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Is time running out for the dual-clutch transmission?
In Cars, International News, Technology / By Anthony Lim / 16 May 2018 2:56 pm / 22 comments

The allure of the dual-clutch transmission has pretty much dulled, a far cry from when it first arrived on the scene, when it was lauded as the path ahead and a replacement for the ubiquitous torque converter automatic. Issues that have abounded, primarily with dry dual-clutch units, have given the ‘box a bad rep, and quite a number of automakers have gone back to conventional automatics with their latest offerings.

Is that trend signalling the eventual demise of the transmission? Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer seems to think so. In an interview with Car and Driver, Palmer stated that the dual-clutch is set to lose ground progressively to the torque converter auto and may be living on borrowed time, no matter the configuration, wet or dry.

“It’s an imperfect beast, and somehow or other we’ve managed to surround it with this idea that it’s super quick and that shift shock is good, and it’s mythical,” he told the publication.

The former Nissan chief planning officer hasn’t been a great fan, saying that the transmission has essentially been a compromise, one that is being surpassed by the very thing it set out to replace. “Ten years ago, it still looked like the transmission of the future. Now it is starting to look like the transmission of the past.” he said.

“A good conventional automatic gearbox like the ZF is cheaper, which is absurd when you think that the manual gearbox has survived because it is meant to be the less expensive option, but there’s so much technology loaded onto a (DCT) to make it work,” Palmer stated.

“It’s heavier as well, which is another disadvantage, but the real issue is the gearchange itself. It’s actually now faster in a (planetary) automatic, because you can control the torque. That means ultimately your 0-100 km/h times are quicker with an auto, which takes away all of the marketing puff for the dual-clutch,” he added.

The game isn’t quite up yet, of course. High-end automakers like Ferrari and McLaren are utilising DCTs exclusively, and Volkswagen continues to offer the transmission on a large scale in its offerings, but the tide may be slowly turning.

Others look to be moving away from it. Ford, which pushed PowerShift on its previous-gen Focus Mk3 and last-gen Fiesta, shifted to a six-speed torque converter unit which it co-developed with GM (the 6F35) on the Focus Mk3 facelift for the ASEAN region, and the recently introduced Focus Mk 4 now utilises an eight-speed automatic (in two torque-rated variations, the 8F24 and 8F35). It does continue to offer Getrag-based DCTs in its model line-up, but these are primarily wet clutch units.

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Anthony Lim believes that nothing is better than a good smoke and a car with character, with good handling aspects being top of the prize heap. Having spent more than a decade and a half with an English tabloid daily never being able to grasp the meaning of brevity or being succinct, he wags his tail furiously at the idea of waffling – in greater detail – about cars and all their intrinsic peculiarities here.

Comments

Mr Suka Tolak Selalu on May 16, 2018 at 3:04 pm
Tolak DCT..

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 10
Chester-field on May 16, 2018 at 5:42 pm
This is a personal opinion of one Brit guy whose car company isnt actually doing well. So ill take it with a pinch of salt.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2
norm car for norm ppl on May 16, 2018 at 6:00 pm
Mass producing manufacturers just too afraid to risk. So they sacrifice the driving pleasure of drivers.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
Sayonara John on May 16, 2018 at 6:38 pm
Finally shows, Japanese cars that took the traditional approach was the wisest….oh wai!

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8
Jaja on May 16, 2018 at 8:13 pm
Says who? Honda and Toyota joined the bandwagon and introduced dual clutch also. Only thing is those are in their high end models. You dont get it in Malaysia, because we get the junks from Thailand and Indonesia only.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
Pied Piper on May 16, 2018 at 8:20 pm
better use basic 4 gear autobox…..oooooh wai

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2
ginger on May 16, 2018 at 3:30 pm
“The fashion is gone…” You meant to say “… is out of fashion”. Engrish please.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
Donno on May 16, 2018 at 3:56 pm
So the ancient auto slushbox is now a better solution to the high tech DCT? Sounds exactly like what is going on with Malaysian PM post, which was a good thing actually.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7
arsyad on May 16, 2018 at 8:59 pm
auto slushbox… 9G-Tronic. period

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
john on May 16, 2018 at 10:01 pm
More like they tried something new, something Ubah, but in the end, go back to the traditional and known. Even if they din like it, the alternative was worse. So MY shud take this hint.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Hmm.. much Hmm… on May 16, 2018 at 4:05 pm
Well.. I’m calling it now. High Torque Single Gear CVT will be the future!

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13
Tooyoota on May 16, 2018 at 7:51 pm
You mean single planetary gear+CVT like Toyota?

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Sparcov on May 16, 2018 at 4:15 pm
Technology advancement is good but come with a price tag.
Regardless how advance the technology, one day, a proven technology is always needed for critical item.

E.g. engine and transmission.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
kangkung on May 16, 2018 at 4:18 pm
Deswai Cvt most reliable. Punch Cvt

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13
Thank Gov It’s Wednesday on May 16, 2018 at 4:22 pm
Barang turun.
Minyak turun.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
heybadigol (Member) on May 16, 2018 at 4:48 pm
Tesla is probably laughing. They don’t even need one. Anyways, even BMW M ditched the DCT for a conventional auto in the new M5.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
Mikey on May 16, 2018 at 4:59 pm
Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said DCT transmission is “an imperfect beast” bcos he hasn’t been a great fan of DCT.

Will he sing a different tune “if” transmission Engineers of DCT make it better & more reliable later say 5/10 years later.

Surely anything including DCT transmission can be better built when given time Right !!! The conventional auto gearbox has been around much much longer hence it is cheaper bcos of economic of scale ma.

Until & unless someone can make a conventional auto faster than a DCT, most racing car will still use a DCT as it is still the fastest transmission available.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2
Jampong on May 16, 2018 at 5:03 pm
So where does this leave Porsche? they’re totally reliant on DSG’s in their sportscar line

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5
Mikey on May 16, 2018 at 5:11 pm
It’s ONLY Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer personal opinion. It does not mean he is right/wrong.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1
Jürg Hölzle on May 16, 2018 at 5:46 pm
My mother’s car is a VW Polo with Diesel and the DCT is really very messy in slow traffic. The «old-fashioned» auto from my Mazda cars is far more smoother.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2
ahmadjohnson97 on May 16, 2018 at 7:27 pm
Manual transmission > All

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
imprezzed on May 16, 2018 at 10:10 pm
Problem with dual clutch transmission is the RELIABILITY. Breaks down quite often despite the fantastic performance.

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