Seven reasons PDK is better than manual

It’s the perennial debate: what’s the better transmission for your Porsche 911, PDK or the old-fashioned manual shifter? PDK sales are currently usurping the manual choice across the 991-generation’s Carrera range (as it’s currently the only 911 where you’re even given the choice) and for good reason, too. Of course, those who hail from the draconian era of automotive operation will invariably battle fiercely in favour of the manual, yet they are quite obviously (and ever so humorously) wrong. Here’s seven of the best reasons why:


1) PDK is faster

Porsche’s double clutch (which is quite literally what ‘doppelkupplung’ translates to) gearbox can switch gears in less than 100 milliseconds. With even the best will in the world, that’s a figure that’s never going to be challenged by a manual shift in a competition-spec sequential ‘box, let alone on a road-going sportscar. Changing gears quickly means keeping drive supplied to the wheels, which propels you up the road faster. In a car such as the 911, which has track capabilities in mind, this is a good thing. A very, very good thing.



2) PDK is more economical

Like it or not, we have to care about the environment these days (it’s why Porsche is having to adopt turbocharged engines for the 911 in the autumn, after all). With that in mind, PDK is again the winner: the car’s intelligent ECU is adept at saving fuel and eeking out MPG while not taking too much away from the driving experience, even if that does mean Carreras now have that annoying coasting function jumping into play as soon as the driver jumps off the accelerator pedal. Having a better MPG means you don’t have to visit the petrol station as much, which means you’re using less fuel today, which in turn means more fuel will be around for longer, enabling you to continue using your pride and joy on the road long after your 991 is considered a ‘classic’.


3) PDK promotes longevity in a sportscar

Nobody wants to buy a used 911 with battered teeth on the transmission cogs through missed gear changes. Even worse, nobody wants a GT3 with a documented history of over-revs (a quick plug-in and you’ll be able to check these days, remember). PDK eliminates these grave problems rather nicely. It means you can sell your 911 with confidence when the time comes, and if you’re on the other end of the bargain, you can buy with confidence that your expensive transmission is in rude health, too.


4) PDK makes performance cars useable day-to-day

Ever tried driving a high-powered performance car around town and winced at the weight of the pedal every time you’ve tried to deploy the clutch? Again, PDK eliminates this, making high-powered 911s such as the Turbo, Turbo S and GT3 useable day-to-day. You’ll have to give that left thigh a workout elsewhere.


5) PDK is still engaging

Believe it or not, you can still have fun in a 911 equipped with PDK. Simply use the paddles (on a Sport Design wheel) to keep the super-quick 991 Turbo or Turbo S in it’s impressive torque band, or get the left peg involved in using the brake pedal for even quicker driving. Carrera Cup drivers still have fun competing without a manual shifter for company, so you should be fine, too.



6) PDK is simple

PDK means no more missed gears, which is quite an achievement in the seven-speed manual 991. Also, Porsche has (perhaps deliberately?) muddied the experience of the manual gearbox in 991s by making the driver constantly battle across clunky gates, with an overtly weighty throw on C4 models. With PDK, you can still enjoy ‘manual’ mode, using the shifter like a sequential ‘box, pulling it ‘to’ for change ups and ‘away’ for lightning-quick change downs in a GT3. Remember though, it’s the other way around in Turbo/Carrera models.


7) PDK is the future

Quite simply, the days of the manual shifter are numbered. As I’ve already mentioned, even the Carrera Cup and Supercup drivers have done away with the manual gear shifter, and the road cars are the spiritual essence of these track-focused thoroughbreds. Sure, the manual transmission is fun in a traditional, romanticist automotive manner, but technology has evolved and it is us who must also evolve with it.



Do you agree? Comment below or tweet us @Total911 with your thoughts.

Comments (14)

  • Jaume Porschista

    YEEES I agree.

  • Winston Thomas

    No heel and toe though which is half the fun of driving.

  • Roderic Seow

    And then came the GT4….Manual only…. 😉

  • Steven Heath

    I do enjoy my 997 manual , it feels part of the enjoyment .

