DCT vs Manual Transmissions
Which is quicker in the real world
BMW versus Mercedes-Benz. Schumacher versus Senna. Turbo versus all-motor. There is an easier way to start a bar-room brawl amongst petrol heads. Simply ask which is better, a manual transmission, or a modern-day automatic?
Automatic transmissions have evolved greatly over the last two decades. Granted, Formula 1 has played a huge part in the lightning-quick shifts of these boxes as well as their reliability; but in recent years, dual-clutch transmissions have been winning the war against manual transmissions.
It’s fair to say that bar for a few high-performance cars and some entry-level cars; the majority of new cars either feature an automatic, a dual-clutch, or a continuously variable transmission. It seems that the manual transmissions’ days are indeed numbered.
However, it is widely acknowledged that if you want to experience what a real driver’s car is, it needs to have a manual shifter. This is true since many all-out drivers’ cars are fitted with a ‘stick-shift’, most notably the BMW M2 Competition, the Honda Civic Type-R, the Porsche 718 Cayman GTS, the Aston Martin Vantage AMR, and the Ford Mustang Bullitt.
But while a manual transmission is engaging, it’s been said that if you want to go fast, you’re going to need a dual-clutch transmission. Just about every supercar runs one of these, and that tells you a lot about their confidence in its overall performance. And according to automakers, even Senna wouldn’t be able to shift gears as quickly as a modern-day DCT.
But fortunately, we have science available to try and help us settle this performance debate. Can you beat a DCT in a manual-equipped car?
Youtube channel Tyre Reviews sought to find out, by pitting two nearly identical BMW M2 Competitions against the clock to find out how comparable their times are – one equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission, and the other with a 7-speed DCT.
Does the manual transmission have a chance? Or will the technology of the DCT out-muscle the manual?