You Can’t Buy a Manual Porsche 911 GT3 in California

You can’t buy a manual Porsche 911 GT3 in California.

In California, you can’t buy a manual Porsche 911 GT3 (a.k.a. the Carrera S) unless you’re willing to forgo the ideal for a manual transmission and spend the extra bucks on a PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung) transmission. What makes it more confusing is that it’s still legal to buy an S2 model and modify it to have a manual transmission, because it doesn’t include a PDK.

Porsche’s 911 GT3 is one of the most track-focused and hardcore offerings from the German brand. Generally powered by a naturally-aspirated flat-six motor, the GT3 is known for being an absolute screamer of a vehicle, revving to 9,000 RPM. In the past, if customers still wanted the performance of the GT3 with a little more streetablility, the Touring option has been there for those so inclined. Now, California says you can’t have yours. More on that in a bit. Time to learn a little about why this is such a travesty first.

The 911 GT3 Touring is Porsche perfection

911 GT3 Touring | Porsche

If you wanted a GT3 that wouldn’t snap your spine down a bumpy road, your options were limited. That is, until 2017. Beginning that year, Porsche would remove the GT3’s dining table-sized rear wing in favor of a more understated extending unit that rose from the rear deck. The German marque would also soften the suspension just a touch to make the car more palatable off-track.

Journalists loved them, especially because the Touring-spec GT3 could be had with a traditional six-speed manual transmission. For some, this is the best way to enjoy the GT car experience. Windows down, wind in hair, spine intact. Porsche expects the new Touring to be just as popular this time around. That is, save for one place: California. What’s worse, the brand was only told of this after many customers had placed orders.

Too bad you can’t have one in California

911 GT3 Touring | Porsche

So, why won’t the Golden State let you have your fun? After all, weed is legal but a Porsche isn’t? Come on. It’s all due to a particular section of the California Code of Regulations, or CCR. The offending law speaks to a section put forth by the Society of Automotive Engineers, which helps regulate automobiles in the state. Turns out, the law is rather outdated.

Last revised in 1998, the “exterior noise criteria” states that the manual-equipped 911 GT3 is too loud. Awfully targeted given the state is plagued by straight-piped Dodge Challengers. It’s definitely a little odd, as a transmission doesn’t necessarily make a car louder. Presumably, a PDK-equipped GT3 Touring will be just as loud at full tilt. Apparently, Porsche is stuck waiting around hoping that the CCR will update the regulations to bring the Touring cars into compliance.

What does this mean for enthusiasts?

The Stuttgart marque’s legendary badge | Jakub Porzycki via Getty Images

This certainly doesn’t bode well for stick-shift purists living in California. If the state thinks the GT3 Touring is too loud, wait till they hear the new V12-powered Ferrari, whenever that releases. Regulations like this are common near race tracks, but it could bode ill for the future of performance cars in the EV era.

Manufacturers have to meet tens of thousands of global regulations when bringing an entirely new car into production. Perhaps it’s inevitable that this was going to happen. Everyone makes mistakes, and maybe this one just slipped by Porsche. Regardless, we’re still waiting on comment from the brand regarding the issue with the GT3 Touring.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Porsche GT3 manual?

No, the Porsche GT3 is an automatic.

Does the GT3 RS come in manual?

No, the GT3 RS is only available with a PDK transmission.

Can you daily drive a 911 GT3?

No, I can’t.

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