In the past, choosing a manual or dual-clutch transmission over an automatic was an obvious choice for those seeking optimal performance. However, advancements in modern automatic transmissions have leveled the playing field. These automatics now offer faster shifting speeds, comparable fuel efficiency, and even greater frugality than their counterparts.
Despite the ongoing debate among enthusiasts, the verdict has been reached within the automotive industry: the conventional torque converter-based automatic transmission reigns supreme.
BMW M, known for its high-performance vehicles, has officially declared the demise of the dual-clutch transmission. In an interview with Top Gear published on Wednesday, Dirk Hacker, Head of Development at BMW M, confirmed that the dual-clutch transmission is now a thing of the past for the brand. Furthermore, he revealed that the manual transmission is also on its way out.
Hacker stated, “From BMW M’s perspective, the double clutch is gone. It’s now manual or automatic, and automatic transmissions will be electrified in the future.”
The advantages that dual-clutch transmissions once offered, such as their lighter weight and superior shifting speed, have diminished over time. Interestingly, even BMW M utilizes an automatic transmission in its M4 GT4 race car. Hacker explained that one of the reasons for abandoning dual-clutch transmissions in favor of automatics is the improved refinement of the latter, particularly during low-speed maneuvers like parking.
Regarding manual transmissions, Hacker acknowledged that suppliers are gradually phasing them out, which will pose challenges for BMW M to continue offering them, especially considering their declining popularity.
“If you look around, you will see a decrease in the future availability of manual gearbox suppliers,” Hacker noted. “So I’m uncertain if we will have the possibility to offer them in the future, but by ‘future,’ I mean around six to seven years from now.”
Additionally, the rise of electrified powertrains and the integration of self-driving capabilities in vehicles further promote the preference for automatic transmissions. Automakers tend to favor automatics in electric cars due to their ability to handle high torque at low revs, often requiring only a single-speed transmission.
Given these remarks, it is likely that the latest M2, equipped with a standard 6-speed manual, will be the final BMW M car to offer a manual transmission.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Automatic transmissions
Q: Why is BMW M discontinuing dual-clutch and manual gearboxes?
A: BMW M has made the decision to discontinue dual-clutch and manual gearboxes due to several factors. One reason is the improved refinement and performance of automatic transmissions, which now offer faster shifting speeds and comparable fuel efficiency. Additionally, the declining popularity of manual transmissions and the increasing focus on electrified powertrains and self-driving capabilities have contributed to this decision.
Q: Will BMW M offer manual transmissions in the future?
A: It is uncertain if BMW M will offer manual transmissions in the future. According to Dirk Hacker, Head of Development at BMW M, suppliers are gradually phasing out manual transmissions, making it challenging to continue offering them. The future availability of manual gearbox suppliers is expected to decrease in the coming years, making it unlikely for BMW M to include them in their lineup.
Q: What advantages do automatic transmissions have over dual-clutch transmissions?
A: Automatic transmissions have several advantages over dual-clutch transmissions. They offer increased refinement, especially during low-speed maneuvers like parking. Additionally, modern automatic transmissions have caught up in terms of shifting speed, rivaling the once-superior shift speed of dual-clutch transmissions. Automatic transmissions are also favored for their lighter weight, fuel efficiency, and their compatibility with future electrified powertrains and self-driving technologies.
Q: Are other automakers following a similar trend in discontinuing dual-clutch and manual gearboxes?
A: The discontinuation of dual-clutch and manual gearboxes is a trend observed among some automakers. BMW M is one of the brands opting for automatic transmissions, particularly torque converter-based automatics. While preferences may vary among automakers, factors such as increased refinement, improved performance, and the transition towards electrification and autonomous driving technologies have influenced the shift away from dual-clutch and manual transmissions.
More about Automatic transmissions
- Top Gear: BMW M exec confirms death of dual-clutch, manual gearboxes
- BMW M Official Website
- Torque Converters: How They Work
- Advantages of Automatic Transmissions
- The Decline of Manual Transmissions
- Electric Vehicle Transmissions
- Self-Driving Car Technologies