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Reviews 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S Manual Review: This Is The Way To...

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S Manual Review: This Is The Way To Go

The Porsche 911 is even better with a manual gearbox

  • 7-speed manual is the best in the business

  • Light clutch and effortless gear shifts up the already abundant pleasure provided by the new 911

  • On paper performance down a bit, but the driving experience makes up for it


We all know manual gearboxes are on the way out. Despite the save-the-manual movement, consumers have spoken and do-it-yourself gearboxes aren’t selling. Still, you can get a new 992 Porsche 911 with a seven-speed gearbox and we’re so very thankful for that.

2021 Porsche 911 Carrera S
2021 Porsche 911 Carrera S.
Montreal, Quebec.
Wednesday 28 October 2020
World Copyright: Olivier Delorme

It took over a year for the manual 992-gen Porsche 911 to arrive, but it’s here. Even Porsche buyers are more inclined towards the automatic gearbox, and even in a mythical car like the 911 getting a manual to market wasn’t a priority.

We also have to consider the possibility that this may be the last 911 generation to offer the manual. So, for those on the fence, ultimately opting for the 7-speed gearbox may prove not only to be a wise decision from a pure driving experience standpoint, it could also turn into a great investment.

2021 Porsche 911 Carrera S
2021 Porsche 911 Carrera S.
Montreal, Quebec.
Wednesday 28 October 2020
World Copyright: Olivier Delorme

The manual comes as a no-cost option on the Carrera S and 4S trims of the coupe, convertible and Targa models. It’s paired automatically with the Sport Chrono package.

The 8-speed dual-clutch PDK doesn’t come with the Sport Chrono package, it’s actually a $3,180 option in Canada ($2,790 in the US) when paired with the automatic. In other words, the manual is actually better value than the automatic for those who want the Sport Chrono pack.

And why wouldn’t you want it? It comes with a digital and analogue chronograph on the dash and a driving mode rotary dial on the steering wheel that allows the driver to circle through the multiple modes (Sport, Sport Plus, Individual, Normal, and Wet), and there’s a tire temperature indicator which is exclusive to the manual 911.

2021 Porsche 911 Carrera S
2021 Porsche 911 Carrera S.
Montreal, Quebec.
Wednesday 28 October 2020
World Copyright: Olivier Delorme

The manual also includes standard Porsche Torque Vectoring and mechanically locking rear differential along with the PSM Sport mode. Last but not least is a rev-matching feature. The other difference with the manual Sport Chrono package versus the automatic’s is that there’s no automated launch control with the manual, leaving your feet to do the job of launching the 911.

Ultimately, the manual 911 was designed to be slightly sportier and the standard, adjusted Sport Chrono package is proof of that.

My tester was a 2020 911 Carrera S coupe, decked out with the optional Aerokit package that includes a body kit and a large, Porsche 911 GT3 style wing that you can’t help but smile at when you glance in your rearview mirror. I wouldn’t hesitate one second to add it to any 911 coupe, but it does cut down on rear visibility somewhat.

2021 Porsche 911 Carrera S
2021 Porsche 911 Carrera S.
Montreal, Quebec.
Wednesday 28 October 2020
World Copyright: Olivier Delorme

As we’ve discussed in a previous 992 Porsche 911 review, this latest generation is one of the best, if not the best, sports car you can buy. Yes it’s bigger, yes its heavier, yes its more luxurious than ever, but once you are behind the wheel you don’t notice any of that. You get a Porsche 911 that keeps everything previous generations have taught us to expect, only amplified.

Handling is superb in every situation. Think where you want the car to go and it goes exactly there. The steering wheel feels light when cruising around, but has just the right amount of weight in my dynamic driving. The base Carrera delivers ample power with 379 horsepower from a 3.0-litre H6 turbocharged engine, but the S models justify the extra money with 443 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. That engine rockets the driver to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 3.7 seconds which is a significant jump over the previous 911.

2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S Review: Redefining Expectations

The new 992 offers supercar performance in every trim, not just the 911 Turbo or GT models. Now, when you add the seven-speed manual into the mix, you really get that pure driving experience that we’ve come to expect and want from the 911.

There’s something magical about having full control over all that power and being able to make the engine do exactly what you want it to do. One hand on the steering wheel and one hand on the gear level, you feel like you and the car are one, and the clutch is silky smooth with the pedal just at the right height.

2021 Porsche 911 Carrera S
2021 Porsche 911 Carrera S.
Montreal, Quebec.
Wednesday 28 October 2020
World Copyright: Olivier Delorme

When I drove the Cayman GT4, I was surprised at just how high the left pedal was which made for some awkward driving in the city. The 2020 Porsche 911 manual is a lot better and you can tell Porsche built this manual to be as enjoyable on a track as it is when cruising around the city.

For those who are used to manuals, you know they are not all built the same. The manual gearbox in the Dodge Challenger or Ford Mustang, for example, is actually a pain. It’s too heavy, not really precise, and terrible at regular speeds. The Jaguar F-Type’s manual is so rubbery it’s not fun at all. On the other hand, the Mazda MX-5 has a short gear lever and a clutch you can use your toes to move. The Honda Civic Type R and the BMW M2’s manual gearboxes are like that as well.

The Porsche 911’s manual isn’t as short as the MX-5’s or the M2’s, but it’s as light and because you have so much more power, it’s that much more enjoyable. It’s hard to put into words the driving experience, but I can tell you that manual fans will love this particular setup.

2021 Porsche 911 Carrera S
2021 Porsche 911 Carrera S.
Montreal, Quebec.
Wednesday 28 October 2020
World Copyright: Olivier Delorme

In simple terms, this is the most powerful new car you can get with a stick (with the exception of the Dodge Challenger Hellcat which is a completely different experience), and the 7-speed gearbox is perfectly engineered to handle the performance with ease, upping the confidence and overall pleasure felt behind the wheel.

The 2020 Porsche 911 manual is everything you want it to be.

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Charles Jolicoeur
Charles Jolicoeur
Charles Jolicoeur was studying to be a CPA when he decided to drop everything and launch a car website in 2012. Don't ask. The journey has been an interesting one, but today he has co-founded and manages 8 websites including EcoloAuto.com and MotorIllustrated.com as General Manager of NetMedia360. He also sits on the board of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. Send me an email

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