Porsche Doppelkupplung (double clutch) or PDK Explained

porsche-pkd-transmissionIf you can't pronounce the name of Porsche's new double clutch, seven speed transmission technology, you're not alone. Not to worry, the Porsche marketing folks were kind enough to add to the growing list of alphabet soup options by providing the Porsche Doppelkupplung with its very own acronym: PDK. Originally developed for Porsche Motorsports, over two decades ago, this seven speed, advanced transmission has finally made its way (as an option) into the Porsche 911 line-up for the first time.

What's the Biggest Benefit of the Porsche PDK

Simple: SPEED. The dual clutch provides barely perceptible shift points with little to no power loss. This translates into more speed and faster lap times, much faster. The latest reports I've seen show a 911 Carrera S (equipped with PDK) shaving 8 seconds from the lap time, clocked by the manually equipped model on, "the Ring," not to mention a few tenths of a second off the zero to sixty time.

Surprisingly, given today's economic and environmental climate, you would think that Porsche would be pushing some of the other benefits of the PDK transmission. Namely, its ability to provide up to 14% better fuel economy over the manual version. With all the heat Porsche has been taking in the press in recent months about emissions, CAFE regulations, etc. the PR department at Porsche should be all over this aspect of the seven-speed transmission.

How Does Porsche PDK Work?

This video below, produced by Porsche and available on the Porsche microsite, does a great job of breaking down the dual-clutch technology into every day language so even non-gearheads, like me, can understand. My only question is: "When will Porsche make the switch to more standardized paddles vs. those little bitty thumb-shifters?"

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12 Comments

  1. Bob I says

    First, I am no Porsche expert…

    But I do have a serious question. What ever happened to the thrill of throwing a perfect shift using a clutch pedal and stick shifter mounted on the transmission? Didn’t this very action make up some portion of the excitement… and of expertise of drivers of these great cars? And didn’t this action require skill and practice to get it right?

    Automatic transmissions and thumb/paddle shifting on the steering column just doesn’t seem right to me. it seems it’s all about getting from point A to point B in the fastest possible time with the least amount of effort. If this is the motivation, how about a new Honda personal jet?

  2. says

    @Bob I,

    I think the thill is still there and that is why PDK is an option. However, I am now seeing some stats that over 80% of new 911s are coming delivered with PDK. If that’s true, those are some pretty frightening numbers.

    I for one prefer a manual shift and always will. I’ve driven cars with paddle shifter, tiptronics, etc. The “seat of the pants” feel for the ride/drive just isn’t the same. Not to mention it has taken me almost 10 years to master double clutching and heal toe shifting. I’m not about to give that up!!!

  3. Steve says

    Seriously… I am so for this. This is not an automatic tranmission that they give you mild control over and shifts like a beast… This is the real deal. F1-style shifting. The thing that impressed me was the improved times around the ‘Ring. I read a press release from Porsche that the PDK 997 is faster around Nordschleife than the stick.

    Wish I had the graft for a 997S to replace my 996… I would get this option for sure.

  4. says

    @Steve,

    You are correct. A Porsche Carrera S equipped with the PDK will complete a circuit around the “ring” eight (8) seconds faster than a manual version Carerra, that’s pretty damn impressive.

  5. Redding says

    Part of the feel of driving is shifting. When I want something to do the work for me I’ve got a Minivan with an automatic. I can’t imagine buying one with the PDK personally.

  6. JDnHuntsvilleAL says

    “When one gear is engaged, the other gear is already being selected in the other gearbox.”
    ~
    Sounds great, for UP-shifting, but when you DOWN-shift it sounds like that “other gear” would have to “change its mind” and make an even bigger move. Is that how it feels?

    • says

      Not at all. Downshifts differ depending on the driving mode you’re in. However, regardless of mode, all are smooth and seamless. You will simply notice a blip in the RPMs and then a slight braking feeling if you’re downshifting at speed (same as you would in a manual transmission).

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