BMW joining Porsche in fight to save manual transmissions?
This bit of news brought a massive smile to my face. The death of the manual transmission was nearing until Porsche came in with its 7-speed self-shifter. According to reports, it seems like BMW is soon to follow suit. It’s no secret that manual gearboxes aren’t as efficient as automatics. And since we live in these trying economic times, the auto definitely has the upper hand.
To many enthusiasts, the manual is just as crucial to the driving experience as the steering wheel. And hopefully, BMW is recognizing its significance with its latest filed patent. The Munich firm’s application highlights two potential systems:
- A traditional manual setup with up to 8 speeds. As the driver shifts gears, engaging the clutch, a computerized module will only allow the driver to shift into a gear which does not hurt the car nor compromise fuel economy.
- The second setup would implement a “shift by wire” unit, therefore removing the need for a clutch pedal. Prior to the driver shifting gears, the computer would decide which gears to allow access to. Upon shifting, the mechanical clutch would then be activated by the computer.