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BMW Manual Transmission Will Die Off And Take Dual-Clutches With Them

M Performance / 21 Comments

This is certain to rile enthusiasts.

The other day, we witnessed what we interpreted to be the death of BMW as "The Ultimate Driving Machine." A friend of ours had the new 540i on loan from BMW and demonstrated the self-parking feature that allows the car to back itself into a spot. Like the BMW stereotype, the park job was crooked, and we laughed at what had become of the so-called "driver's" brand that no longer required a driver. BMW's direction is taking it away from this moniker, and in an interview with Drive, BMW M talked about another decision that enthusiasts will hate.

We already know that the next-generation BMW M5 will not come with a manual transmission option. If fact, the only reason that the current F10 model had this option was because of strong demand from America. Europe hasn't had a manual M5 since the E39 generation. Even though we love manuals, the dual-clutch transmission has always been a nice middle ground. Unfortunately, BMW M's vice-president of sales and marketing, Peter Quintus, who we spoke with in Shanghai about the new M4 CS, says that both manuals and dual-clutches are not long for this world. When asked about these transmissions, Quintus said "It's more a question of how long has the DCT got to go. How long will it last?"

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Quintus believes that the manual will be gone in six or seven years and that the dual-clutch could be next. "We are now seeing automatic transmissions with nine and even 10 speeds, so there's a lot of technology in modern automatics," he said. So why would BMW want to go back to automatics instead of dual-clutches? According to Quintus, "The DCT once had two advantages: it was light and its shift speeds were higher. Now, a lot of that shift-time advantage has disappeared as automatics get better and smarter." We have already seen Audi ditch the dual-clutch in the new S5 and RS5 and now it looks like BMW won't be far behind.