More than three-quarters of all delivered Porsche 718 and 911 models today are equipped with a Porsche dual-clutch (PDK) system. The figure rises to 100 percent for the Panamera and Macanb — a manual transmission is no longer offered in these model ranges.

But what is PDK, and how does it work?

In the PDK, the gears are distributed between two separate clutches — hence the name. The odd gears and reverse are connected to clutch I, while the even gears are connected to clutch II. The technology enables fully automatic gear changes without traction interruption.

Similar to a manual shifter, the individual gears are selected using shift forks; in the PDK system, it’s done through computer-aided electrohydraulics. The result is a synthesis of manual and automatic shifting. Efficiency, dynamics, and comfort are an unrivaled combination in the PDK.

For all its day-to-day usability, the PDK system was initially used exclusively in the world of motorsports after its introduction in 1983. This transmission type offers a significant advantage, particularly in combination with turbo engines: unlike with a manual transmission, drivers can keep their foot on the gas during gear changes, and the charge pressure of the turbo is retained. Traction interruption? Not a bit of it.

The extent to which Porsche has optimized its dual-clutch transmission from generation to generation is demonstrated by the current 911 Carrera 4S. The eight-speed PDK comes standard, and gear changes now take place in milliseconds. The result: the sports car accelerates from 0 to 100 kmh in 3.6 seconds, and in just 3.4 seconds with the Sport Chrono package. That would be out of the question with a manually shifted car.

In short, PDK doesn’t simply deliver greater comfort; it delivers superior performance. Purists may enjoy the greater involvement of a manual transmission, but PDK technology is here to stay.

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