It looks like Mercedes-Benz won’t be alone in ditching the stick shift, with BMW reportedly planning to altogether axe manual transmissions in the near future.
But BMW’s plan to narrow its transmission range isn’t limited to sending manuals to the scrap heap, with an executive from the brand’s performance division predicting dual-clutch automatics will soon head the way of the dodo. Speaking to Australia’s Drive, BMW M vice-president of sales and marketing, Peter Quintas, said when it comes to products in the brand’s pipeline, the future of both types of gearboxes is grim.
According to Quintas, it’s questions about durability that will soon spell the end for manual and dual-clutch transmissions, with both having a hard time standing up to the rigors of modern torquey engines. He pegs the durability limit of modern manual transmissions at about 450 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. The current M3 and M4 twins make 425 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque.
Sadly, Quintas said he doesn’t anticipate the next generation of those cars to feature manual gearboxes. He also allegedly took a shot at U.S.-sourced manuals, claiming units built to withstand the output of burly V8 engines are too heavy and the shift quality is “awful.” Ouch.
Making matters worse for dual-clutch units is the rapid evolution of traditional automatics in recent years, according to Quintas.
“”The DCT once had two advantages: It was light and its shift speeds were higher,” Quintas said, according to Drive. “Now, a lot of that shift-time advantage has disappeared as automatics get better and smarter.”