Should you buy a 911 with PDK or a manual transmission? Yes
Arguing for (and also for) the two transmission options in the latest Porsche 911
With news yesterday that Porsche is living up to its promise of offering a proper seven-speed manual transmission on the 992-series 911, a predictable argument sprang up around the Autoweek office: PDK or stick shift? If you’re surprised there’s an argument against the manual, you haven’t driven a PDK-equipped Porsche in recent years. The brand’s automated dual-clutch gearbox is simply sublime, resulting in faster 0-60 times and quicker lap times than a self-shifted 911 can accomplish. But no matter how good it is, it’s not a stick shift, with all the satisfying (and, occasionally, frustrating) connotations that come along with a manual transmission.
We’ve got both sides of the coin below. Add your comments at the end.
Wes Raynal, editor-in-chief, flappy-paddle swatter:
With apologies to you manual-transmission whisperers, I prefer Porsche’s PDK. For years, I’ve heard the “more-involving” argument from the shift-it-yourself crowd, and I get it. But here’s the thing about the PDK: It shifts quicker and more consistently than I can, and it’s a lot smoother.
The PDK was born on the track, first appearing in the legendary 956, then the 962. After winning several sports car titles, the transmission made its way to the production cars in 2005. No way any of that happens if PDKs weren’t superb. Besides, Porsche engineers say a PDK works better than a manual with the company’s latest turbocharged flat-fours and flat-sixes.
The bottom line for me is that Porsche has developed its PDK to the point it’s so good, a manual transmission is unnecessary. Driving a Porsche day in and day out, I’d go PDK. It’s the future.
Andrew Stoy, digital editor, journeyman heeler/toer:
Quicker and more consistently, eh? Maybe you need to work on your driving skills.
OK, I’m not going to say I can shift faster than Porsche’s dual-clutch box. And yes, PDK is much nicer to have in day in and day out traffic, but why are you driving your 911 in rush hour? That’s what the Panamera e-Hybrid is for. Yes, the 911 is probably the most well-rounded sports car on the market today, but that doesn’t make it an ideal commuter car.
Preserve the expensive tires for canyon runs and track days where your 911 truly shines — and where that seven-speed manual will undoubtedly deliver a more engaging driving experience than tapping steering wheel paddles or letting a computer do the work for you. That’s the bottom line for me: I want to feel the machinery when I’m driving a car like a 911. It’s not just about speed, it’s about the experience, and there’s simply no automated transmission on the planet that can replicate it.
What say you? PDK or seven-speed manual? Let us know in the comments below, and remember: The correct answer is one of each.