If you’re getting a new Porsche you’re going to have to take lessons in German, because you’ll need to be able to say “Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe, please.”
This is the wave of the future, the new(er) sevenspeed dual clutch transmission from Porsche, now in its third generation. Even the new GT3 is now only offered exclusively with PDK. You cannot get it with a stick shift!
To me, sports cars make a connection between the driver and the car through the shifter. Taking a manual transmission Porsche to the track or on a spirited drive on tight and winding mountain roads is like going to church. Having to concentrate on accelerating, braking, steering and shifting, and making it all seem effortless and appear like a ballet requires a lot of effort and after a session like that I generally finish “cleansed” in body and soul.
One of my fondest memories is remembering my Dad teaching me to drive. Learning to synchronize letting out the clutch with the left foot while smoothly accelerating with the right was jarring, to say the least. I remember the jerking forward and stopping as my left foot let out too soon, but I overcame, and within a short time became a very smooth driver.
A year or so later my Dad decided it was time for me to learn to heel-and-toe. He was then, as I am now, a track junkie, and having one of his sons also enjoy anything that burned rubber and gasoline made him want to teach me everything he knew about cars, and he knew a great deal.
But I’m now somewhat saddened because my children probably won’t be able to teach my grandkids how to drive a stick, because there won’t be any. Well, there’ll be my Boxster, which will live forever, but you know what I mean.
There’s no doubt though, that the Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe is an incredible feat of engineering, capable of extremely fast shifting. It also makes shift points get their bearings from the driving dynamics of the driver. Upshifts and especially downshifts are perfect and made almost at the speed of light. Downshifts are even done with rev-matching, much better than the heel-and-toe of our dreams!
Having a PDK-equipped Porsche eliminates the requirement for heel-and-toe’ing and shifting, which in turn allows the driver to better concentrate on steering, accelerating and braking, making him/her a faster driver around the track.
Porsche calls it a dual-clutch manual, but we all know it’s an automatic. I mean, it shifts for you without any input and that’s the definition of an automatic, even though it has some pretty cool steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. So, the joy of being one with the car and the road will very soon come to an end when the last Porsche stick shift is made (probably sooner than we expect).
But if there’s one thing I enjoy more than shifting and heel-and-toe’ing, it’s lowering my lap times at the track, so I can’t wait to have one of the new generation Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe-equipped Porsches.
I guess I’ll just start teaching German to my grandkids so that they can properly pronounce: Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe.
To learn more about PDK please visit my website at:
Tech Editor’s Note: Porsche’s PDK transmission is much more than an “automatic”.
Some of us may prefer a traditional manual shift transmission, and that may be fine for a car that is only driven occasionally and purely for enjoyment. But for those of us who use our performance cars on daily commutes as well as for enjoyment, the benefits of a high-performance “auto” transmission can outweigh the feeling that something has been lost when we let machinery operate the clutch and shift forks for us. Perhaps the biggest negative for a manual shift car is experienced during stop-and-go traffic as the endless engaging and disengaging the clutch can not only wear the clutch plate surface out, but also wear out the driver! Furthermore the days of manual transmission cars being faster than their auto-equipped counterparts are pretty much over. Read on to learn Pedro Bonilla’s opinion about Porsche’s PDK and why Porsche is going all-in with this “automatic”.
As always, submit your ideas for future tech articles to me at George@ONeillAdvisors.ca and even better, consider writing your own article for us to publish.