Porsche 911 (991) 7-speed manual layout – first looks
When Porsche released the information about their new 7-speed manual gearbox, which they are introducing with the long-awaited 911 replacement, reactions were pretty much split between disbelief and annoyance. After all, in many cases even 6 speeds could be a handful and, in a car of the 911's breed, it is kind of important to be able to work the shifter with the same ease you slice through mom's freshly-baked pie.
Therefore, initially there was disbelief, which grew into concern about the usability of a seven-speed manual in a car traditionally touted for its German practicality, utilitarianism, and efficiency. Still, Porsche have moved ahead with their production plans and we are about to see the official presentation of the newest 911 at the Frankfurt Auto Show (September 15-30, 2011). Shortly before, however, we are finally able to see the shifting layout of the transmission, which the guys at CarEnvy.ca have posted on their Facebook page.
Judging by the picture, using the shifter would not be an issue, at least for those who managed just fine with its 6-speed predecessor in the current model generation. Seventh gear is ‘squeezed in' just beside sixth, which does not change anything about the layout of the other gears – no surprises for Porsche drivers. In addition, Porsche's claim has been that the top gear is added with the sole purpose of reducing engine noise and fuel consumption and is to be used only on occasions, such as leisurely cruising, so this should happen rarely enough.
All of this is supposed to do away with the practicality/efficiency doubts. In fact, Porsche estimates that the 991 (as is the factory designation of this 911 generation) should be around 15% more fuel efficient than the current car, which is already extremely frugal by supercar standards. Of course, we will have to wait and see the official unveiling of the new 911, in order to be sure, but so far it appears that more is still better.