In the recent past, car buyers had a simple choice when it came to picking transmissions. The choices were either automatic or manual. With new technology, those choices have expanded. Car buyers can now also choose semi-automatic and dual-clutch transmissions. As a matter of fact, semi-automatic and dual-clutch transmissions (DCTs) are the latest additions in transmission technology. Still, these newest innovations are based on old school principles of its previous manual counterparts. Pioneered by leading automakers like Ferrari, these new semi-automatic transmissions are basically hydraulically or electronically controlled manuals.
So, what’s all the fuss and buzz about semi-automatic transmissions? Like manuals, semi-automatics utilize a physical clutch but without the clunk when wanted. Drivers can opt to retain manual control of shifting or take the easy way out by putting the transmission into automatic mode. These two options appeal to different driver moods. This is handy for those who aren’t too coordinated with operating a clutch petal. Plus, this mode avoids the hassle of slow shift times. Another benefit of semi-automatic transmissions is that they deliver the efficiency and lightness of manual transmission.
But for those car operators who want to totally avoid having to operate a clutch pedal, DCTs are really a godsend. Known for working their German magic, DCTs were originally launched by the well-known Volkswagen Group. Just like the name implies, DCTs use two separate clutches. One clutch is specifically designated for the odd numbered gears, and the other clutch is for the even numbered gears. This arrangement has many plusses. Its transmission can have the next gear in action by the time the previous one is released.
In a way, DCTs are a double whammy. It’s just about two transmissions in one. With DCTs, drivers get instantaneous shifting that is smooth and without any interruptions in power and performance. The end result is a more refined driver experience. The main reason why DCTs haven’t been more popular to date is due to its high cost. At the same time, DCTs are the perfect blend of performance and efficiency. All around, DCTs efficiency, refined power deliver and fast shifting are likely worth the extra cost if you’ve got the bucks.
Both semi-automatic transmissions and DCTs have its pros and cons. It’s difficult to determine which one is really the better one. When shopping for a car, the transmission type is really a personal choice for the buyer.