ZF Double Clutch Automatic
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According to a source, BMW appears to be testing a new transmission option for one of its cars. We’ve talked about the availability of three separate ‘noses’ for the ZF 8 speed automatic and currently BMW uses two of them. BMW uses the ZF 8HP with a torque converter ‘nose’ and, for eDrive vehicles, the hybrid electric motor ‘nose’. Now comes word that BMW will adapt the double clutch ‘nose’ ZF offers.
The double clutch ‘nose’ should reduce shift times and also effectively turn an automatic into a manual gearbox. (Yes, the gear-sets are still planetary but if you remember our automatic transmission article it’s the uninterrupted torque flow that defines a gearbox as an automatic and the double clutch will interrupt torque flow, that makes it a manual – almost, will maybe, or then again maybe not – we may have to redefine a manual as anything with a clutch pedal.)
The i Sub-brand and the Way Forward
I have been thinking about how BMW will move forward from the current model of selling luxury/sporting driver’s cars to a model where they sell luxury autonomously driven vehicles. It will be a tricky transition and I hope they are in the midst of planning for it RIGHT NOW.
Regardless, we may be seeing a bit of how they intend to do that with the marketing and sales effort for the i sub-brand. I have been watching how the i3 is being marketed and keeping track of the user groups and the social media efforts. They are reaching a completely different customer base than the existing BMW brand.
In talking to a friend who happens to be a Client Advisor he mentioned that the i3 is selling to a different market segment and a younger segment at that. It tells me that the i sub-brand may give us a glimpse of how BMW will be in 10 years.
Toyota and Its Halo Sports Car
I have been hearing that Toyota will not be sharing a platform with BMW for its halo sports car. And it will not be the FT-1 but something a bit narrower (width was an issue with the FT-1). Look for a Supra revival, and it will be something good and affordable (not a Lexus). What we do know is that the sharing BMW and Toyota are doing is hybrid tech from Toyota and CFRP tech from BMW. And what they are sharing are the crown jewels from both companies.