Flying in the faces of every other manufacturer on the planet, waving two fingers at conventional wisdom with an arrogance that puts me right off the company, Porsche has eschewed steering wheel paddles in favor of some pretty horrible toggle switches sited on either side. They both do the same thing: push forward for an up change, pull back for a down change. You might be wondering what the problem is but all other cars like this have a paddle on the left of the wheel for downshifts and one on the right for upshifts. Having buttons on either side that do both is just infuriating.

Frequently, I ended up changing from Second into First when I actually wanted Third. This made for far from smooth progress because I had to think about what direction to use the button, which put me off my stroke, and I hate them for it, and it wasn't just me because every single journalist on the launch said exactly the same thing. Porsche has screwed up but will they ever admit it? Not a chance.

You may be thinking, well, just use the stick to shift through the gears but they've ruined this too. In any race car, it's push forward to change down, pull back to change up-it's that way because it fits our natural inclination. But the PDK, of course, does it the other way round and yes, I hate them for it.

So, probably the finest, most usable sports car available today but, for now at least, stick with the manual. The PDK is not available on the Carrera 4 or the Turbo but it's only a matter of time, and if Porsche has even an ounce of humility they'll come equipped with a different, intuitive way of changing gear, and they'll be stunningly good. Don't hold your breath.

2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S

Longitudinal rear engine, rear-wheel drive

3.8-liter flat-six, dohc, 24-valve, direct fuel injection

Seven-speed dual wet clutch sequential PDK

MacPherson struts, coil springs, and dampers (f), multilink, coil springs, and dampers (r)

Four-piston calipers, ventilated and perforated rotors (12.9 inches), ABS, optional PCCB

Length/Width/Height (in.): 174.6/71.2/51.2
Wheelbase: 92.5 in.
Curb Weight: 3,142 lb

Peak Power: 385 hp @ 6500 rpm
Peak Torque: 310 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
0-62 mph: 4.5 sec.
Top Speed: 186 mph

Price Tag

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