BMW M Cars Are Done With DCTs, and Soon, Manuals Too

The humble torque-converter automatic has, in the end, bested all comers.

byLewin Day|
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The dual-clutch transmission was once hot property. It was slicker and faster to shift than a manual transmission without the doddery old reputation of a slushbox auto. Times have changed, though, and BMW has abandoned the DCT, with the three-pedal manual soon to follow.

As reported by Top Gear, BMW is going all-in on automatics in the final years before full electrification. The new BMW M2 is likely to be the last manual M car, with its classic six-speed transmission. The alternative choice is an eight-speed automatic. As for the dual-clutch, it's not even part of the conversation. "The double clutch, from BMW M's point of view these days, it's gone," Dirk Hacker said to Top Gear. The Head of Development at BMW M added that "It's now manual or automatic, and automatic electrified for the future.”

The prime reason the dual-clutch was dropped was due to practical concerns. The decision first centered around the M5, where BMW engineers opted for a traditional auto for comfort reasons. The dual-clutch was seen as less desirable due to its comparatively poor handling of low-speed stop-start operations, especially when parking. With that said, Hacker also notes that the modern BMW autos outperform the dual-clutche boxes, too. "In the M4 CSL it's faster shifting, and on the other side, we also use this automatic in the new M4 GTR race car," says Hacker.

Fans of taking a shift-your-own adventure ought to purchase a suitable BMW sooner rather than later. Dual clutches are already dead in the BMW line-up. And, when the current crop of manuals leave the market, there won't be more coming down the line. Hacker notes that while EVs with manual gearboxes could potentially be a thing, it's not something BMW will pursue.

There's no need to cry just yet; the M2 is still a brilliant three-pedal performance car that you can buy today. There are also hints the world may even see a manual Z4 down the line. However, if you're longing for a new dual-clutch for those blink-and-you'll-miss-it shifts? You're sadly already out of luck. More's the pity.

Got a tip? Let the author know: lewin@thedrive.com

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