The British premium automobile manufacturer MINI highlights the sporty character of its current models in the small segment with a new type of transmission. Extremely fast gear changes, a high degree of shift comfort and optimized efficiency – these are the benefits of the 7-speed Steptronic automatic transmission with double clutch, available for the MINI 3 door, the MINI 5 door and the MINI Convertible. It is offered in conjunction with selected engine types and as an alternative to the standard 6-speed manual transmission. The new double clutch transmission provides impressive shift dynamics for enhanced driving fun while at the same including all the comfort features of an automatic transmission.
The double clutch transmission is operated by means of a newly designed electronic selector lever which always returns to its original position after changing between driving mode D, neutral position N and reverse mode. The parking lock is activated by pressing the P button. S mode can be activated from position D by shifting the selector lever to the left: this supports a particularly sporty driving style as well as allowing manual intervention in the choice of position.
The increase in drive positions as compared to the 6-speed manual transmission benefits both sporty flair and ride comfort. The seven gears of the double clutch transmission enable a broader spread of gears, thereby reducing the differences in engine speed between the various drive positions. This applies to automated shifts in D and S modes as well as to manual interventions in the selection of drive positions in M mode. In S mode the gearshifts occur at increased engine speeds and with further increased shift dynamics. In S mode, the driver can also spontaneously switch to manual shifting.
In automated mode, driving fun can also be enhanced by linking the transmission control to the optional MINI navigation system. The double clutch transmission control unit is then able to draw on navigation data to adapt its shift strategy to the given situation on the road. When approaching a sharp bend or junction, for example, a downshift is made early on so as to be able to make use of the engine braking effect for deceleration purposes. When passing through two bends in quick succession, the drive position engaged after downshifting is maintained so as to avoid any unnecessary shifting and ensure the ideal gear is available for powerful acceleration on exiting the bend.
Like a conventional converter system, the double clutch transmission also offers a crawl function that enables smooth set-off without activating the accelerator, thereby increasing comfort when manoeuvring or in stop-and-go traffic.