The Mini will be getting a new gearbox option for the 2018 model year. Called the Steptronic, the seven-speed dual-clutch (DCT) will be available in the 3 Door, 5 Door and Convertible models. It will serve as an alternative option to the standard six-speed manual gearbox and is set to replace the old six-speed automatic.
Instead of a traditional gear lever, the DCT makes use of an electronic selector that goes back in its original center position. The driver only has to switch between D (Driving Mode), Neutral (N) and Reverse. To access Park, one only has to press P. Selecting Sport Mode, on the other hand, can be done by shifting the selector from D towards the left.
In addition, the DCT can use navigation data to know exactly when to shift through the gears on full automatic mode, and when to activate engine start/stop function. According to the automaker, the transmission can downshift early when it sees that the car is nearing a sharp bend to make use of engine braking.
There is even a crawl function for the new DCT which makes for a smoother operation in city or stop-and-go driving. This was made possible thanks to a dual-mass flywheel that comes with a centrifugal pendulum which balances out the rotational forces of the dual-clutch transmission.
The new DCT will initially be offered in Europe first. However, there are no plans yet to offer the new transmission option in the US market.