Porsche will not sell a stick-shift version of its new 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring in the commie state of California because the manual version of the roadster is too noisy.
The company buried the news at the bottom of a press release showcasing the latest coupe.
But it is only in the state of California, the manual version of the car will be unavailable.
For drivers craving the thrill of the clutch and stick, and who purchase the car outside the Golden State, the manual version will be freely available.
The California Code of Regulations states highway vehicles must pass certain 'drive-by' noise tests orchestrated by the Society of Automotive Engineers.
Manual vehicles have to remain under a certain decibel level as they are driven up to full throttle in second or third gear.
The company's manual transmission used to signify the brand's commitment to its racing heritage.
'The seven-speed PDK gearbox will be the only transmission offered in California with the 911 GT3,' Porsche stated in detailed information for the vehicle.
'For those who prefer three pedals and are located outside of California, a six-speed manual gearbox will continue to be available at no extra cost.'
All cars in California must be equipped with a muffler, and any exhaust modifications must not be designed to increase the exhaust noise above 95 dbA
, about the same volume as shouted conversation.
The automatic transmission vehicle is able to hit the same speed and noise requirements while in first gear, and is therefore far quieter.
California is Porche's single biggest market in the U.S. (Because those in Ca hate the USA)
Those who love to drive often tell how 'a manual transmission is the sure-fire way to show that the person behind the wheel is a 'serious' and accomplished driver ready to handle a GT3 car that's tuned to dominate the track','
The love of manual cars by those who have an affinity for sports cars is shown in Porche's sales figure.
Although the company is exceptionally vague about the numbers of vehicles of each type sold, sales of the manual version of the car make up about 30% of global sales, but a whopping 70% of the share in the United States.
It is not known whether the decision not to sell manual 911 GT3's in California is a permanent one but Porsche spokesman Luke Vandezande said the company is 'unable to confirm whether a manual gearbox for the 911 GT3 in any form will be offered in California in the future.'
Porsche's Vandezande blames the requirements on an 'outdated' procedure.
'The issue is focused on an outdated test procedure still found in California Highway Patrol regulations -
it's called SAE J1470, and it dates back to 1992 when manual cars might have four or five gears,' Vandezande said in a statement. 'It's since been superseded by a new and more modern procedure called SAE J2805 from May 2020.
The former test is no longer current (and this is the one the 911 GT3 would not pass), and the latter test has not yet been adopted by California meaning we're somewhere in the middle and therefore cannot register the car in manual form in California right now.
'Porsche considered making a California edition of the GT3 but ultimately decided against it.
We considered this option, but to alter a 911 GT3 would not be the right course of action, Vandezande said.
The California Code of Regulations specifies that highway vehicles must pass a drive-by noise test designed by the Society of Automotive Engineers—specifically, SAE J1470 (which is out of date), "Measurement of Noise Emitted by Accelerating Highway Vehicles."
This SAE paper goes into extreme detail explaining the design and layout of the ideal testing environment, the proper arrangement of the measuring equipment, the exact condition of the vehicle to be tested, and on and on. But basically, the test boils down to this:
A vehicle accelerates past a microphone, and the sound pressure level, in decibels, is recorded.
SAE J1470 aims to measure "the highest noise level consistent with urban driving." The exact testing method varies based on vehicle size, power output, peak acceleration rate, and gearing, but generally, it involves a full-throttle run starting at 50 km/h (31 mph) and continuing until the engine reaches its peak-power rpm.
Manual-transmission vehicles are tested in either second or third gear; given the GT3's curb weight and power output, the procedure calls for third.
Here's the thing: Automatic-transmission vehicles aren't necessarily tested at wide-open throttle.
The method specified in J1470 states that "the throttle shall, as rapidly as possible, be opened as fully as will ensure maximum acceleration without operating kickdown" (emphasis added), and held at that position until the car reaches the end of the testing area. "Kickdown," as defined by the SAE, means "a forced downshift to the lowest possible gear (first or low gear)."
You see the problem here.
The PDK-equipped GT3 can do nearly 80 km/h in first. Certainly, flooring the accelerator in an automatic GT3 would trigger a multi-gear downshift all the way to first.
So while the procedure calls for the manual GT3 to run full-throttle nearly to redline in third, the same procedure prohibits full-throttle acceleration in the automatic version of the very same car. Hence, the PDK passes the test, while the manual fails.
Porsche's spokesperson would not answer any specific questions about how the manual or automatic GT3 performed in California's noise tests.
But the Porsche representative did highlight something notable: SAE J1470 is no longer
the most up-to-date testing method when it comes to measuring drive-by noise.
SAE J1470 was first published in late 1984.
The paper reveals itself to be relatively out of date when it comes to automotive drivetrain technology: the standard test procedure assumes that the typical stick-shift vehicle is "equipped with a manually operated gearbox having not more than four forward gear ratios."
There are alternative testing parameters for vehicles with highfalutin gearboxes with more than four forward ratios, and SAE has published updated versions of the test method since 1984. But the basic framework of J1470 seems insufficient for testing modern vehicles in 2021.
The Society of Automotive Engineers addressed this with an entirely new vehicle standard: SAE J2805, published in 2008 and updated as recently as May 2020. J2805 completely revamps the drive-by test procedure. Rather than a full-throttle (or nearly full-throttle) drive-by, J2805 lays out a hugely complex method of calculating the appropriate rate of acceleration for each individual vehicle being tested.
As the very first paragraph of J2805 states, this updated procedure
"is based on extensive statistical investigations of vehicle operation in real traffic." J2805 includes techniques appropriate for hybrid vehicles and other advanced drivetrain designs that did not exist when J1470 method was published.
Long story short, J2805 more accurately simulates "acceleration at a partial throttle condition in urban traffic."
Here's the problem:
California doesn't use J2805 because they always want to dictate vehicle standards for all of this country
Vehicle noise testing is performed by the California Highway Patrol, as defined by California Code of Regulations Title 13, Section 1046.
That regulation specifies SAE J1470 as the official testing procedure.
So while Porsche assumedly engineered the GT3 to pass the updated J2805 test with both available transmissions, in California, the old method is still the law of the land. (Porsche's spokesperson indicated that CHP has been planning to update its testing regulations to incorporate the new SAE procedure;
So for now, Porsche can't sell you a 502-horsepower 911 GT3 with a six-speed manual in California despite the fact that the PDK-equipped GT3 has the same engine, the same exact exhaust system, and, as far as we can tell, makes the same amount of noise.
"We don't know when the new SAE J2805 procedure will be adopted by California, therefore we can't guarantee the sale of the manual gearbox on the 911 GT3—and where there's doubt, we're always cautious," Porsche's spokesperson told Road & Track via email.
Our contact at Porsche was eager to point out that the noise regulation issue does not affect any other 911 variant, nor does it apply to the 718 Boxster or Cayman.
So if you want a brand-new sports car with a manual transmission, and you want to put a California license plate on it, you've got every model available to you except the one you really, really want.