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 |  Dec 01 2010, 8:52 AM

Despite tremendous advances in automatic transmissions over the past decade, many driving enthusiasts still prefer a traditional stick shift and clutch. A testament to just how tightly the less-than-silent minority of three-pedal drivers is, came when BMW tried to drop the 6-speed manual from the previous generation M5. The uproar was so significant that eventually BMW execs and product planners changed their minds, offering a 6-speed manual with the warning that it will be slower than the SMG.

Advances like the dual-clutch transmission have led to faster shift times than a manual, while 7-speed and 8-speed auto-boxes, not to mention a rumored 9-speed unit by Mercedes-Benz and an upcoming 10-speed transmission by Hyundai mean that there’s no longer a fuel efficiency reason to choose a stick shift either.

Porsche may look to extend an olive branch to traditionalists with the launch of the next generation 911. According to a report by Road & Track, the German sports car maker may look to offer a 7-speed manual transmission, in addition to its 7-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic. The extra gear should help the stick-shift tranny keep up with the PDK, both in terms of acceleration and fuel economy.

Other details about the next 911 include a 3.4-liter flat-six in the base Carrera, with the Carrera S possibly getting a 3.8L with as much as 400-hp. Also look for a lighter curb weight and a wheelbase that’s a total of 4-inches longer.

[Source: Road&Track]