BMW: Time to say goodbye to manual and dual-clutch gearboxes

Article by Christian A., on April 24, 2017

The BMW M model, as of today, offers their buyers two transmission options: either a six-speed manual or a seven speed dual-clutch automatic. But rumours have been circulating that these models will be the last few of its kind. Don’t worry though, the BMW M model will not be abandoned, but just the transmission options they are currently offering.

In fact, Peter Quintus, vice-president of sales and marketing of the said model supported the rumours regarding the manuals and DCTs when asked about transmissions as he stated “It’s more of a question of how long has the DCT got to go, how long will it last?” in an interview with Australian magazine The Drive. From what we know, this only applies to the M models, since he did not specify.

According to Quintus, what concerns them the most is the durability of the three-pedal and DCT options in the M portfolio. Specifically, the manual can only hold up to 450 horsepower (335 kilowatts) and 443 pound feet (600 Newton-metres) of torque. If power goes past that, then durability and longevity cannot be promised.

Isn’t it odd that you could get supercars with up to 707 horsepower with manual gearboxes in America? And you’re probably asking why BMW don’t just build their cars with U.S. made transmissions. Well, Quintus looked at manual gearbox from an American automaker and was not pleased with what he saw. He mentioned that shift quality was not that good and that they were heavy.

He added that both transmissions simply cannot handle the power from a long-term perspective. The only good things about the DCT are: it was light and shift speeds were higher. However, new generation automatics almost provide the same performance, as they are better and smarter. He also added that the company is now looking at nine- or ten-speed automatic transmissions (hopefully, for future generation cars). Competitors like Mercedes have already figured this out way back with their AMG models that are equipped with a conventional torque-converter automatic.

In his interview with The Drive, Quintus told them that the next generation BMW M3 and M4 may not offer a manual gearbox. So if buyers still want to stick with their manual gearboxes, then they should sacrifice some power - or they could go with an AMG Mercedes instead. You know, the grass is always greener on the other side. For instance, the Corvette Z06 does not have the best shift quality, so it is true that you can’t have a light shifter that can handle over 500 horsepower.


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