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      03-01-2011, 02:29 PM   #65
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Drives: E92 M3
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: San Diego, CA USA

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Originally Posted by mkoesel View Post
Swamp, my feelings on this are that the answer to your question is absolutely irrelevant since no proper manual transmission with a clutch pedal and H-gated shifter has an automatic mode. In other words, the transmission has no ability whatsoever to shift automatically. It does not matter how the shifting is accomplished, it just matters that the driver must participate.

In order to avoid confusion, it makes most sense to call any transmission that has the ability to switch gear ratios by itself - without any driver involvment at all - an automatic transmission. Sure, we could call such transmissions "automanuals". That would perhaps be a better or more accurate term. The problem is that people have been calling this type of transmission an "automatic" for decades (since '41 according to Bruce) now and I don't see how it is necessary nor practical to rename them at this time, especially not at the behest of some new technology that is completely internal to the transmisison and does not change the driver's side of the shifting process.

And FWIW, yes, if someone designs a transmission that has a clutch pedal and yet still has an automatic mode - that's an automatic transmission. Why? Because it can shift by itself. Conversely, if someone designs a transmission with no clutch pedal that can only be shifted by the driver, then that is a manual transmission. In other words, going back to your first paragraph, the exact nature by which the shifting is accomplished is not important, the only thing that matters is whether gear ratios can be selected automatically or not. Simple.
I have not left your point unexamined, there is certainly some logic in it, yet I still disagree.

DCTs have both a manual mode AND and automatic mode. While in the automatic mode (although you can absolutely still feel that these suckers are "manuals" on the inside) certainly from the user interface perspective it "is" an automatic. I've never argued otherwise. However, it is ONLY an automatic from ONE single perspective, that of the user interface. In stark contrast, when in manual mode (once you get over this hang up of two steering wheel paddles vs. the floor "paddle" and transmission tunnel "paddle" in the traditional MT) then it is a manual transmission in ALL key regards (user interface, feel and internal construction). Now that being said you do not hear me erring on the other side of the argument and calling DCTs manuals. They aren't. Even though I believe they are more manual than automatic (for the exact reasons above), I won't use purposefully loaded words. Surely you can not argue that "automatic", especially in performance circles, is not a loaded word.

Again call a horse and horse and call it a DCT. Also since no DCT I'm aware of has only an automatic mode or only a manual mode the term automated manual is also perfect. Well automatable manual is even a bit better but that's sort of splitting hairs...(and sounds a bit corny...). There is no reason other than pride/"politics"/ludditism to choose the term - automatic - which again drastically misconveys key parts of the design and experience of the system.
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