• Jan 17th 2008 at 3:31PM
  • 25
click above for more high-res images of the BMW M3 Convertible

Honestly, we couldn't care less about BMW's recent introduction of the M3 convertible. What did get our attention is the long-awaited addition of a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox on every vehicle donning an M3 badge.

The M DKG setup uses two clutches with 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th (plus reverse) on one shaft and 2nd, 4th and 6th on the other. Both clutches are oil-cooled and, like the systems offered by other manufacturers, the dual-clutch setup offers both quicker shifts and better fuel economy.

In typical BMW fashion, you'll have the option to select several different drive settings both in automatic and manual mode. Five shift programs can be selected when running around in the standard work-a-day auto setting, while six shifting selections can be made in manual, including the always entertaining launch control setting.

There's no doubt that all of this will be an improvement over BMW's SMG transmission, but we'll have to wait until next month to see how the DKG setup handles the rigors of track duty, the daily grind and performance tests.

BMW's full press release is posted after the jump.


New seven-speed transmission adds performance, even more refinement to BMW M3

Incomparably smooth, silky gearshifts in the blink of an eye, improved fuel economy and reduced emissions are just some of the benefits of the ground-breaking seven-speed M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic that has been developed by BMW M GmbH for the new BMW M3 Coupé, Sedan and Convertible.

On top of these benefits, the new M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic is able to produce lightning-fast gearshifts that result in accelerative abilities exceeding those of the six-speed manual transmission version of the new BMW M3.

The BMW M3 Coupé with M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic is able to accelerate from zero to 100km/h in just 4.6 seconds, or 0.2 of a second faster than the manual six-speed version, while returning an average fuel consumption of 11.9 litres/100 km.

As the world's first seven-speed double-clutch gearbox developed for a high-torque, high-speed powerplant, the new BMW M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic simultaneously lifts refinement and efficiency to new levels while providing the driver with a wide range of options that adapt the system to the needs of the moment.

The new transmission offers as many as eleven driver-selectable electronically controlled driving program choices.

These include five shift programs in the fully automatic mode and six in manual mode, and are supplemented by a selectable Launch Control program that provides blistering off-the-line acceleration where the power from the 309 kW, 4.0-litre V8 M3 engine is transferred with maximum effect to the road.

The heart of the new BMW transmission is the double clutch system that acts to smooth out gearshifts to the point that they are often only discernible by watching the rise and fall of engine rpm on the M3's tachometer.

Each oil-cooled wet clutch activates its own set of ratios - one is used for first, third, fifth and seventh gears, as well as reverse, while the other looks after second, fourth and sixth gears.

Gearshifts are effected by the disengagement of one clutch and the engagement of the other, moving seamlessly from the ratio in use to the next, preselected ratio.

The fact that the next ratio is preselected and engaged merely by activation of the clutch is the secret behind the amazingly smooth and efficient transition from gear to gear.

Combined with the BMW Drivelogic system that, as well as offering the driver a choice of seven specific operational modes, is also able to determine the appropriate mode according to the current driving style, the new transmission's multi-faceted nature allows it to offer anything from rapid-fire F1-style shifting to smooth, luxurious behaviour suited to relaxed boulevard cruising.

The new M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic also incorporates a Low Speed Assistant mode that operates when manoeuvring at speeds less than 5 km/h to significantly increase the smoothness and degree of accelerator control available to the driver.

Gradient detection also means that the new M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic is able to determine the appropriate ratios when travelling up or down hills.

This avoids the "hunting" between gears so often experienced in regular automatics when travelling on undulating roads, while the appropriate selection of lower gears on downhill gradients helps maintain road speed by using the braking power of the engine.

The new M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic also offers the driver the choice of sequential operation via a sports selector lever in the centre console, or solid aluminium F1-style paddles on the steering wheel - right side for upshifts, left side for downshifts.

The range of shift programs available to the driver means it is possible for the M3 to behave with the grace and aplomb of a luxury car, or with the knife-edge rapidity and precision of a racecar - or anything in between.

In fully automatic D mode, the driver can select from five Drivelogic programmes that regulate both the gearshift speeds and the change points right through to the D5 mode where the engine is stretched close to its maximum rpm - depending on throttle position - on upshifts. In D1 mode, the M3 with M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic is able to start off in second gear to help avoid wheelspin in slippery conditions.

In manual mode, six different Drivelogic programmes allow a similar range of characteristics, with the added driver control provided by the ability to choose shift points manually. In S6 mode, the drive can also activate launch control by holding the shift lever in the forward position.

In keeping with the overtly dynamic abilities of the new BMW M3, the M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic, as well as being designed for engine speeds as high as 9,000 rpm, is also able to maintain correct operating temperatures even in the most extreme conditions - including racetrack operation - through its integration with the engine's cooling system as well as the fact it also incorporates its own oil/air cooler.

