Nick Jeffery Surrey, UK
Having owned three Porsches equipped with PDK transmission my thinking has come full circle. Initially, I was impressed with the PDK in my 2012 997.2 Carrera 4GTS, but I was comparing it to my 2002 996.2 Turbo fitted with the Tiptronic S gearbox. Hardly a fair fight!
As the mileage in the GTS has increased, I’ve realised that while it was a huge improvement over the Tiptronic gearbox, it’s far from perfect. It feels clunky and slow-witted at times, often requiring more revs than you’d expect to either pull away or reverse. That was, to some extent at least, remedied recently by the gearbox oil change and subsequent reset, which was carried out early after only three years instead of Porsche’s recommended six-year interval.
Any perceived shortcomings were brought into sharp focus by my acquisition of a 2015 981 Cayman S.
This had the next-generation PDK, which felt far more intuitive to use and quicker in every respect. And yet, with my acquisition of a 2011 987 Spyder last year, all that seems to have been turned upside down!
The 987 Spyder is one of the lightest sports cars Porsche has ever produced. Its first-generation PDK gearbox feels far more suited and at home in the lighter, mid-engined, rear-wheel drive chassis than the same era four-wheel drive, rear engined and heavier Carrera 4GTS. Gear changes in the Spyder are crisper and in automatic mode tend to flow evenly, with none of the idiosyncrasies experienced in the Carrera 4GTS. I can only surmise this must have something to do with the weight of each vehicle, the different engine positions and drivetrains, because to all intents and purposes it’s the same PDK transmission fitted to both cars, and yet they couldn’t feel more different!
To my mind the PDK gearbox, is five gearboxes in one with the optional Sports Chrono pack with Sport Plus fitted with automatic or manual driving modes in standard, sport or sport plus settings. PDK performance and your preference will depend on the type of Porsche it’s fitted to.
In other news, the GT3 has been into Paragon for a new set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, a replacement offside front lower wishbone, full geometry on their Hunter rig plus a new offside rear wheel arch mud spat. While at Paragon, I noticed a smart-looking GT Silver 997.2 Carrera with a manual gearbox, optional PSE and PASM, plus Sport Design alloys and extended leather. I took the car for a test drive to see if it would remind me of my 994 Carrera 4S. Unfortunately not. I think this has more to do with what’s in my collection than any shortcomings in the entry-level Carrera.
I thought the Carrera would feel more analogue than it did and that the PSE would give it a sonorous note that would hark back to my 996 ‘4S, but it felt muted by comparison and sophisticated, which surprised me! I didn’t think such a nice Carrera would last long, and sure enough it’s already found a new home.