BMW Is Dropping Dual-Clutch Transmissions for 8-Speed Automatics, Even in M Cars

While we've all been preoccupied with the death of the manual, BMW has been quietly phasing out its DCT.

BMW

If you're a fan of BMW's dual-clutch transmission, you should probably grab an M2 before the next generation 2-series drops. BMW is ditching its dual-clutch transmissions across its line-up in favor of traditional torque-converter eight-speed automatic transmissions, reports BMW Blog. (Yes, even in the M cars.)

BMW's seven-speed M dual-clutch transmission had many fans over the years as a way to hold up the marque's old "ultimate driving machine" ethos without nuking your left leg in traffic. It shifted faster than you could, allowed you more control than most traditional automatics, and for many fans, its teardrop-shaped gear selector was as easy to use as it was visually pleasing. Yet a BMW representative confirmed to The Drive that none of the cars in BMW's upcoming lineup—including those from its go-fast M division—will have the DCT. 

BMW

Fortunately, the BMW spokesperson also confirmed that a six-speed manual will remain an option. However, in place of the DCT on the options list, there will be various versions of an eight-speed automatic transmission, depending on the model. 

The spokesperson provided the following list to The Drive explaining the rationale for the DCT's disappearance: 

Compared to a 7-speed M dual-clutch transmission (DCT), the current M 8-speed automatic (8HP):

  • Matches the performance of the DCT
  • Additional gear allows for more closely spaced gears.
  • Improves fuel economy.
  • Allows for use with xDrive all-wheel drive, whereas the DCT transmission was designed for rear-wheel drive applications only.

BMW Blog offered up their own reasons for why this makes sense. Efficiency rules all at the moment and the ZF eight-speed is easier to calibrate for that, after all. However, there's also BMW's big electrification plans looming in the near future. Investing in the development of an updated DCT that could match the performance of the eight-speed automatic doesn't make sense when you know electric M cars are on the way. 

The quiet phasing-out of the DCT began with the 2018-model-year debut of the F90-generation M5, BMW Blog notes, with the new toothy G80 M3 and G82 M4 being the latest to swap the DCT for ZF's eight-speed auto, that leaves the M2 as the last M-car with a DCT. The M2 is already long in the tooth, with spy shots of the next generation already floating around. 

You may want to pick up a new M2 anyway, given the confusing state of BMW's messaging and overall direction right now. It's a little rocket that could go down as one of the last great internal-combustion Bimmers ever made. 

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