MUNICH, Germany – BMW’s Mini is about to introduce a new transmission that, it says, “will mean extremely fast gear-changes, a high degree of shift comfort and optimised efficiency”.
It’s a seven-speed Steptronic automatic double-clutch gearbox for the Mini three- and five-door hatchbacks and the Mini convertible. The automaker says customers can now order this new transmission in conjunction with selected engine variants as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual.
The double-clutch transmission is operated by a fresh design of electronic selector lever (see image) which always returns to its original position after changing between Driving mode, Neutral position and Reverse.
The parking lock is activated by pressing P and Sport mode can be activated by shifting the selector lever to the left from position D, allowing the driver manual interventions.
Mini’s boffins add: “The electronic controller, paired with the new double-clutch transmission, includes a shift strategy based on navigation data and supports both the engine start/stop and coasting.”
The design is an adaptation of ‘boxes used for racing to enable upshifts without torque interruption. “The driver can keep the accelerator down while the transmission sets the shift point in a fraction of a second.”
The extra gear also reduces the differences in engine speed between the Drive positions. The driver can use S mode to go manual though the changes must be sequential.
In auto mode, the transmissions can be linked to the car’s satnav to anticipate turns and gradients. When approaching a sharp bend or junction, for example, a downshift is made early to invoke engine braking.
The transmission also offers a crawl function for smooth starts, slow traffic and slow manoeuvring.