2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet: PDK Dual-Clutch Transmission Is Brilliant
February 13, 2013
Okay, as much as I'd prefer that our long-term 2013 Porsche 911 was equipped with the conventional manual gearbox, I have to acknowledge the brilliance of its PDK transmission. It really is the best dual-clutch gearbox in production today. Not only does it shift imperceptibly smoothly, the gear changes occur in what appears to be no time at all. These characteristics are no surprises, and they're ones we've come to expect from competent, modern dual-clutch gearboxes.
What makes PDK stand above the rest is its manners, intuitive programming and quick reflexes. Unlike many other dual-clutch 'boxes, with PDK there's no low-speed nonsense, no clunkiness, and during three-point turns it swaps between 'R' and 'D' and back right now.
It just always seems to do the right thing at the right time. It's hard to describe, but here's one example. Floor the gas from low revs and hold it there, whereupon the PDK of course downshifts, causing the revs to soar. If you suddenly lift near redline, it will hold that gear at high revs to provide engine braking until you touch the gas again. Here's where it's smart: If you just barely roll into the throttle, it immediately upshifts multiple gears because it knows that you're back into cruising mode. Return to the throttle with a heavy foot and it continues to hold that gear.
This strategy is what drivers would intuitively expect. However, it wouldn't work right were it not for PDK's lightning-fast responses. It just executes everything immediately and without error. Very impressive. Aside from console lever's backwards push-to-upshift layout, the PDK box was clearly calibrated by drivers, for drivers.
I'd still buy my 911 with a manual gearbox.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor