Currently reading: Autocar confidential: Mini design freedom, Byton's Chinese focus & the end for manual
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2 mins read
21 August 2018

This week's snippets include news on Byton, Mini design freedom and the end for the manual gearbox.

MINI DESIGN FREEDOM: Mini design chief Oliver Heilmer feels more freedom designing for the brand than he did in his previous role at BMW. He said: “BMW was a much more serious brand. I did the 5 Series and there was so much pressure. [Mini] feels like a release to me. I’m aware of the icons, but there is a lot we can change.” Heilmer said that although the design of the Mini hatch was relatively established, he could push the design boundaries with cars such as the Countryman SUV.

Mini electric concept makes Goodwood Festival of Speed appearance

BYTON'S FOCUS ON CHINA: Byton boss Carsten Breitfeld said that the firm is focusing on China with its M-Byte SUV initially because the country is leading the way in investment in infrastructure for electric cars. “There’s a strong political will to make this happen,” said Breitfeld. “We don’t have to do it on our own. The government is doing it.” He added: “Public charging stations are in a good way. Every new building with parking spaces has this ability, or sometimes obligation, to install charging points.”

2019 Byton electric SUV edges closer to production

THE END FOR MANUAL: The increases in power and torque produced by high-performance car engines are likely to spell the end of the manual gearbox in such machines, rather than a lack of consumer demand, according to the boss of the Volkswagen R division. “If powertrain performance gets to a point that developing a manual [capable of handling the torque] costs too much, manufacturers won’t do it,” Jost Capito said, hinting that the Golf R’s successor could be offered exclusively in DSG form. The current model recently dropped its manual version due to a lack of demand.

Volkswagen Golf R power drops to 296bhp amid WLTP changes

Read more 

2019 Byton electric SUV edges closer to production

Mini electric concept makes Goodwood Festival of Speed appearance

The death of the manual gearbox 

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9

21 August 2018
I had understood that a single clutch manual was cheaper than an automatic or twin clutch.

I also don't understand why a twin clutch dsg would be able to cope with more torque than a single clutch.

Forgive me if I am being ignorant or cynical but a comment such as this from VW suggests emissions testing strategies and the desire to develop only one gearbox and save money.

The Tremec range of gearboxes seem to manage lots of torque for little cost, and in my opinion arevsatisfying to use (but then I like cars with no power steering...)

21 August 2018
Good riddance to the manual gearbox I say.

21 August 2018
manicm wrote:

Good riddance to the manual gearbox I say.

 

Just because you cannot operate one?! Lulz.

21 August 2018
Ubberfrancis44 wrote:

manicm wrote:

Good riddance to the manual gearbox I say.

 

Just because you cannot operate one?! Lulz.

 

"lulz"? Grow up..

21 August 2018

BMW design is in a mess at the moment. They all talk about design DNA but seem to have little idea what to do with it. BMW had some of the most iconic design cues in the industry but they are now wrecking them. The X2 is a dog’s dinner. If this is what ‘freedom’ means for Mini design then prepare for the worst.

21 August 2018
scrap wrote:

BMW design is in a mess at the moment. They all talk about design DNA but seem to have little idea what to do with it. BMW had some of the most iconic design cues in the industry but they are now wrecking them. The X2 is a dog’s dinner. If this is what ‘freedom’ means for Mini design then prepare for the worst.

Since Bangle.

The current/outgoing 3 series is a case in point. Front on it just looks wrong, like they had a clay model and the front melted leaving it with a huge forehead bump.

Remember the 90s, cars like the elegant E38 7 series - a masterpiece of proportions, elegance and class. Then they ruined it with the E65.

The G30 5 series gave some hope though the headlights look like they've fitted one of those 90s max power 'brows'.

 

And autoboxes - I'm no gearbox engineer but automatics are no longer slushboxes - surely the DSG is basically an automated manual with 2 clutches? Why can't they have a manual manual of the same gearbox?

Once you've started commuting in an automatic you'll not want to go back to manual.

But for sports cars I hope they keep the box, an MX-5 with an automatic makes me shudder.

21 August 2018

Typical customers for the Golf R round my way, are young gentlemen with plenty of cash, but no obvious  employment. As their driving seems to be a case of putting your foot down and driving as fast as you can wherever you are, barely slowing down for queuing traffic, red lights, pedestrian crossings, etc, etc, the auto gearbox seems to suit them down to the ground. I can see then that the demand for manual versions may be low, but, as with the demise of 3-door hatchbacks, I'm sure its a case of the manufacturers making it easier for themselves more than anything else.

21 August 2018

The Corvette happily puts upto 755 bhp through a manual box, and the manual seems to sell quite well. So i am not sure why more powerful cars are going to be a problem. And Manuals are nearly always cheaper than the automatics too. If i had to i would pay more for a manual, I would. On the second hand market people already pay a healthy premium for manual versions of many cars. 

The only reason why a manufacturer wouldnt develope a manual is their hope to push you into a higher priced automatic, while saving their developement budget

 

21 August 2018

doesn't it come down to clutch control/abuse, and resultant warranty jobs from broken manuals that've been launched too many times? basically, everything high-performance is going the way of the esprit, so they don't want to let you break everything and claim under warranty. a 'vette gearbox might not fit a golf (and similar), the packaging is all wrong! it wouldn't be a problem if they would stop trying to make everything be the fastest. i'm convinced the manufacturers are more bothered about "top trumps" than consumers

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