BMW Ends Dual-Clutch Transmissions – Manuals on Chopping Block in 6 to 7 Years

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BMW has mostly bid farewell to dual-clutch transmissions, marking the end of an era for the snappy-shifting gearbox. Even the rare and expensive M4 CSL adopted a torque converter automatic transmission instead of dual-clutch or even an option for a manual. The new M2, M3, and M4 are still available with a 6-speed manual transmission, which should ‘stick’ around for another six or seven years.

Dirk Hacker, BMW M’s head of development, spoke to Top Gear and made it clear that automatic transmissions are the future. He stated, “The double clutch, from BMW M’s point of view these days, it’s gone. It’s now manual or automatic, and automatic electrified for the future.”

Hacker provided several reasons to support this guidance. Firstly, customers appreciate the convenience and familiarity of automatic transmissions, such as the low-speed traits like off-throttle creep and predictable throttle response. Additionally, automatic transmissions are more cost-effective compared to dual-clutch transmissions. Given the declining popularity of manual gearboxes and the increasing prominence of electric vehicles, suppliers are prioritizing the development of automatic transmissions, making manuals harder to source and more expensive.

Furthermore, Hacker emphasized that torque converter automatics have reached a level of performance that surpasses that of dual-clutch transmissions. He even claimed that the automatic transmission in the M4 CSL shifts faster than its dual-clutch counterpart. Consequently, Hacker envisions a sunset for manual transmissions, stating, “I’m not sure we will have the possibility in the future” to obtain standard gearboxes that align with BMW’s objectives. He added that “in the future” refers to a forecast of about six to seven years.

Hacker also addressed the possibility of incorporating a manual transmission in an electric M car, dismissing it as an option. Although he acknowledged the technical feasibility, he stated that BMW M would not pursue it.


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