BMW M claims dual-clutch and manual transmissions could soon be gone

Interesting, News | April 21st, 2017 by 13
bmw m4 manual transmission 01 750x500

If you currently want a BMW M car, you can still get a manual transmission in three of the cars in BMW M’s lineup: the …

If you currently want a BMW M car, you can still get a manual transmission in three of the cars in BMW M’s lineup: the BMW M2, M3 and M4. Aside from that, you’re looking at either dual-clutch automatics or conventional torque-converter automatics. We know that the upcoming F90 M5 will only be available with the brand’s ubiquitous ZF eight-speed auto. So not only are manuals being phased out but so are dual-clutch gearboxes and, according to an executive from BMW M, both enthusiast-favorite transmissions could be gone quite soon.

According to Peter Quintus, Vice President for Sales and Marketing at BMW M, who recently spoke with Drive, the dual-clutch transmission could be gone within a couple of years. We all know manuals are slowly dying, with the next-gen M3/M4 possibly not coming with a manual. However, the dual-clutch death would be surprising, as it’s been considered the enthusiast’s choice if a manual wasn’t available. However, the benefits of dual-clutch transmissions have become virtual non-existent with the advancement of standard automatics.

BMW M4 Coupe Individual Edition launching in Japan images 02 750x562

Typically, dual-clutch autos were lighter and shifted far faster than the standard torque converter auto but that just isn’t the case anymore. Modern automatics, especially the famous ZF eight-speed, can shift every bit as fast as dual-clutch autos and, in the case of the ZF, actually even lighter. Plus, it’s far cheaper to use a torque-converter auto and let’s not think that cost doesn’t factor in.

Another reason is power. Manual transmissions and dual-clutch autos have difficulty handling extremely torquey engines which, with turbochargers taking over, are becoming more and more common. According to Quintus, BMW M can develop manual transmissions to handle the torque but the extra strengthening makes them heavier than an automatic and the shift quality becomes quite poor. So it actually ends up doing more harm than good.

BMW M4 GTS BMW M4 CS 103 750x500

We shouldn’t be upset, though. Anyone who’s used the famous ZF eight-speed in a performance car knows just how fast in can shift and how much control it allows. For instance, almost every Audi RS model uses the ZF auto, so does the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, as will the upcoming BMW M5. So it’s not as if cars using the standard auto will lack in performance. While we’ll miss the pure feeling and connection of the manual transmission and the rapid-fire, rifle-shot upshifts of dual-clutch transmissions, we certainly won’t be lacking in performance.

[Source: Motor Authority]

13 responses to “BMW M claims dual-clutch and manual transmissions could soon be gone”

  1. manuelf says:

    One central aspect is missing in this article: engine speed/RPM! Typically – even modern – automatic transmission (standard torque converter) can’t handle high RPMs. So anything >>7500 rpm gets problematic. So in the old NA high rev engines like S65/S85 a standard automatic wasn’t feasible… while the 7 speed DCT work perfectly with the S65.
    Now the modern M FI engines (S55/S58/S63) max out at 7600 rpm. Therefore standard automatic can handle this … together with the fact (as correctly pointed out in the article), that they easily can handle the enormous and always increasing amount of torque of those turbo engines…

  2. Crux says:

    Please deliver this to the board, execs, engineering team, marketing team, accounting, M div. Hell to all of them.

    Pay attention to Porsche. That is funded by rich passionate and crazy owners. Guess what happened when Porsche said they are doing away w Manual because auto is superior. No need for manual in porsches? Long story short, the manual is back in business there.

    As an enthusiast, and a bmw owner. I am not after any nurburgring record. I do not want to set a 10sec lap time around the ring. I want performance of course, but its the visceral experience. Don’t let an autobox tell me what defines a perfect drive. I want a manual, not trying to set lap records, let me put the power down on whichever gears. Who cares if its not perfectly smooth. I just want to have fun and drive a powerfully balanced bimmer. Don’t tell me they can’t do it cause engines are becoming more powerful with turbos & their high torque. Again, Porsche offering Manual on their powerful toys. So M Div’s reasoning is BS.

    Side note: The bigger models like 5er and up i understand this. To kill the manual on 1-4 ///M cars is a betrayal. #SaveTheManual

    • Senne says:

      Couldn’t agree more. BMW’s used to be all about the driving experience. Now BMW & Mercedes are always competing for faster 0-60 and track times which takes away from the emotional aspects of the cars. They’re becoming “too” good… This goes for all modern cars and is due to many reasons. But it’s still sad. :(

      • Kaisuke971 says:

        I find this argument a bit stupid, you definitely feel the G-Forces. We’re just trading roughness and authenticity for longitudinal and transversal acceleration. Seems like a fair deal for me.

        That’s why the people that have the sort of M3 E30, 911 RS or Renault 5 Turbo will also have an M4 GTS, a GT3 RS and 275 Trophy-R on the side.

        Cars are as good, just in a different way.

        • Senne says:

          Yeah sure, they’re different generations of cars. Both amazing, but in other ways. That’s maybe why I like the E90 gen M3 so much: it has all those typical classic/ older car features that made cars drive so well like hydraulic steering and an NA engine, whilst also being more refined and luxurious than say an E36 M3. It’s a normal evolution, but I personally am going to miss the pure driving experience that older cars gave us. That doesn’t mean I don’t like modern cars as much. Cars like the M760Li xDrive, M4 CS, M2,… They’re still amazing, but just so different to say a E46 M3 CSL or 1M.

  3. Kommodore says:

    When my BMW’s time is up, Porsche next. It’s very sad. But in cases like these, we must bow to the absurd and move on. #lovehate

  4. DBC says:

    Cost, not a performance decision, especially when fuel cel tech is abandoned in favor of electrical! This brings up a whole new set of problems, not the least of which is battery disposal!

    • Crux says:

      I agree with you that cost is the #1 priority in Any type of business for profit. These are ///M cars, its not meant to be cheap and affordable. They can do it, they just won’t, look at Porsche. Its an ///M, so raise the prices to cover development & engineering. #SaveTheManual. ///M cars are everywhere, exclusivity is out the window. Munich should go that route instead of killing what they are known for. Bimmer’s soul is deteriorating w every bit of cost saving Munich is imposing.

  5. Crux says:

    Just read about the brand new 911 GT3 >MANUAL< Yes, BMW! A MANUAL!!!. Guess what? So far the journos are saying if a freaking MASTERPIECE. So stop BULLSitting aboot a proper gearbox you plebs!

  6. disqus_znTohz52QD says:

    Me, like other European people only drive manual transmission cars, or don’t drive at all! The day I can no more buy a manual transmisision car, or be no more able to have it adapted with a manual gearbox after having thrown out of it all the original automatic garbage, I will stop driving.

  7. mr6 says:

    So much for “Drivers Wanted”

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