How to Drive a Car With a Tiptronic Transmissionby William Zane
Tiptronic refers to a transmission that can be used in automatic mode 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 gearshift gate. The gate has a “+” and “-“ sign, the plus for upshifting and the minus sign for downshifting. Though Porsche was the first to use the Tiptronic gearbox, the phrase is also widely used by other manufacturers. Driving a tiptronic is relatively easy, since there is no clutch pedal to deal with.
Ensure that the gear lever 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. Some models also offer the ability to shift with buttons on the steering wheel.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Porsche High-Performance Driving Handbook, Second Edition; Vic Elford; 2008
- Car and Driver: Tiptronic 911 Turbo Road Test
Things You'll Need
- Car with a tiptronic gearbox
William Zane has been a freelance writer and photographer for over six years and specializes primarily in automotive-related subject matter among many other topics. He has attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he studied automotive design, and the University of New Mexico, where he studied journalism.