When the Porsche 911 GT3, traditionally regarded as the world’s finest driver’s car, came back for its most recent generation with electric steering and an automatic gearbox, the consensus was that the days of sports cars with true mechanical feel and interactions were behind us.

Two cars since, from the same department at the same company, have proved otherwise: the Porsche Cayman GT4 and the new Porsche 911 R.

You don’t need me to blabber on how great the GT4 is – and how good the 911 R probably will be – for the reasons why, but what is interesting is the theory behind it, and how the 911 R in particular came about.

Read our full Porsche 911 R review here

I sat down with Porsche GT boss Andreas Preuninger at the Geneva motor show yesterday. He started on a philosophical point, stating that sports cars with normally aspirated engines and manual gearboxes will be “around forever”. Real mechanical tools, in other words.

Indeed, he reckoned they could soon become commonplace in the market. “Look at the classic car market. Why do you think people are buying classics? It’s for character. It’s the true old-school motoring feeling people long for. Modern cars, as fast as they are, don’t really have character. They go fast, but you get out after driving them and lack enthusiasm.”