Podcast: Maybach Jr., Aston's Alphanumerological Excess, Midas Muffler, Alpha Ferrari, DCT Uber Alles

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

It’s been a while since my description of the Subaru B9 Tribeca’s front end as a “flying vagina” got TTAC banned from… BMW’s press fleet. At the time, the German company’s PR flack promised/threatened to monitor the site and “get back in touch;” you know, when he’d decided that we’d been good little boys. Yeah right. There’s a higher likelihood that Godot will hang with Vladimir and Estragon than a Bimmer flackling calling TTAC to welcome us back into the fold. Still, we’ve managed to end run the embargo. And we’ve shown no animus or (Godot forbid) favoritism in our reviews of their products (e.g. Jay Shoemaker recently declared the 335i one of the millennia’s best motors). So I can once again state without fear or favor that BMW’s SMG gearbox is the worst gearbox on planet earth, by a large margin. Now, thanks to a generous reader, we’ve learned that BMW has bought Borg Warner’s dual clutch transmission (DCT) technology. The world’s best gearbox (known as DSG in Volkswagen/Audi world) will appear in BMW products as early as next year. So who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Speak, Rover BMW, speak!

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Jonny Lieberman Jonny Lieberman on Oct 04, 2006

    See -- this would be a great comparison. "World's Worst Gear Boxes" I still say that the Maser in Auto is the dog of the dog and pony show.

  • S is for Supra S is for Supra on Oct 04, 2006

    I’m sure the DCT/DSG is a great box and has received great acclaim in the press but I for one don’t mind the SMG. Still shifts better than I do in my manual most times according to my wife. Good to hear the BMW is licensing the technology but it was my understanding that there are some torque limitations on the DCT so I wonder if it will make it into the M3 and M5.

  • Xunker Xunker on Oct 04, 2006

    You're right Steve, and that's a point we shouldn't forget: If I, the human with the small brain, wants to shift I should understand that the car doesn't know that until my finger hits the paddle wherein it will do it's darnedest (hopefully) to swap the cog as fast as it can. If *I* told it to change, some reasonable jerkyness is in order Though in automatic mode the opposite should be true: the computer knows what's coming and should know it's own limitations enough make the change smooth unless I explicity asked for it. To be sure, BMW's newest SMG makes a nice balance in that you can adjust the neck-breaking effect of the change from something people tell me is a relaxed and smooth shift on the lowest setting all the way up into the kind of shift that tears your retinas loose. The Bugatti Veyron uses a DSG gearbox too, albeit a highly modified one and not the one we get in our regular euro-boxes... though that proves physically it can handle the power so it's only a matter of time. The VW tuner crowd says the DSG in the GTI can handle 250HP, but the R36 Golf will be north of 300HP some say and most likely have DSG as an option so the white coat boys are certainly already working on making it more robust. [More to the point, I myself would rather have a fast but rough shift versus a catatonically slow but smooth shift]

  • ImageWIS ImageWIS on Oct 05, 2006

    Steve_S, What limitations does the DSG have regarding torque? If it can handle the Veyron’s 923 lb-ft of torque, It can easily handle anything ‘regular’ cars will use. Jon.