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The 2025 Porsche 911 Isn’t Even Pretending to Be Analog Anymore

The new 911 loses two little interior quirks that made it unique.
Michael Tsui, TD

If one car on the planet is the poster child for nostalgia, it’s probably the Porsche 911.

It’s infamously rocked the “same” design since its debut in the ’60s. Its driving dynamics have been lauded for being no-nonsense and, at times, woefully unforgiving. It’s long been a champion of the manual transmission. And the company went on record last year to say that it would come with an internal combustion engine “for as long as possible.”


The Porsche 911 is a car for the type of folks who staunchly and unironically believe that things were indeed better in the old days—or, at least, it was. With the new 2025 911 Carrera, things seem to be changing. The big headlining advancement is, of course, the hybrid GTS model which uses an electric motor inside the eight-speed PDK alongside its 3.6-liter flat-six.

What’s more, as it stands, the 2025 911 won’t be available with a manual transmission as all of the variants that came with one are (temporarily, at least) going away. Yes, we’ll likely see the manual 911 return in the future, but either way, I’m not here to relitigate that. Because what has gone away seemingly on a more permanent basis are two little interior quirks that made the 911 uniquely nostalgic: the analog tachometer and the key-style engine switch.

Pour one out, Watch Guys, because yes, the Porsche 911’s instrument cluster is going all-digital in 2025. If you weren’t aware, the 911 still used an analog gauge to keep track of revs up until this point, and it was a charmingly cool clock to boot. I mean, just look at this guy right here:

2022 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet. Michael Tsui

Watching the needle physically make its way across the dial as you approach 7,000 rpm, flat-six ringing in your ears, eyes pressed against the back of your head, is an experience that sticks with you. In the 2025 911, however, all of this is now a screen, just like it is in *checks notes* every other luxury car being made today. Porsche 911 enthusiasts are perhaps the last people in the world one would need to explain why this is lame to. The Venn diagram of 911 stans and Rolex enjoyers is, after all, a circle.

Imagine if Omega came out with a “new” Speedmaster tomorrow and it was just an Apple Watch with a Speedmaster’s face installed. Not very cash money.


Another subtle downgrade: the engine start button.

Obviously, Porsches have not required you to stick any actual keys into any ignitions to start ’em for quite a while now, but up until this point, the starter was a key-shaped switch that you twist and sort of made you feel like you were starting an old race car. Couple that with the fact that it was positioned on the left of the steering wheel and the Le Mans cosplay was complete.

For 2025, the starter is still on the left, but it’s now a simple button just like—again—pretty much every other car being made today.


Now, I know what you might be thinking. Neither of these things make the new 911 any less of a driver’s car and I’m sure it’s still a fantastic piece of machinery (the benchmark, even!) in that regard. But it has lost some of the magic. Twisting the engine-start switch, watching an actual, not-drawn-on needle wake up on the dash made driving the 911 feel that bit more physical, more analog than its peers. More old school. More connected to its roots. And isn’t that what the 911 is all about?

And what pains me is unlike the switch to liquid cooling, power steering, or, now, hybrid power, it’s not like full-digital instrument screens and push-button start are big engineering shifts necessary to keep the 911 competitive or current. They’re gestures.

These are small details not that consequential to the actual driving experience and, if we’re being frank, the 911 (non-GT ones, at least) hasn’t been the raw, widowmaking, churn-your-own-butter beast that it perhaps used to be in a long time. But this is a luxury car we are talking about. It’s all about the details, it’s all about The Experience, and everything matters. That’s what you’re paying for. And for the money Porsche is asking, would it have killed the 911 for it to pretend just a little bit longer?


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