Save Your Manuals, Because BMW May Not
Purists might not feel so hot after reading some recent news from Bavaria’s most respected maker of precision driving instruments. In a recent interview with Autocar, M-division leader Frank van Meel said that from a “technical standpoint, the future doesn’t look bright for manual gearboxes.” He went on to cite advantages in performance and fuel economy with the new dual clutch cars.
Granted, van Meel did add that a manual box would still be available: “…we are not going to take away something the customer wants to have.” But then if the customer wants horsepower, they will likely have to settle for about 600. Despite the horsepower war raging between BMW, Mercedes, and Audi, it looks like BMW will be the first to draw a line on when the madness stops (not like 600 ponies will leave a void in your life.) The M5 and M6 are close to this number anyway, so the super-saloons will likely see more advancements in light weight materials as the answer to more speed.
In terms of the gearbox, it does represent a big shift in focus for the Ultimate Driving Machine. The ever forgettable SMG gearbox probably didn’t help BMW loyalists believe in letting a computer stir their gears for them, but the new DCT gearboxes really are that good. I personally don’t feel that it lessens the experience at all, and as a nice trade-off, there is the added snippet of joy found in the up-shift “fart” between gears. Not a bad deal if you ask me.
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