  • Scott Couper

    I race a manual car and let me tell you after 44 heel and toe changes every lap with a heavy racing clutch you would kill for a PDK. Lewis does well with something similar. Time to enjoy the 21st century boys.

  • Craig

    I’m all for PDK and I wish they did away with pedals altogether and made
    the wheel like a PlayStation controller. I’m tired of getting all
    sweaty and working out my poor little feet.

    In fact, I wish they
    just made the cars drive by themselves that way we could sit out and
    watch our cars drive without putting ourselves in harms way.

    should probably put each car on it’s own rail too, that way it would be
    impossible to bump into another car, because I don’t want to scratch my
    $10,000 paint job.

    Member when we had RC cars as kids? That’s how God intended racing to be.

  • Col H

    Right. And a microwave makes the oven seem a bit redundant. Last PDK experience I had had me playing tunes with the engine out of boredom within 5 minutes. Luckily, Porsche are sticking with the manual for now, and there is a small divide growing between the cars being produced for those buying Porsches because of what it is, and those few still buying them because of what it does.

  • Col H

    Right. And I could give you 8 reasons why a microwave is better than an oven.

  • enzomedici

    You still got an 8-track for your music?

  • Col H

    Haha. Because that’s analogous. And original. And all new technology is better than the technology it replaces in every way.

  • Craig

    What a pile off rubbish
    Yes pdk box is fantastic I’ve been lucky enough to own a 991 turbo s
    Fantastic car fantastic box
    But more off a rocket ship than a normal drivers car yes bet it’s fantastic on a track
    Or on the autobahn but risking 150k for a mear mortal who works hard for a living to risk crashing it on a track no chance

    I’m a biker so love the twistys
    Previous to the 991 turbo s I owned an r8 v8 manual most fun I’ve ever had in a car on twisty roads,the turbo s much much faster car in a straight line
    I’m no racing driver but it was not much faster around the tight twistys and it did not give me the same grin as the r8 v8 manual did
    Pdk fantastic if it’s a everyday car if it’s a weekend toy manual everyday

    So my point anyway 991 turbo s gone before I lost my licence with the fantastic simple launch control but replaced it with a 991 speced up 4s 7 speed MANUAL a missed gear a error change three pedals
    A weekend toy

    Yes pdk defo faster easier drive easier to get the best out off the car
    Just Hold on foot down PlayStation
    Rocket ship
    But smile on the face as a weekend toy making mistakes missed shifts shouting at your self
    toe and heel FUN
    Has to be manual all day long

    but I do aggre 7 speed manual a stupit idea and the box is not as good as the old 996 well as I remember
    But it is still engaging

    Pdk can never be classed as a manual why would you use the paddles
    Put it in Sport plus the box thinks faster than your brain enless you are a real racing driver a guess
    and using the paddles you can still guff up changes and downshifts and instead off shouting at your self it’s a shock when the machine is better then the man so pdk just leave it to the car
    Is driving not meant to be engaging?
    audi new r8 plus flying machine drove it and felt as fast as the Turbo s to me but auto only
    Porsche pdk faster than there manual’s period hence
    Turbo s auto only
    All about performance figures as we are all racing drivers
    And driving our 100k plus motors everyday to work (at the race track) hahaha what a joke
    I drive a chilled relaxing Range Rover everyday and when I what to have fun I jump on my bike or in my car and go for an engaging drive alone some nice twisty roads not to the track doing lap times
    But guess that’s just me

  • protosphere

    It is the entire fun of driving a manual.

    This is where Ferrari dropped the ball by catering to the rich who can’t drive. Even a 4WD makes a bad driver look better. These are all sports car killers. At least Corvette still has it right and American cars for American roads makes them that much sweeter than this stingy German junk that is now also water cooled to jackboot.

  • protosphere

    Bad sell. How do you know? No I wouldn’t.

  • Michael Ross

    PDK is a manual, it’s just a faster manual..I have no regrets buying my 911 equipped with PDK, and I’ll never look backward.. If one doesn’t like PDK , it just means their porsche isn’t really being driven.