Tips & advice

What is Porsche PDK?

It’s more than just an automatic, but what is Porsche’s PDK gearbox and how does it work?

Porsche 911 Carrera 4 - Coupe and Cabriolet static

If you are considering buying a new or used Porsche, or if if you are just a fan of the brand, you may have seen the letters PDK appearing in the specification of a particular car and wondered what it stood for.

Put simply, PDK means a dual-clutch automatic gearbox; the name comes from the German ‘Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe’ which translates as Porsche dual-clutch gearbox.

Advertisement - Article continues below

• DSG: what is a Direct Shift Gearbox?

The PDK system has largely replaced the conventional Tiptronic gearbox across the Porsche range since it was first introduced in 2007, although the current and previous generation Cayenne models still use a conventional automatic gearbox.

The basic principles of PDK are the same as with most dual-clutch gearboxes in that they have two clutches and, in essence, two gearboxes combined into one casing. One clutch operates on first, third, fifth, seventh and reverse gears, with the second clutch managing second, fourth and sixth gears. 

Porsche originally trialled the technology in the 1960s and fitted it to its dominant 962 Group C racing cars, but it took another two decades of development before it was deemed fit for use in production road cars.

Porsche 911 Carrera 4 - interior

What this means is that, unlike a manual gearbox, when one gear disengages the next is engaged so quickly that the interruption in power is almost imperceptible, with shift times of under 100 milliseconds. This also improves acceleration times, as a 718 Cayman with a manual gearbox takes 5.3 seconds to reach 62mph from rest, whereas a PDK-equipped car can achieve the same sprint in 4.9 seconds - add the Sport Chrono package with launch control and this is further cut to 4.7 seconds.

The rapid and near-seamless shift speed boosts comfort as well as performance, with ultra-smooth shifting when the gearbox is left in fully automatic mode. 

Conversely, all PDK models are fitted with paddle shifters or buttons that allow drivers to take control of shifting themselves, and here the speed of shift means sharp responses to the driver’s inputs.

Porsche Taycan Turbo S review

A further bonus with PDK is efficiency. Although the more complex gearbox weighs around 30kg more than an equivalent manual, the overall efficiency of the transmission is improved. As an example, the manual 718 Cayman claims a maximum WLTP combined consumption of 32.8mpg, compared to 33.2mpg for the PDK-equipped model.

Have you used Porsche's PDK gearbox? Let us know in the comments below...




Porsche sets sales record and huge profit in spite of new dieselgate fine

Porsche has sold in excess for 280,000 cars worldwide for the first time
20 Mar 2020

Porsche and Lucasfilm unveil concept Starfighter

The two companies have designed and built a Starship, which will be unveiled at the premiere of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
13 Dec 2019
Porsche flying car

Porsche and Boeing announce flying car project

Porsche and Boeing have signed an agreement which will see the two companies co-develop and all-electric flying car
11 Oct 2019
PASM cutaway

Is Porsche’s Active Suspension Management system worth it?

We give you an overview of Porsche’s PASM electronic active damping system – and a verdict on whether you should spec it on your car
10 Oct 2019

Most Popular


Most Wanted Cars 2020: poll

Decide which classic car you would most want to see brought back from the dead by an all new model
27 Mar 2020

30 brilliant boredom beaters for car fans

Stay at home, stay safe and enjoy some pure automotive escapism in the form of the very best content from Dennis Publishing’s leading car brands.
27 Mar 2020

'The temporary shutdown of car factories could benefit manufacturers and customers'

With car factories around the world closing temporarily, it may give manufacturers the chance to clear out the current backlog of unsold new cars, say…
28 Mar 2020