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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Arrow HEY! MOTORHEADS Double-clutch trannies?

    What do you think of this?

    Double-clutch trannies? BMW gets it right

    By David Booth, For Canwest News Service June 26, 2009 1:08 AM

    It's embarrassing. Really. I might have to surrender my credentials as a dyed-in-the-wool motor head.

    Here I am driving around in BMW's all-new M3 coupe, the very first of its breed to be powered by a V-8 engine and, much to my surprise and chagrin, it's not that incredible engine that seduces me but the transmission. And to further erode my bona fides as a truly bathes-in-motor-oil kind of guy, it's in the automatic mode that BMW's new double clutch gearbox really wows me.

    For some time now, auto scribes have been proclaiming the death of the manual gearbox. Involving and interactive it may be, but the advent of new technologies has threatened to make rowing a stick-shift a thing of the past.

    Why, after all, said the early adopters, bother with such unnecessary exertions such as depressing a clutch pedal and learning an H-pattern when you could simply toggle a paddle -- an operation so effortless that, if the designers got their ergonomics right, wouldn't even require you to move your hands from the steering wheel?

    The answer, provided best by BMW's own effort at the technology -- the sequential M gearbox -- is that the first iterations of these new trannies were awful. Yes, the M5's SMG shifted rapidly, but it was extremely abrupt and jerky at low speeds.

    But it was in its "automatic" mode that it truly sucked.

    When trying to emulate the performance of a 70-year-old Hydra-Matic, this modern marvel was either balky -- as in the shifts were so slow that the loss of forward momentum caused you to lurch forward -- or so abrupt that it felt as if someone was smacking you in the head with a phone book. It might have offered seven speeds at your fingertip control, but it was so terrible that BMW was forced to retrofit the M5 with a yesteryear six-speed manual.

    Audi provided the first indication that there was some future for these automated manual transmissions with its S-Tronic transmission that essentially took the same concept of a computer-controlled manual gearbox but tamed its cranky ways by adding a second clutch. What the new fancy breed of double-clutch transmissions does is smooth the shifting process by essentially eliminating it.

    Yes, I hear your collective "huh?" but that is their advantage. BMW's DCG, for instance, has one clutch for the uneven gears (1, 3, 5 and 7) and another for the even gears (2, 4 and 6). In operation, one clutch is always engaged, while the other is open.

    When accelerating, for instance, in third gear, fourth has already been pre-selected. The only difference is that while third gear's clutch is closed, fourth's is open. The advantage, of course, is that when the time arrives to actually upshift, it's a simple matter of disengaging one clutch and engaging the other; no actual gear movement need be made. It's this elimination of the gear selection process that makes it so rapid.

    Clutch actuation is a simple and quick process compared with moving gears around. It's why double-clutch transmissions are so much speedier than either manual gearboxes or the single-clutch automated versions.

    Acceleration is quicker because there's less of a pause between gears, and the entire process adds more control since gear selection is so precise.

    But the surprising benefit is that double-clutch transmissions, especially BMW's DCG, are so incredibly smooth when you're motoring around in their "automatic" modes.

    In fact, the new BMW tranny is the first of this new breed that actually feels smoother than a traditional automatic. Flip the gear lever sideways twice to actuate the "D" mode and the DCG creeps through town like the very best of GM slushboxes. It's also adjustable with a range of shift points from the Cadillac-smooth to the Porsche Tiptronic precise. In its most aggressive automatic mode, it even blips the throttle for high-speed downshifting entering corners.

    That's why I predict that the DCG's appeal may spread further than the original mandate of replacing the clunky old manual gearbox. So smooth is it in everyday operation that I find it preferable to even the best automatics in everyday operation in any of BMW's products.

    DCG even offers a fuel economy advantage over both traditional manuals and automatics: Over the former because it has one more gear that essentially works as an overdrive, and more than the latter because its clutches are far more efficient than a wasteful torque converter.

    Indeed, I'll say it out loud; I can find no flaws in the new DCG's performance and it's the best transmission I've ever tested.

    © Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist


    I'm not "rich" enough to be allowed to sit in a new BMW or Audi, so not much chance of checking this out for myself.
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  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Learning to drive all over again

    New automatic transmission can be down-shifted by punching the gas

    By Derek Mcnaughton, Canwest News Service June 26, 2009 1:08 AM

    There are moments in life that leave a permanent mark on the memory. Many are tragic, of course, but others sublime.

    Exceeding 200 km/h at the wheel of a 300-plus horsepower Porsche is one of those perfect moments that forever embeds itself in the consciousness. And after doing it once, the pull to do it again becomes a need more than a want.

    Recently, I joined about a dozen Porsche owners for a few hours of living life at speed. Porsche and Audi dealer Mark Motors of Ottawa had invited a handful of customers to Calabogie Motorsports Park, about an hour west of Ottawa, to try what their cars were designed to do best -- go extremely fast.

    Many drivers were surprised at what their Porsches could do. Others did not try to push their own abilities. I, however, was not nearly as sensible.