The transmission's interconnection with the engine cooling system also means a quicker temperature rise from startup, which contributes to reduced frictional losses and lower fuel consumption during the warm-up phase.

Faster shifting, smoother, and contributing even more to fuel economy and minimalised exhaust emissions, the new M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic raises the bar for sophisticated, high-performance motoring to new heights.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      It takes about two months to get used to SMG which is worth. Now
      another challenge.. Also my dislike of e9x design when 4 door was
      revealed eventually changed to adoration after coupé and cabrios are
      revealed because the sick looking head and taillights were replaced
      • 7 Years Ago
      Anyone notice the "power" button?

      I think whoever did that, made it just for Clarkson.

        • 7 Years Ago
        it debuted on the M5, and requires depressing in order to get peak power. I wish my GTi required pressing a button to get 200 hp and was just in a 150hp detuned state when i turned it over. Wait. no. That's silly. here here for technology when it's a marketing ploy IN the car. Oh well. I guess us former BMW owners who miss the good old days of hopping in and just driving unencumbered by iDrive and eliciting maximum performance as a result of driver skill, and not 2 minutes of sub menus, just aren't BMW's key demographic anymore.
      • 7 Years Ago
      That great now, BMW and Bugatti both have 7sp DSG
      Is it really faster tha a 6sp manual? That Awesome!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I own a '04 M3 with SMG II. Have had it since the fall of '03. It is a supurb car but there is significant learning curve in using the SMG. Once mastered, the SMG is excellent. Better than any manual I've ever driven. I'm disappointed that BMW didn't come up with something equivalent to the new '09 Nissan GT-R that does 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds.
      • 7 Years Ago

      I'm a huge BMW fan but this over wizardization of essential driving functions is one of the real problems with their most recent cars, with the M5 in particular.

      After alot of pressure BMW finally agreed to bring over a good ol' grassroots 6 Speed stick version of the M5, but only in limited numbers, and with no promise that it would continue. Now I hope they aren't planning to ax the manual M3 over this complex gearbox, no matter how good it is.

      The beauty of a manual transmission has as much to do with the overall feel it provides as how quick it is or isn't.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I guess SMG suck, as Ferrari uses it in all of their cars, and F1 race cars use it too. The racing versions of the M3 all used the SMG... CSL/GTR/Alot of Club Racers

      Bmw's SMGII system in the e46 M3 must suck even worse as it takes 80ms to shift and takes a Enzo Ferrari 150ms to shift...

      Perhaps it just takes a little getting used too, because it is different.
        • 7 Years Ago
        You might not want to be a paper-spec whore when DSG shifts in 8ms.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I thought BMWs SMG was already one of the best, what's wrong with it?
        • 7 Years Ago
        So they tweaked the SMG and gave it a new name. BMW is going to run out of acronyms soon.
          • 7 Years Ago
          No, the new DKG DCT is a completely different and improved design, not an AMT like SMG at all, IYKWIM.

          And to the comment below about manuals 'feeling' better-- DCT transmissions have very similar inertia to manual transmissions, and provide the nearly same direct feeling as a manual, depending on some control strategies for the clutch engagements. But in an M3 or similar car, you can be sure that it will be biased toward the sporty feel and therefore should be every bit as rewarding on the 'feel' aspect- not slipping feeling, immediate engagements, etc. It is clearly the best solution to filling in the space between the engine and the driven axles of any road car intended for sporting use.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'm a manual fan but this sounds pretty fun to drive... and by the way, I think "slushbox" as slang for an auto originally came from the fact that most traditional autos use a torque converter, which actually uses fluid to transfer the engine's power to the wheels... this is in no way a "slushbox" by that definition.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Nothing, this is a slush box, no clutch pedal.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The BMW ones were considerably slow compared to the competition.
      • 7 Years Ago
      No one talks about the elephant in the middle of the room, i.e., skip shifting. Even with my 03 M3 six speed, I'll often shift 1-3-6 around town...not EVERY shift has to be a redline or sequential! Wonder how a dual clutch will work on a 1-3 shift...or even if it will go there without going 1-2-3. The current SMG will go 1-3 on an M6, for example....
      • 7 Years Ago
      Lack of a clutch pedal does not a slush box make....lack of a clutch does. The slush comes from an automatic's torque converter. SMG's, DSG's and "Dual Clutch" transmissions all have clutches. But you probably already knew that.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I haven't driven an M3 with these new advanced transmissions, but it seems like you loose some of the fun and connection you get with a manual. As mentioned before, can a person really notice the decrease in shift time? The increase in fuel economy is a plus, though.

      Just seems like it is getting out of control, adaptive driving modes and so forth. A human being can change the driving mode anytime he/she wants, without computer assistance.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I am pretty sure the convertible will only come with the Dual-Clutch. Seems only posers, yuppies, and mid life crisis newbies drive M3 convertibles. I haven't seen a standard manual on an M3 (e46) ever.
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