How Fast Can Modern Supercars Really Shift?

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Let's see if they really are as quick as the manufacturers claim.

Modern cars come equipped with seriously advanced transmissions. The latest automatic and dual-clutch systems claim ever faster shift times but are they really that much faster than a good old stick shifter? Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained decided to test the theory out with a data logger and some technical insight.

He also made things a whole lot more interesting with the aid of a 710 horsepower McLaren 720S. This supercar’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is claimed to be 45 percent faster than in the older 675LT which was already blisteringly quick at 40 milliseconds between shifts.

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Most modern supercars claim to shift between 8 and 150 milliseconds and Fenske has tested his own manual transmission-equipped Honda S2000 shift speed to be in the range of around 250-300 milliseconds.

So, in theory, even a relatively tardy dual-clutch transmission should easily outperform the faster manual shifter out there. To see what kind of times the cutting-edge 720S can achieve, Fenske made use of a VBox Sport datalogger which monitors his position via satellite triangulation and can detect a change in movement every 50 milliseconds.

Keen readers may note that this is not quite as quick as the 720S is claimed to be able to shift gears and Fenske mentions that he may not get 100 percent accurate results because of this. Still, if the datalogger does detect a brief hesitation between changes then it will indicate that the 720S is shifting slower than 50 milliseconds.

Fenske also tests whether there are any discernible differences between the car’s Comfort and Track modes. Watch the video to see what he discovers and see whether it really can shift at speeds approaching what McLaren claims.

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