    Driving a 2009 Porsche Cayman S that Porsche Canada had brought to the track, I removed several thousand kilometres of life from the car's 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport tires.

    Luckily, I was riding with Rick Bye, Porsche Canada's press fleet co-ordinator for Eastern Canada and, more significantly, a Canadian endurance race champion and respected Porsche Cup driver, who kept me from doing anything really

    stupid.

    "See? You didn't do that with enough conviction," he blurts as I attempt to master a little-known fact about Porsche's new automatic PDK transmission -- it can be down-shifted by punching the gas pedal with your right foot while you are hard braking with your left.

    Braking with your left foot? Shifting the transmission by hitting the gas? Cool, huh? It's a strange feeling, and far from completely natural after several decades of doing it the other way around.

    But there we were, screaming down the first straight on Calabogie's magnificent 5.05-km track that winds its way through 20-odd turns of hill and dale, trying to slow the car from more than 200 km/h and applying the brakes with the wrong foot and quickly punching the gas pedal with the right foot at that precise moment when throttle seems the last thing on earth you should be doing.

    Why? Because there is no more asphalt and the car needs to turn or it is going to become part of the tall grass and pines that ring the track. All this, in an insane effort to make the car automatically downshift.

    But it worked.

    And when all the shifts, turns and exits happen correctly, the feeling is extraordinary, like the first time you rode on two wheels in front of your mom and dad.

    In a Porsche, somehow it all seems to happen so much more seamlessly, such is the performance-inspired, race-bred nature of every car from Stuttgart.

    In the new mid-engined Cayman, now glowing with 320 horsepower, laps fall away almost with ease -- though if the car is going to spin, it will do so extremely quickly and without warning, Bye says.

    Of course, the automatic transmission in the new Cayman can be shifted with buttons on the steering wheel or through the gear lever itself, but this right-foot shifting, once mastered, is entirely unique and effective in shaving lap times.

    At Calabogie, that's important. The track, one of the most beautiful in North America, is difficult to master, but extremely safe, with large run-off areas and limited guardrails.

    Calabogie has also just finished construction of a stunning, stone-sided 10,000 square-foot clubhouse with second-floor classrooms and a third-floor observation floor. The whole place now has the look and feel of a high-end resort.

    Safety at our event was expertly handled. Each guest of Mark Motors rode with an instructor from En-Track, an Ottawa-based company working with Calabogie Motorsports Park to provide professionally run driving events where average drivers can experience the "thrill of the racetrack" in their own cars or rent a car at the track.

    "Virtually everyone who has attended and enjoyed one of our events, has loved it and become a better driver because of it," says En-Track owner Paul Racine. "The GPM factor (Grins Per Mile) is evident on all En-Track's clients at the end of the day."

    Certainly there were a lot of grins on the drivers I saw. On this one, there was an everlasting desire to do it all over again.

    © Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

    www.calabogiemotorsports.com
    Last edited by MalahatTwo7; 06-26-2009 at 08:34 AM.

  3. #3
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    When I saw "Double Clutch" visions of large trucks with unsynchronized transmissions came to mind.....the physical act of having to "double clutch" to shift gears....Not a transmission with two clutches....Who cares about that bavarian garbage! When you can drive THIS using the clutch as little as this guy does, you will impress me!!!!

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  4. #4
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    I learned to drive on a 1936 International 2 ton grain truck with what was called a square transmission. You had to double clutch all the way up from second to fifth and all the way back down to bull low. You did learn if nothing else.

  5. #5
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    We had a tanker... gosh. I'm not sure of the year, gas job, probably mid 70's. International with split rear.

    You didn't have to double clutch..... but it sure made less noise!
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    I'm right there with all of those that thought you were talking about the old unsyncronized transmissions where you had to double clutch. I learned the technique in an old military 5 ton truck that my old department had set up as a brush truck. It was basically a lesson on how to do it then sent off on my own into a large field beside the station with many a grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr gears ground. It is definately a technique that requires a bit of learning but once you have it down, it is kind of fun to drive. I do miss driving that truck a bit. Probably the hardest part was learning the down shift. Oh yea and two clutches, forget that. It was painfull enough paying the bill to replace the one clutch in my pickup.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    I never got to drive it, but Malahat had a 1981 International King engine, with a 4/5 split transmission. As a kid, I got to watch my Dad drive a semi with one of those. The only time he ever used the clutch was to move off from a dead stop. After that it was all a "matter of timing".
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

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  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    I was all confused, I thought you meant tranny as in:
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  9. #9
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey View Post
    I was all confused, I thought you meant tranny as in:
    I think that's a triple clutch trannie.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  10. #10
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Talking Yeah..............

    Anyone who uses the Clutch after the Vehicle starts moving is a Sissy........
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  11. #11
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Post Umm..........

    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey View Post
    I was all confused, I thought you meant tranny as in:

    No Dummy, your illustration is a Shiftless Model.............
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

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