Over on another forum someone was asking about the origins of BMW's new M-DCT transmission and I thought it might be worth sharing my response just in case a similar question is asked here on M3Post.
Internal BMW correspondence confirms that the M-DCT box will only be available from March 2008. I seem to remember that there was a news leak on Ricardo Engineering's website just over a year ago, talking about a collaboration with BMW on a new gearbox. However there was also news that BMW had bought the DCT technology from Borg Warner. And finally just to confuse us, there is equally strong information to conclude that M-DCT is a Gertrag based system.
With Volkswagen having stolen a march on its competitors, the question now is who will be next? Well, according to CSM's intelligence, it will be a race between Ford Europe and BMW, with announcements expected before the end of 2006: Getrag-Ford has been developing two DCTs called the MPS6 (or DCT450), for use with L4 and V6 engines, and a shorter SPS6 (or DCT470) for use with the longer L5 (Volvo) engines. Meanwhile, Getrag has been developing a DCT called the 436 (or 7DCI600), which is to be supplied exclusively to BMW. The first application will be the BMW M3, which is powered by a new 307kW/412hp 'S65B40' gasoline engine. Thereafter, expect to see it in various BMW 3-Series and 5-Series cars. Following them will be a Getrag 481 (or 7DCL650) unit for Ferrari, and the much delayed ZF unit in the Porsche 911
What is not clear is perhaps if they may end up using several systems (i.e. Borg Warner system in mainstream BMWs, and Gertrag DCT system in M-models) just as they did with SMG (i.e. SSG was used in the 3-series, whilst SMG was unique to M-models).
Interestingly, Ricardo performed a benchmarking study of the SMGIII transmission back in 2005