The dual clutch or double clutch transmission is an option for the BMW M3 which costs an additional $2900. It’s great for those who intend to drive their vehicles on the track often or those who get stuck in traffic often. I’m not going to compare the differences between the DCT and manual transmission nor talk about which I think is better. I just want to discuss what my thoughts about the DCT transmission are.
The DCT transmission has two clutches unlike a traditional torque converter transmission. The function of operation from a driver’s perspective is similar. For example, on the 340i and the M3, they both have paddles and the option to switch the transmission into a manual mode. Using the central shifter, you are able to manually upshift and downshift in addition to letting the vehicle be in automatic mode where the vehicle will upshift and downshift accordingly without driver input. The shifts in this particular dual clutch transmission will happen in thousandths of a second, meaning almost no delay during the changing of gears.
I normally just use the paddles as I prefer to keep both hands on the steering wheel. It’s much more convenient as the paddles are located right behind the steering wheel. The shifter in the center console is very comfortable to hold and has a soft leather texture on the back of the shifter. On the front of the shifter, it is enclosed with plastic. To put the vehicle in manual mode just toggle the shifter to the right. Then pull down to upshift and up to downshift. The first gear ratio is high as expected. While shifting from first to second it’s quite rough. Even having the gas pedal modestly depressed and then shifting from first to second the vehicle will jerk. It’s definitely not a smooth transition compared to upshifting into third or fourth for example.
The shifts happen relatively fast and there is no delay in my commands to the vehicle. When accelerating from a steady speed, I simply just mash on the gas past the point of resistance (the gas pedal will depress steadily until a point where it becomes harder to press down and once pressed down after this point will the vehicle be in full throttle) and have the left paddle depressed to indicate a lower gear change to allow the vehicle to drop to its lowest gear in order to accelerate the fastest from that speed. If the gas pedal is not fully depressed, the gear will only go down by one versus going to the absolute lowest gear possible when the gas pedal is fully depressed. The first gear revs all the way up to redline by around 30-35mph. Second gear tops out at around 65-70mph and third gear should top out around 95-100mph.
Overall I think the DCT transmission is quite good. The shifts happen fast and with minimal delay. The only downside is that there is turbo lag and it feels like the vehicle isn’t responding at all until half a second later when all that torque hits you in the back of the head. This isn’t the fault of the transmission but simply the physics behind how the engine works.
And a note to all my readers, I do apologize if some of the wording is incorrect or what I'm describing is incorrect. I do my best to provide my viewers with the most accurate information possible. I'm a car enthusiast but not a car guru so please be patient and let me know if there's anything you think is false or misleading and I will look into it. Thank you!