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Old October 1st, 2008, 09:45 PM   #1
Snaxster
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911 PDK test drive

Today I test drove a 2009 911 Carerra S Cabriolet with PDK and PASM. The car also had ventilated seats, but I didn't notice their effect.

Driving only with the transmission in "M" and shifting with the buttons, top down, I noticed a few things:
  • The PASM sport setting felt much more softly sprung than in my 2008 base Boxster
  • Good car!
  • In manual mode, PDK functions impeccably. It shifts so well, it's almost uncanny.
  • 7th gear in PDK is extreme overdrive, enabling super-slow revs at speed for better fuel efficiency.
  • Far beyond bettering Tiptronic, I think PDK is an ideal solution for those wanting to drive a Porsche sports car without operating a clutch manually.
Later in the day, milling about at another dealership on other business, musing on the cars, I realized that I liked my base Boxster more than the 911 Cabriolet I drove.

In fairness, maybe it was because I babied the 911 since it was new and not my car (I drove with spirit, but I never wound it out or anything), and of course it may have been the absence of a manual transmission in the 911. But the sound and feel of the 2.7l engine and the comparatively sharper handling of the 987 chassis won me over. Boxsters are very special cars.

To each their own. And I may someday own a 911 anyway.

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Snaxster
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 11:59 PM   #2
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interesting view points... one of the reasons I like a standard transmission is to be part of the car, both hands and feet operating the mechanics of the machine... I know this next comment will seem a bit out there but, remember the Terminator movie where Arnie climbs into the 'big rig', his hand touches the gear shift and instantly his brain 'see's' the connection between the clutch the shifter and the engine, automatics disconnect me from that feeling of being in control of the car.

PDK sounds interesting, but for me the 'extra $4000' or so stays in my pocket!

Snaxster, question, how does the clutch operate when you come to a stop, or starting off (not launch control), is it the same as a manual transmission car?
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 08:08 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westcoaster View Post
Snaxster, question, how does the clutch operate when you come to a stop, or starting off (not launch control), is it the same as a manual transmission car?
Good question, Al. It's timely because my newly leased Audi A4 Sedan has Tiptronic. And though it is otherwise very capable, my A4 almost never starts off smoothly from a stop. Not as smoothly as I do with a manual tranny, anyway.

This was so annoying to me that I asked my friend (a human car encyclopedia, car collector and excellent driver) to test my A4. He had recently taken European delivery of an Audi S6, which he had sideways at speed on Nürburgring. So he knew how a proper Tiptronic should operate! He said the one in my A4 was fine.

It's a new deal for me. I'm learning how to finesse it.

But I did not notice any such problem in PDK on start-offs. And downshifting PDK, generally, but most noticeably from a higher gear down to a stop, is amazing. Basically, it queues up your downshift commands and decides when it is safe to execute them. This may be true of other manumatic-type trannies, but PDK makes it feel like the business; and it is completely seamless.

From the perspectives of cultural credibility and marketing, Porsche was not playing around when they created PDK.

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Snaxster

P.S. - I liked your "Terminator" truck scene analogy.
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Old October 5th, 2008, 07:36 AM   #4
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This may be a silly question, but with PDK, you still need to depress the clutch when the car comes to a stop, right, then let it out to start off?
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Old October 5th, 2008, 09:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westcoaster View Post
This may be a silly question, but with PDK, you still need to depress the clutch when the car comes to a stop, right, then let it out to start off?
Here's what I think is true, Al: PDK has two clutches, but the driver never manually operates either of them.

You can use PDK in a fully automatic mode, operating the throttle and brake only.

Or you can use PDK in a manual mode, also using either the shift lever or buttons on the steering wheel to make sequential selection of gears (that is, you cannot randomly select a particular gear, as you can with a true manual transmission; you can only shift up or down from the current gear.)

Here are links to two descriptions at the Porsche website:

Porsche Technology Glossary: Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK)

911 Carrera features - Drive (at that page, in the "Key Features" section, click "Porsche Doppelkupplung")

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Snaxster
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Old October 6th, 2008, 05:49 PM   #6
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Yes, I saw those links before and found this one on You Tube, I just needed to watch it to see that there is in fact no clutch to depress... but wow what a launch!

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9VxIW5lckE&feature=related"]Porsche 997 Mark II Launch Control - YouTube[/ame]

I think it was the term clutch that was missleading me, I know that even regular automatics have clutch discs, I guess that I never correlated the idea that PDK was truely an automatic transmission, albeit a very sophisitcated one...
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