The latest on the industrial rumour-mill out of Munich suggests that BMW could be looking to swap out its eight-speed hydraulic automatic with a newly developed seven-speed dual-clutch transmission in high performance applications.
The move would mimic BMW’s rear wheel drive range: While mainstream models run an eight-speed automatic, M versions of the same cars switch to an M DCT transmission for faster, more aggressive shifts.
John Cooper Works MINI’s are a certainty to adopt the new transmission if it makes it to production, while a rumoured high-performance X1 M or X1 M40i, along with fast-back X2 models would also utilise the new transmission.
While some of the MINI range will remain purely front wheel drive, X1 and MINI Countryman versions will offer all wheel drive with their dual-clutch transmission, befitting their SUV positioning.
MINI has only recently launched the Cooper S Clubman with an eight-speed hydraulic automatic in Australia, while the Cooper S three and five-door hatches use a six-speed automatic.
Despite losing a gear ratio, the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission isn't expected to adversely affect fuel consumption owing to reduced parasitic losses associated with the dual-clutch set-up.
Driveability will improve thanks to reduced gear shift times, with the system offering a greater scope of fine-tuning to allow for more aggressive gear changes in Sport and Sport+ driving modes, while still delivering smooth patterns for the less focussed Comfort and Eco Pro modes.
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