BMW has invited itself to a party that Porsche started. Someone trolling trawling through patent filings found drawings submitted by BMW for two slightly different takes on a seven-speed manual transmission. The first take is a more conventional setup that provides an honest clutch pedal. The second variant uses a shift-by-wire system to swap gears through an electromechanical actuator. To prevent drivers from accidentally engaging an engine-damaging gear in such a closely spaced pattern, both rely on an electromagnetic fluid inside a shifting module that can change viscosity to prevent the 'lever' from making a shift.
According to the filing, the system can work with up to eight(!) gears. It isn't clear if, even in the system with the clutch, the gear lever is actually attached to any of those gears.

What's also notable about the drawings is the shift pattern. Porsche's seven-speed shift pattern in the 991-series 911 places reverse and the odd gears above, the even gears below. But the BMW pattern in the drawing places reverse and seventh gear in opposing positions at the ends of the axis that is normally, entirely, neutral. Also, the shift pattern is drawn on what looks more like an iDrive-shaped stick, not the usual BMW manual transmission knob, nor the stubby dual-clutch stick as found in the BMW M6 whose reverse gear is still located above neutral.

Who knows if or when we'll ever see it, but it's encouraging just to know that advanced, row-your-own transmissions are still on drawing boards somewhere.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 48 Comments
      bonehead
      • 2 Years Ago
      Personally i want a manual that goes all the way to 11
      wat
      • 2 Years Ago
      What do you mean by, "iDrive-shaped stick"? Do you even know what you're saying? iDrive is BMW's all-in-one center-mounted interface, usually connected with Navigation. The controller is a knob with some buttons. I'm going to guess you meant BMW M's SMG shifter-shaped.
      desinerd1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not bad. This at least is trying to solve a problem. The shifter BMW uses for AT on the other hand is completely pointless - a solution trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist. What's worse is that Kia copied it in K9.
      natron3030
      • 2 Years Ago
      You've heard of 7 minute abs but have you heard of 6 minute abs?!?
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Ak74
      • 2 Years Ago
      this patent is almost a year old
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      brian
      • 2 Years Ago
      Anything over 5 speeds for a Manual is overkill... ...Unless you're driving an 18-Wheeler.
        NightFlight
        • 2 Years Ago
        @brian
        Yeah, I'm right there with you bro. Automatics don't need anything more than 3, or 4 speeds at MOST! /sarcasm
          Leather Bear
          • 2 Years Ago
          @NightFlight
          From one who is old enough to remember Powerglide and Fordomatic A/Ts, you don't need anything more than 2 speeds! /s
        Joe Bo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @brian
        I usually avoid making statements like this but... That was one of the stupidest posts I've ever read on autoblog. You win.
        1STH
        • 2 Years Ago
        @brian
        uhhh...NO.
        XJ Yamaha
        • 2 Years Ago
        @brian
        You obviously don't understand the advantages of more gears contributing to lower rpms at higher speeds, hence better mileage, while also improving acceleration throughoutall gears.
        MONTEGOD7SS
        • 2 Years Ago
        @brian
        More gears are either heavier, or smaller (weaker), no other way around it. I personally prefer a transmission built like an anvil instead of one that will get me 1% better fuel mileage.
      Fatima
      • 2 Years Ago
      BMW loves making crap nobody asks for or wants.
      1STH
      • 2 Years Ago
      what a terrible design. expected of BMW...
      Neil
      • 2 Years Ago
      too bad porsche beat them! the 911 already has a 7-speed manual!
        jtav2002
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Neil
        Yes, I think we're all aware. What's the difference? I'm sure there was a manufacturer to offer the first 6 speed at one point. That doesn't stop other manufacturers from doing so and it becoming the standard.
      fc
      • 2 Years Ago
      **** bmws are for losers!!!
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