How to Drive a Car With a Tiptronic Transmission

by William ZaneUpdated July 12, 2023
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The handle of switching of transfers in the car image by Sergey Galushko from

What is Tiptronic Transmission?

Tiptronic refers to a transmission that can be used like automatic transmission but also switched to a manual mode, where the driver controls the shifts with either steering wheel mounted buttons or by toggling the shift lever up and down in a gear shift gate to shift gears. The gate has a “+” and “-“ sign, the plus for upshifting and the minus sign for downshifting to change gears. Though Porsche was the first to use the Tiptronic gearbox, the phrase is also widely used by other manufacturers, including Audi, BMW, Honda, Toyota, Chrysler, and Ferrari.

Driving in tiptronic mode is relatively easy, since there is no clutch pedal to deal with in a tiptronic system, like in an automatic car, and the transmission system is easy to shift into a higher gear or lower gear, do engine braking on, and is fuel efficient.

1. Make sure you are in Park

Ensure that the gear lever or paddle shifter is on “Park.” Tiptronic gearboxes have an automatic shift gate and a second gate off to the side where the lever can be moved up and down to upshift and downshift. This is like an automatic gearbox and is operated in a similar way to switch to second gear, for example. Some models also offer the ability to shift with buttons on the steering wheel in order to drive a car.

2. Depress the Pedal and start the Ignition

Depress the brake pedal and turn the key to start the ignition. Press on the accelerator like you would in a normal automatic to move away from a stop. On some versions of the tiptronic gearbox, the transmission shifts for you in the first two gears, after which you can take over shifting manually.

3. Move the Lever out of the Automatic Gate

Move the lever out of the automatic gate (the one with the Drive, Park and Reverse on it) and into the gate for manual shifting if you are going to be using the gear lever to shift. If you are using steering wheel mounted shift buttons, you still have to move the gear lever over to the gate for manual shifting. For steering wheel mounted buttons simply press the button with the plus sign to upshift. It is not necessary to lift off the throttle as you would with a conventional manual transmission. Continue upshifting through the gears as you accelerate.

4. Downshift

Downshift by pulling the gear lever back to the minus sign if you are using the shift lever or press the “-“ button to downshift. The gearbox will select the next lowest gear. Try to downshift through the gears before you drive into a corner. If you downshift in the middle of a turn, particularly if you are driving fast or driving on a track, the composure of the vehicle may become upset and cause a potentially dangerous situation.

5. To Reverse, place Lever in the Automatic Gate and in Reverse Gear

To reverse a car with a Tiptronic gearbox, simply place the gear lever in the automatic gate and in the reverse gear. Also, Tiptronic gearboxes will revert back to automatic mode after a predetermined amount of time goes by when the driver has not selected shifts.


Comments on this video:

    1. There's no need to take your foot off the gas when shifting. it works just like an automatic except you are telling it to shift. you don't need to let up on the gas when in automatic mode, so you don't need to let up on the gas in manual mode either.
    2. at what rpm to shift is completely up to you. for fuel economy purposes shift as early as it allows, ideally keeping revs below 2000rpm. for acceleration, shift when the revs reach peak power. but it is all up to you.
  • I see why people hate on it, but it's nice. I'd prefer a straight on manual, but I bought a used car that's a bit of a rarity and the guy had one in there so I took what I could get. I like having it because hearing the automatic rev my engine hurts me to hear, with the tiptronic I can save gas and my engine my hearing my baby out and knowing where to shift her properly (right around 2,300rpm's).

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