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2010 2011 BMW 5 Series Forum F10 BMW 5-Series (F10) Forums General 5-Series Sedan and Wagon (F10 / F11) Forum DCT in xDrive?
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      01-09-2011, 08:18 PM   #1
TurboFan
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DCT in xDrive?

I'm really interested in a 550xDrive for my next ride, but I have quite a bit of hesitation ordering a slushbox. I've been a dedicated manual driver for almost 20 years now, and drive BMW's in large part becuase they've always offered a stick in any car I've wanted (4 bimmers and counting).

My question to current owners:

How does the sport auto compare to a DCT (please don't guess, I'm interested in direct comparison from people that have driven a DCT)?

I could maybe live with a 550xDrive if the option of a sporty auto existed. I've found all BMW auto tranny's to be completely unacceptable, including the standard auto offered on the 550 (I haven't driven a paddle-shifted sport auto in the 550) or the sport auto offered on the 3 series.

My second question is to see if anyone has heard anything of a DCT coming to the F10?
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      01-09-2011, 09:08 PM   #2
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Background: I own a 535i 6MT now. I used to own a 335i E93 6AT Steptronic. I have driven the 135i with the 7DCT on a test drive. I do not have a whole lot of time in a F10 8AT.

I'm going to assume the 8AT in the 535i/550i is very close to the 6AT that's in the 335i E93. They are the same manufacturer (ZF). The 8AT is one generation newer. But they are both based on torque converters instead of the clutches present in the 7DCT.

Starting from a stop, I feel the 7DCT has more lag than the ZF autos. The tranny has to "bring up the clutch" to get going. You don't get that effect on TC trannys. Punching the gas in a 335i 6AT in Sport Mode, you have the feel that you're going to go "right now". The 135i 7DCT had a little more of a "wait for it.... GO" type feel.

But once you are going, the 7DCT shifts between gears are incredible. The downshifts are practically instant. Way faster than you could do on a 6MT or 8AT. It's almost spooky how fast it shifts. When using the paddles, the 7DCT shifts were equally fast. No lag, it just shifts right now.

To be fair, if you have a 6MT it takes a little while to get going as well. The 7DCT can start off a little faster than a human. But it won't feather the clutch to get a power take off like you can in a 6MT.

The good news is that 6AT in my 335i kept the torque converter locked almost all of the time. You could do engine braking in that car. If you let off the gas and punched it again you wouldn't have to wait for the TC to get a clue. It's already locked. The only time the TC unlocks is when it is shifting. It's not a very squishy feel.

I'm happy with the 6MT in my 535i. It's a very smooth shifter and feels great. But you can't get a 6MT with XDrive in the U.S. The strategy from BMW seems to be that 6MT is for "performance" drivers. And performance means non-Xdrive to them.

The only place you are going to see a DCT tranny on an F10 is in the M5 anyway. I'd be willing to bet you won't see a DCT in an F10 any other way for the next couple of years. No M5, no DCT.

Up until a year ago when the 335is was introduced you could only get a DCT in the 3 series on an M3. And we're at the very end of the E9x model lifetime.

Edit: Wait a second, your car list says you own an X5. That must surely have the ZF 6AT in it. The 8AT in the F10 is going to be very similar to that one, except that it has more gears.

Last edited by ibimmer346; 01-09-2011 at 09:27 PM.
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      01-10-2011, 01:11 PM   #3
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If you like a manual transmission and are going to buy an F10 xdrive, get the sport auto transmission. I have not tried the regular transmission, but have to assume it is similar to the sport transmission in normal mode. My last car was a 335i cab with 6MT, and I was hoping to get my F10 with 6MT, but in the end it was not available with xdrive. I do miss my 335 after 2 months mainly because of the transmission, but I still love the F10 and probably wouldn't go back if I had the chance. I find when in sport mode, the transmission is much better than normal mode, gear changed happen at much higher revs, (5,000rpm not 2,500 rpm) gears are held longer, most importantly when you take your foot off the accelerator (normal model will quickly upshift in this case) making cornering much more enjoyable. I found the normal mode very intrusive, the sport mode much more enjoyable, and the car is much more lively. So in the end I guess I'm saying if you really like a manual transmission, then you will have to give up xdrive. But if you do go with xdrive, make sure to get the sport transmission. Sorry no comparison to DCT, never drove one.
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      01-10-2011, 05:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ibimmer346 View Post
....

Edit: Wait a second, your car list says you own an X5. That must surely have the ZF 6AT in it. The 8AT in the F10 is going to be very similar to that one, except that it has more gears.
Yep, sure do. It's the worst AT tranny I've ever owned. My Nissan Titan has "right now" acceleration, and will smoke my X5 to 30, maybe 40. I hope the 8AT is better than the POS in the X5. It's my only complaint on the car.
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