Here's why Porsche wasn't going to be able to sell the manual 911 GT3 in California

A state-specific sound regulation is to blame.

Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
Steven Ewing
2 min read
2022 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring
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2022 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring

Wing or no wing? You can't go wrong.


Update: On June 22, Porsche confirmed that it will now be allowed to sell 911 GT3 models with manual transmissions in the state of California. Click here to read the full update. The text below is unchanged from the original publish date.

When debuted the 2022 911 GT3 Touring on Tuesday, a line at the end of the press release caught my eye: "The seven-speed PDK gearbox will be the only transmission offered in California with the 911 GT3." That's a big ol' sad trombone for those of us in the Golden State. Doubly so because all GT3s are affected, not just the Touring.

So, what gives? "We have to fully accept and respect national and local guidelines in every market -- not just in the US but around the world," Porsche said in a statement. "Unfortunately, this precludes a manual gearbox option on the 911 GT3 in the state of California because of a sound regulation that is in the process of being updated. We had anticipated an updated regulation at the time of launch, but this process is not yet complete."

The issue has to do with an outdated California Code of Regulations testing procedure (SAE J1470) that dates back to 1992, when manual cars had four or five gears. A newer version of this test -- SAE J2805 -- was made available in May 2020, but it has not been adopted by the California Highway Patrol. "We understand that CHP has been planning to update [the test] to incorporate the new SAE procedure," Porsche said. "At this juncture, we are awaiting this regulatory claim."

A six-speed manual transmission will be offered on all 911 GT3 models sold outside of California, but "we are unable to confirm if a manual gearbox for the 911 GT3 will be offered in California in the future," Porsche said. This is something the company surely hopes will change, since California makes up a huge percentage of Porsche's US sales, and the US is one of the company's largest markets. On top of that, some 70% of all GT3s sold in the US have manual transmissions.

The first 2022 911 GT3s will be delivered to US customers this fall with Touring models arriving in early 2022. Both GT3 variants are priced from $162,450 including $1,350 for destination, and the manual transmission is a no-cost option.

Porsche says this outdated California testing method does not affect the six- or seven-speed manual gearboxes used in the 718 Boxster, 718 Cayman or the rest of the 911 range. The automaker assures me, "The manual is alive and well."

2022 Porsche 911 GT3: Sports car par excellence

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Originally published June 15, 3:01 p.m. PT.
Update, 3:37 p.m.: Adds information about California Code of Regulations testing procedure.