• Nov 20, 2008
Dual clutch transmission... sounds complicated. And it is. Case in point: BMW's new DCT on its latest-generation M3. This new transmission from Munich is so complicated that apparently even BMW couldn't get it right the first time, so they're issuing a recall. The problem, as concluded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is that under hard braking the transmission's software is prone to initiate a multi-stage downshift, which could cause the car to stall. The solution, however, should be fairly simple, as BMW is asking all owners of 2008 or 2009 M3s equipped with the DCT (about 2,500 in the United States) to come in for a software update, free of charge, at their local dealership. After the software update, M3 owners can perform all the panic stops they want in smooth-shifting bliss.

The official recall notice can be viewed on the NHTSA website. Thanks for the tip, TKE!


[Source: Good Car Bad Car]



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  • 32 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sorry, but if a dual clutch transmission has the ability to "initiate a multi-stage downshift" by itself, then it's not really a manual, contrary to what people have been trying to say that dual clutch transmissions are manuals.

      I'll stick to initiating the multi-stage downshifts with my arm plzkthx.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why do automakers feel the need to redefine the manual transmission when no one is asking for it? My cousin special ordered the very first Z4 with the SMG tranny in the LA area (so his wife could drive it too) but by the time they got home from the dealer the unit failed and could only engage reverse. It had to be loaded on a flatbed back to the dealer where it sat in service for more than a month. For all their trouble the dealer loaned them a used X5 for the month.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Chester,

        I meant to reply to your message, but I screwed up. The reply is further down this thread.

        -ted
      • 6 Years Ago
      How long before they just put WiFi in and these types of software updates download automatically whenever the car gets a signal.

      I'm not sure it would be a good thing, but I bet eventually someone tries it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Lots of negativity here. As an all around auto enthusiast and M-DCT M3 owner, I would firmly predict that the vast majority of people making negative comments would not hate driving this car. You might not like the idea at first, but its so sickeningly fast to shift, and such a blast to drive, you'd be hard pressed to not have fun unless you are simply being difficult in order to prove a point.

      Having said that, I am very happy they finally issued a recall. It was a definite safety issue and a few people online described incidents of almost getting in accidents. BMW had a TSB for this some time ago now and many of in the know got the software updated immediately or soon after it was issued. But those not in the know would only get the update at the time of next regular service, which could be too late to prevent a potential accident. I had said from the day the TSB was issued that this should be a recall, definitely. BMW dropped the ball in not issue one themselves, immediately. I never personally had the issue describe by the recall, but am glad I got the update. Unfortunately, the update introduced a new (less serious, but still potentially dangerous) bug that is reportedly going to be address in another software update soon. Ah, the perils of early adoption. But, there are no regrets from me. This is an amazing fast and fun car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I know recalls happen... but I can't imagine being in a panic situation and having the engine stall, loosing power steering and power brakes. NOT an opportune time for that to happen....
      • 6 Years Ago
      @chester

      Automakers feel the need to redefine the automatic transmission, not the manual transmission.

      A proper DSG will give you the equivalent fuel economy of a manual, the convenience of an automatic, and faster shifting than both of the others.

      Every one of my gearhead friends who has driven my DSG equipped GTI says it is the fastest shifting gearbox they have ever driven. Not one of my friends thinks they can shift faster than the DSG.

      My wife also loves the DSG since she hates driving a manual transmission.

      DSGs will eventually replace all automatics, but they might never replace a manual gearbox.

      -ted
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ted,

        Get me in a manual GTI and I'll beat the DSG 9 out of 10 times. I had the luxury of going to Montessi Volkswagen (in Connecticut) and drove 2 six speeds and 2 DSGs back to back.

        I got out of the hole so much faster with the stick...full car by the 100ft mark. I never lifted my right foot and hit each shift dead on. Both the dealer and the mechanic (who was the DSG's biggest supporter) agreed that my manual runs were faster.

        The mechanic also said that if I drove like this all of the time, that the car would probably be in for warranty work very soon....but agreed that until it broke I would probably beat the DSG.

        The same goes for the 335i. I drove both of those and I can get the manual car to go faster. Are these timed runs? No. But the difference is felt in the 1st 60ft....and at a dragstrip and on the street...that is where a race is won.

        Autoblog should hold a competition on this. Seriously. Rent a track....if not a road course than get a drag strip....and get people to show up with both versions. To keep it simple, just get the 335's and the GTI's to show up. Make sure they are bone stock, be sure the stick guy can really drive and let's settle this.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Exactly, this is the part of driving a stick for some reason people don't understand, half the control involved with using a manual has nothing to do with how fast you shift. Question for all those people that think "diehards" are stuck in time: Don't you think when THEY NEED IT, they would want ANY system that gave them the fastest shift.....come on, no one is that dense!! It doesn't matter how fast your computer control is, it will never encompass all the different levels of control between clutch, break and gas. Engine/Transmission control, under panic stops, is nothing an experienced manual driver has to get a software update for. LOL!! Yeah, have fun with letting a computer tell you how to drive....
        • 6 Years Ago
        Chris,

        Check out this video:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmMNRQ1GJ3o

        Were you using launch control when you did your tests?

        -ted
      • 6 Years Ago
      You may not be able to drive it but that interior is HOT.
      • 6 Years Ago
      These days, it seems like the only thing good about BMW is the name BMW.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Haha!

      I'm surprised they actually did a recall this time... BMW don't do recalls even for defective airbags! (unless NHTSA steps in of course)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Wrong.

        "The problem, as concluded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is that under hard braking the transmission's software is prone to initiate a multi-stage downshift..."

        NHTSA engineers found the problem, not BMW.

        Two types of Recalls... 1. Initiated by automaker 2. Initiated by NHTSA due to complaints filed.
        • 6 Years Ago
        oops, gave too much credit to BMW, looks like NHTSA forced them to do a recall this time as well.

        BMW = POS

      • 6 Years Ago
      I can write paragraphs on why I think the DCT goes against Bimmer's marketing strategy, but it shortens all down to this:

      Ultimate Driving Machine = Classic Manual Transmission
      Ultimate Performance Machine = Dual Clutch Transmission

      Just my $.02
        • 6 Years Ago
        If BMW reads your comment, I'm sure they'll be changing their slogan ASAP.

        I prefer good old stick shift for fun as well.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If I were buying an M3, I would get a manual. I would feel so weird getting the flappy paddle option. It would just seem like less of a "driver's car" then. Not saying I would turn down a ride/ drive in a flappy paddle M3... but when I think of an "M" car, I just think "driver's car", and when I think "driver's car", I think "stick shift". I'm sure the DCT M3 is fun and rewarding in its own sense... but...
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