How Porsche Does Dual-Clutch: What is PDK?

Image of the mechanics of a Porsche PDK

PDK. Porsche Doppelkupplung. We mention it in passing, often in close proximity to talk of engines, horsepower, and torque. We don’t mean to be flippant, nor do we assume that everyone will understand what we are referring to.

In the simplest terms, PDK is a solution to a problem that Porsche’s engineers dared to solve. It has revolutionized the way we think of automatic transmissions. Here’s how it works.

Porsche Doppelkupplung: Pursuing Perfection

A Porsche is a driver’s car. This simple fact is the reason that so many cars throughout the brand’s history have been offered with a manual transmission. A manual offers direct control. It gives the driver sole ownership over every decision made behind the wheel. It communicates the feeling of the road unlike anything else. Still, Porsche’s engineers pride themselves on pushing their cars further, and the PDK was conceived as a means of elevating the sports car.

As a dual-clutch transmission, PDK builds off of the concept of an automatic. The difference is that there are two clutches and two gear sets. Odd and even gears are split between two separately engaged input shafts. When one gear is engaged, the gears immediately above and below it are preselected on the other input shaft. This means to shift up or down, one clutch opens at the same time the other closes, with shifts occurring in milliseconds.

PDK is a 7-speed transmission. Top speed is reached in sixth gear, while seventh gear enables advanced fuel-saving capabilities such as the ability to decouple the transmission from the engine while coasting. Drivers can also choose to operate in manual mode, shifting via paddles on the wheel or by manipulating the gear select lever. Just like in a Porsche racing car, you pull the lever toward you for an upshift and tip it away from you for a downshift.

Modern breakthroughs have allowed for the full realization of PDK as an option on nearly every Porsche model. Breakthroughs in electronics and hydraulics allow the control unit for the transmission to maintain constant communication with the engine and ABS/PSM control units. That level of mechanical synergy allows for an optimal shift strategy with pristine engine revs during shifts.

The engineers have also cut the original weight of the PDK in half (from 88 lbs. to 44 lbs.) by arranging the gearbox with one gear input shaft housed within the other. This configuration also has the benefit of reducing bulk.

PDK vs. Manual: The Choice is Still Yours

According to Porsche’s Excellence Magazine, customers have embraced PDK and understand that it isn’t a compromise in performance. In fact, it regularly outperforms the average driver, especially in combination with Sport or Sport Plus modes. It’s no surprise then that customers have opted for PDK 90 percent of the time since it was first offered.

There will always be a place for the pure driving experience offered by a manual transmission, but the precision and effortlessness offered by PDK is worth more than a passing glance. The good news is, Porsche Auto Gallery is able to respect and facilitate either option for you, no matter what. Regardless of your preference, our staff will do whatever it takes to find the car for you.

Schedule a visit to our showroom in Woodland Hills today so we can introduce you firsthand to the power of Porsche.

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