Top Gear Stick Shift Stress Test – Aston Martin Valour vs. Porsche 911 S/T

July 3rd, 2024

With today’s ever tightening environmental mandates and electric vehicle trends, it seems that the sun may be setting on the day of the manual transmission. On the dragstrip, automatic transmissions are just plain faster. On the street, stick shifts can be clunky and inconvenient. Nevertheless, there’s something nostalgic about a sports car with a manual gearbox. It feels a lot like freedom.

Top Gear located two premier sports cars that utilize manual transmissions and put them through a bit of a celebratory test. The lucky drivers are Top Gear Editor-in-Chief Jack Rix and Deputy Editor Ollie Kew. Nothing special about these gearheads, let’s check out the machines.

Imagine, if you will, that one of the entrants is a British-made supercar. The front engine, rear-wheel drive Aston Martin Valour dredges up memories of the DBS V8 Vantage. This burly Brit will be produced in limited quantities (only 110) and sold for the extravagant price of $2-million. Under the bonnet is a twin turbocharged 5.2-liter V12 engine that can produce 705hp. The big surprise? For the first time, the massive twin turbo V12 is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission (sort of). You see, the Valour utilizes a rear-mounted limited slip transaxle with a torque tube. This sleek work of art can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5-seconds with a top speed of 200 mph. If one were so inclined, one could clear the standing quarter-mile in 11.5-seconds behind the wheel of this illustrious roadster. Suspension and brake systems are equally impressive.

In the other lane is the Porsche 911 S/T. You could characterize this Porsche as a 911 GT3 Touring car with the track focused drivetrain of the GT3 RS – with a manual transmission. That entails a naturally aspirated 4.0-liter all-aluminum flat six engine capable of making 518hp. How? This thing revs to 8,500 RPM. The 911 S/T is a rear engine, rear-wheel drive roadster that can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5-seconds and turn the quarter-mile in 11.3-seconds with a top speed of 186 mph. In typical Porsche fashion, wheels, brakes and suspension are premium.

You gotta see what happens when these two hit the road.