How Does the Porsche PDK Transmission Work?

December 5th, 2019 by

If you’ve been shopping for a Porsche 911 or many other models including the 718 Cayman, the 718 Boxster, the Panamera, or the Macan, you may have come across a serious decision outside of which model to select – whether to go with a more traditional manual or PDK. Understanding a bit more about how the PDK works could convince you that this is the right way forward. 

Porsche 911, PDK transmission

A Bit of History

For years, anything outside of a manual transmission was considered sacrilege in a sports car like a Porsche. The brand first released a Porsche 911 with Sportomatic transmission in 1967, though, and few believed it could win anyone over. That certainly didn’t stop Porsche, though. In 1980, though, it released the PDK transmission. Literally translated, it means Porsche double-clutch transmission, and it works a bit like other DCTs you might see throughout the industry today. By 1983, all of the 956 Group C racers included it, and it added real power on the track. It wasn’t until 2008 that Porsche started releasing it to those who drive every single day, though. 

How Does It Work?

The PDK has two gearboxes. You’ll find a hydraulically actuated wet-clutch that helps lubricate the transmission, and if you’re in the right gear, you’ll also find one to alternate the power to two different driveshafts. Once you choose a gear, the other gearbox selects the next gear. That means that one clutch open and the other rapidly closes, so you may never even notice the gear changes. Because they’re wet, the clutches never overheat. You can get eight gears on some models. On those with just seven, the sixth gear is actually your fastest speed while gear seven helps to offer your vehicle better fuel economy. The eight speed has both gears seven and eight giving you a bit more comfort when you drive. 

Which Is Better? 

Trying to make the decision is tough, but the reality is that many people prefer the PDK transmission. In fact, 75 percent of all Porsche 718s and 911s are ordered with PDK. It offers faster acceleration, and given that it was originally developed for the track, shift times are faster than you might imagine. In fact, when it was first released, it meant shift times that were 60 percent faster and increased acceleration. Today, those numbers have only gotten stronger. It’s also pretty versatile and means lower fuel consumption ratings as well as a lower overall vehicle weight. Many have noticed that it spells longevity, too, as well as simplicity. 

PDK may be different, but it certainly means some serious benefits for Porsche drivers.

Posted in Performance