M-Power! Five Things We Know About BMW's Dual Clutch TransmissionS

Add another true automanual tranny to the growing list. Call it the M double-clutch transmission with DriveLogic. It's BMW's new 7-speed switchgear that's shipping with the new M3s, and likely will replace the divisive, largely poky and cumbersome — that is, without some serious futzing — M-Sequential (SMG / SMG II) automated manual. The SMG system uses a high-pressure hydraulic actuator to shift gears, with the latest version (i.e., SMG II) offering five automatic modes and six manual modes and shift times in around 80 miliseconds. In dual-clutch systems, like BMW's new system and VW/Audi's DSG, one clutch handles gears 1, 3, 5, 7 (and reverse) and the second handles 2, 4, 6 — they work alternately, engaging and disengaging in a complex dance that allows for uninterrupted upshifts at speeds of a few milliseconds. An algorithm takes into account throttle position, engine speed, road speed and shift mode in use when calculating shift management. What else do we know about the new M double-clutch transmission with DriveLogic? Click through.

1.) It offers the same collection of modes as SMG, allowing the driver to dial in a range of response patterns, from low-torque, second-gear starts on snow and ice, to comfort, to track day.

2.) It's the first dual-clutch box to be designed for engine speeds of up to 9,000 rpm, with a transmission fluid cooler to lengthen component life.

3.) Like the new Nissan GTR (but unlike the latest F1 cars), it has launch control. How does launch control work? Take it, BMW:

...all the driver has to do with the car at a standstill and in driving program S6 is move the sports shift lever to the front and hold it in this position. Then, as soon as the starter flag symbol comes on in the instrument cluster, the driver just presses down the gas pedal to automatically obtain the ideal starting speed on the engine. Pressing down the brake pedal lightly with his left foot, in turn, the driver can prevent the car from rolling forward, and by briefly tipping the cruise control lever he is able to finely adjust the desired starter speed. Then, after letting go the selector lever, the BMW M3 accelerates with optimum performance and with slip on the rear wheels controlled by the clutch — if the driver wishes, all the way to top speed.
4.) Low-speed assistant, gradient detection.

5.) It sounds like a whole lot more fun than SMG.