Understanding the PDK Transmission
Many Porsche fans have at least heard of a PDK transmission, but there are still many people out there that don’t know quite what the technology is, how it works or why any of that matters. This article is for all you people out there that are interested in the transmission that’s used on nearly every modern Porsche today. It’s impressive tech, and after you understand what’s behind the name you’ll be even more excited to get behind the wheel of one of these modern marvels of engineering.
What is it?
The PDK transmission stands for Porsche Doppel Kupplungs, which means Porsche double-clutch transmission in English. A PDK is a dual-clutch transmission, but it’s a proprietary one developed by the automaker. It works much the same way as any other dual clutch transmission, and offers all the same benefits of that tech.
How a PDK is Setup
A PDK transmission is very similar in construction to a manual transmission with a clutch and flywheel, but there is a second clutch that works at the same time as the first, creating a fluid motion that enables nearly instant gear changes. One clutch handles half the gears and the other handles the other half. This means that while one clutch is disengaging, the other can engage at the same time. A set of specialized valves that are electronically operated handle all the gear changes of the vehicle making gear changes on-the-fly as needed.
No Clutch Wear
There is very minimal clutch wear in this system because Porsche relies on a wet clutch setup. Both clutches of the system are covered with oil to help them maintain nice smooth performance with minimal friction. That’s why you can operate a Porsche vehicle under extreme conditions and do very little to wear out the clutches of the vehicle.
Started in Racing
Like many of Porsche’s best tech, the PDK originated in racing and later migrated to the rest of the Porsche lineup. It was a highly desirable racing solution because the PDK allows for faster shifting. Racers could move around the track faster and with less distraction since they no longer had to worry about shifting. Those are the same benefits offered to Porsche owners today, that and they won’t have to deal with expensive clutch replacements.
The PDK clutch system is pretty cool when you understand what goes into it, but it’s not exclusive to only Porsche. There are other performance vehicles today that rely on a dual clutch setup as well, Porsche is just known for offering one of the most efficient clutch systems and one of the most resilient, making it a good value for buyers.