It's obvious why car makers are keen on double-clutch gearboxes. If you keep it in 'D' it feels more or less like a normal auto, yet has fuel economy and emissions that are far closer to a manual 'box.

What's more they are invariably equipped with steering wheel buttons or paddles for a DIY shift and so can be sold as a 'sporty' option and we can be charged accordingly.

It's this last point that probably explains why the proliferation of new double-clutch systems this year has largely been fitted to high performance cars and it just so happens that I've driven most of them in the past two weeks: the Mitsubishi Evo X, the Nissan GTR, the Porsche 911 PDK and BMW M3.

I've come away with mixed impressions. The Nissan and Porsche systems are brilliant (if ever so slightly anodyne), but the other two just feel half-baked by comparison.

And it was the M3's system that disappointed me the most as its changes were neither as swift nor as smooth as you'd expect or desire. I'm something of a two-pedal fan but I'd have the manual M3 everytime.

No surprise that certain systems are better than others - why should double-clutch boxes be any different from other systems?

It just got me thinking whether high-performance cars are the best showcase for such systems. After all, VW's DSG system works brilliantly on a Golf diesel and the new and similar system on the Focus diesel is even better.

On those cars there are tangible benefits to ordering this option. But on specialist stuff like the 911 and M3 it's harder to see the point.

I've got no doubt that double-clutchers are desirable for the future of the family hatch and I'm sure that I'll be signing up for one in the not too distant. But I've sampled enough to think that some cars should at least keep the option of three pedals.