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Porsche reckons you don’t need a manual gearbox

By Trent Giunco, 02 Oct 2019 News

Porsche 718 Cayman

Dual-clutch technology is rendering the third pedal redundant, according to Porsche

Porsche will still sell you a car with a third pedal in the esteemed 911 and Cayman, but it says you shouldn’t need a manual gearbox to get the best out of its performance coupes.

According to Porsche, “the advantages of the dual-clutch transmission (PDK) are too great to ignore”. Pause for the uproar.

Cutaway of a PDK dual-clutch transmission

Does this mean the days of a “true Porsche” coming with a manual are coming to an end?

Well, not quite. Head of Porsche’s GT department, Andreas Preuninger, told Wheels that it’s a mistake to eradicate manual gearboxes as its cars aren’t solely an “A-to-B means of transportation”.

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However, Porsche states that modern dual-clutch transmissions now have a clear advantage in terms of efficiency. But it adds that an extra level of comfort can be attained without losing any inherent sportiness – in fact an element of performance can be added over and above the do-it-yourself shifting method.

The efficiency, comfort and performance mix is one the manual gearbox “simply can’t achieve”. That’s a bold statement from a marque which prides itself in offering a high level of driver involvement.

The famed German car maker’s point hinges on the fact that the current crop of dual-clutch gearboxes has moved the game forward demonstrably.

Porsche references the fact that even the original production-ready PDK ’box enables faster gearchanges than the conventional, torque-converter Tiptronic S auto of the time – and it was also 10kg lighter.

First offered in the 2008 Carrera and Carrera S, it afforded shifts occurring 60 percent faster than the conventional automatic as well as unimpeded delivery of traction.

Hence, a 2008 vintage seven-speed PDK-equipped Carrera 4, in Sport Plus mode, reaches 100km/h in 4.6 seconds – which is 0.4sec faster than the manual-equipped equivalent.

Translate that to a current context and the 992 Carrera 4S claims a 0-100km/h time of 3.6sec, or 3.4sec with the Sport Chrono Package fitted.

Those launch-control-assisted figures would be near impossible to achieve using three pedals and a shifter. However, the PDK-equipped 4S we tested hit its number of 3.4sec repeatedly with ease. 

Read next: Porsche 992 911 is seriously quick in the real world

Some Wheels staffers on that test even mentioned that you’d struggle to extract all the ‘goodness’ in the 992 911 Carrera 4S if it was a manual given how fast everything happens in that car.

According to Porsche, “more than three-quarters of all delivered Porsche 718 and 911 models today are equipped with a PDK system”.

Porschefiles and enthusiasts can “still get what they’re after” with both the Cayman and 911, including the manual-only Speedster, offering manual gearboxes.

What do you think? Would you buy your 911 or Cayman with a manual or PDK ’box?