BMW looks set to join Porsche by offering a 7-speed manual gearbox sometime in the future. Such plans were revealed when a BMW patent application, filed in 2011, was recently discovered.
Noteworthy in this case, though, BMW’s trick manual transmission could be suitable for seven or more gears. As the illustration above shows the gates on a 7-speed box start to get a bit tight, imagine the extra cog on an 8-speed; a mucked up shift from 8th to 4th, or worse, could do all sorts of nasty things to the car’s drivetrain.
Just as well then that BMW is developing another string to the bow of its 7-speed+ gearbox. The use of magnetorheologic or electrorheologic fluid surrounding the shift gates, coupled with electronic sensors, will prevent a driver from selecting an inappropriate gear.
Taking us even further into the future, BMW is readying itself to apply this technology to a traditional three-pedal manual set up and a new manual system with no clutch pedal. The shift by wire tech, we expect, would essentially be like using an automatic in manual mode, but employing a traditional H-pattern shift method.
It all sounds pretty nifty to us and will be interesting to see if, first, this technology makes it in to production and, if so, how far from now.
[Source: Bimmerpost | Thanks to Lucentaz for the tip]