The new BMW M3 will get a seven-speed double-clutch gearbox as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual.
Official confirmation of the long-rumoured transmission came via a document issued to BMW dealers confirming the car’s specification.
The new gearbox, called M DCT, will be available from March 2008. Made by BMW’s long-standing transmission partner Getrag, it will provide rapid and nearly imperceptible shifts.
The speed of a double-clutch transmission is likely to improve the M3’s 4.8sec 0-62mph time by a couple of tenths of a second. The system should offer significantly smoother shifts than BMW’s SMG transmission in the M5 and M6.
The transmission will be controlled by a combination of a shift lever, likely to be similar to the M5 and X5’s joystick control, and steering wheel paddles.
The 'box has been exclusively developed for BMW, and different versions are destined for the 3-series and the 5-series.
Other options for the M3 (on sale in September) include 19in alloy wheels and electronic damper control. The carbonfibre roof will be standard.