The car which has a blatant face lie for a name (I argue that the MINI isn’t exactly mini anymore), continuously amazes me with how they have managed to capture a very unique market and continue to blaze trails where many other try to and have failed. To me whenever someone says MINI to me, I think a hot and stylish hatch, handles well and is blazingly quick. Now, the British premium automaker says that the MINI needs to go a little bit faster, by using double clutch transmissions.
The double clutch transmissions will be available on the MINI 3 door, MINI 5 door and the MINI convertible models. 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 electronic control of the new double clutch transmission for MINI also includes a shift strategy based on navigation data and supports both the engine start/stop function and coasting so as to reduce fuel consumption and emission levels.
The design principle of the double clutch transmission has been adapted directly from motor racing. Just like on the race track, it allows MINI drivers to undertake highly dynamic acceleration manoeuvres by enabling upward gearshifts without torque interrupt. The driver can keep the accelerator pressed down while the transmission control sets the shift points so precisely within just a fraction of a second that the ideal engine speed is always available after the gearshift to ensure a continuous increase in speed.
This is possible due to the specific structure of the double clutch transmission. It combines two partial transmissions in a single housing. The core element of the system consists of two oil-cooled wet clutches: one of these is responsible for the even transmission ratios (2, 4, 6) while the other is for the uneven ratios (1, 3, 5, 7) and reverse. During travel, one of the two clutches is open and the other is closed. They interact when the driver shifts up or down: opening one clutch activates closure of the second at the same time.
If the MINI is accelerated in third gear, for example, power transmission occurs by means of the relevant clutch and the partial gear for the uneven transmission ratios. At the same time, the transmission control ensures that the next gear required – in this case fourth gear – is already engaged in the partial transmission responsible for the even transmission ratios. All that needs to be done to shift up is to open the clutch of the third gear and close that of the fourth gear. This happens simultaneously without any interruption of pulling power – and if anything takes less time than it would to activate the clutch pedal when driving with a manual transmission.