Mini has announced that it will add a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic option to select models in its range, under the name Steptronic.
To be added overseas from March 2018 production, the new automatic promises seamless acceleration and faster shift times.
The transmission features two wet clutches, and follows dual-clutch convention with even gears placed along one output shaft and odd gears along the other, allowing successive gears to be preselected by the transmission.
Mini claims that gear changes now happen within a fraction of a second with next to no torque interruption.
The new transmission also offers a crawl function for slow speeds and stop-start traffic to minimise the jerkiness found in other transmissions of this type.
Inside the cabin the new auto can be identified by a revised gear selector with adopts the same ‘return to home’ style lever as used across parent-company, BMW’s range, with a push-button Park selector at the top but styling that’s unique to the Mini brand.
There is also the ability to match the transmission to Mini's optional navigation which will utilise road data to alter the gear shift times, with an example being if a sharp corner is ahead the car will down shift earlier.
The Steptronic auto is also compatible with Mini’s existing start/stop engine technology, and has a coasting function, allowing the engine to return to idle speed fully decoupled from the engine when the driver lifts their foot from the accelerator.
Mini will offer the new seven-speed auto in its Mini three- and five-door hatch and convertible ranges from next year in overseas markets, but is yet to announce Australian availability for the new automatic.
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