Sportomatic v Tiptronic v PDK gearbox test

From the 2.4-litre 911E to the latest 991 Carrera via a 993 variant, our latest group test covers over 40 years of the 911’s legacy. However, I am not charting the traditional history of Zuffenhausen’s legendary sports car today, something that has been done with regular occurrence in the past 12 months.

No, I’ll leave such a celebration for the 911’s Diamond Anniversary in 2023. Instead, my attention is turned to each car’s gearbox, hidden away under the trio of enduring silhouettes before me.

At Total 911, we’re usually seen stirring a manual variation, my preferred shifting method of choice. Yet the ascendency of PDK now leaves me in a minority when it comes to new 911s.

Tiptronic Porsche 993
Tiptronic Porsche 993

This gear-shifting is undoubtedly the ‘air-cooled versus water-cooled’ debate for the 21st Century, with the issue coming to a head last year as the 991 GT3 was released with a compulsory PDK unit.

Nearly 12 months (and one scintillating test drive) since that revelatory announcement, I am still not enamoured with PDK, even if it is a technological marvel.

The issue of non-manual 911s is not a new one though. Since the late Sixties, you could choose to make your left leg redundant at the helm of a 911, with all three Stuttgart stunners before you leaving the factory bereft of a clutch pedal.

Porsche 991 PDK
Porsche 991 PDK

In our manual-versus-PDK test last year, I conceded that Porsche’s Doppelkupplungsgetriebe “outperformed the manual in every area”. Even then though, I still reached for the keys to the manual at the end of the day in a display of deep-rooted traditionalism that, if extrapolated to its logical extremes, would have me hunting for my dinner rather than heading to my local supermarket.

The very concept of these 911s is anathema to me, but ever the intrepid investigator, I am determined to find one to my liking. Having not driven a PDK ’box for a while, I’ll start with the 991. Maybe absence has made my heart grow fonder.

To find out how Josh got on with this trio of non-manual Porsche 911s, including a technological explanation of each gearbox, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 122 in store. Alternatively download it straight to your digital device now.

Porsche 911E Sportomatic
Porsche 911E Sportomatic

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