At one time, Porsche could have been considered the most stubborn carmaker in the world. It built a car with the engine out behind the rear wheels and only a car with the engine out behind the rear wheels. Anything else was considered heretical.
The company has come a long way in the last 20 years, with the introduction of not only the Boxster and Cayman sports cars, but also the Panamera sedan and Cayenne and Macan SUVs. It's also become a leader in hybrid and electric tech with the 918 supercar, the Cayenne and Panamera Hybrids, and the Mission-E concept.
At the reveal of the 2019 Cayenne, we chatted with Dr. Gernot Döllner, who is VP of the Panamera line, but also an engineer who worked on the Panamera Hybrid and 918 as well. He told us that hybrid and/or electric cars from the brand would only make sense with automatic (or PDK) gearboxes. According to Döllner, they can only be efficient with an advanced automatic gearbox.
That's not entirely crazy news. There were never many hybrids with manual gearboxes; most of them were Hondas. While we know a manual could be equipped, we also know that it makes no logical sense. Currently, there are no Porsche Hybrids that would have a manual anyway. The Panamera only has PDK gearboxes across the line no matter the powertrain, as does the Cayenne.
What this does mean is that any future hybrid 911 would not be available with a manual gearbox, just like the GT3 RS, GT2 RS, and Turbo can only be had with PDK. In a hybrid 911's case, the PDK wouldn't be there to decrease track times, but to increase efficiency.
Who would have thought the company that came under fire for making the 911 water cooled and building an SUV just 20 years ago would now be talking about advanced efficiency and hybrid technology? What a world.