment section below, or join the debate on our Facebook and Twitter pages now.

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