I’m sure you’ve been where I was the other Sunday: casually perusing nationwide car classified ads looking for something sporty and modern (in my case, an F87 BMW M2) trying to whittle down your results to manual transmission cars… only to still have to sift through listings of automatics because of people trying to pull a fast one listing “semi-autos” as stick shift. We will not stand for this outrage!
Used car salespeople love listing DCTs as manuals. I assume their main reasoning is because there’s more appeal. “It’s got two actual clutches in there, so it’s technically a manual!” is probably the dumb justification going on inside their heads, and maybe they’re thinking enthusiasts will prefer the DCT’s lightning-fast up- and down-shifts, or something. Or they just read the brochure and copied over what seemed to make sense. I don’t know.
I’m not even going to be a pedant about classification here, I’m just going to clarify that I want three pedals and a stick with a long, solid, and well-sprung throw. I generally don’t give a shit about millisecond shift times, either; yeah, they’re neat, especially in pricy, carbon-filled hardware. But as far as engagement, connection, joy of ownership, sense of occasion -all of that stuff we enthusiasts lust for and nerd out over- I’ll take the analog-shifting Bimmer every time.
Maybe sales staff are trying to differentiate the DCT from a conventional, torque-converter automatic? Sure, DCTs are mechanically closer to an actual manual transmission. Things moving clutches that are slipping and stuff. But dammit, that’s not manually-operated; manual being one’s only choice is much different than manual mode. It requires more inputs than just moving the stick over and clicking the paddles.
Inputs that I cherish as an enthusiast, automotive journalist, BMW apologist, and, well, dork. I want to slip the clutch myself, not wait for an ECU to figure it out, which always takes too long at crucial moments like turning onto a fast street, doing a multi-point turn in tight quarters, etc.
These mislistings are just a slap in the face to automotive enthusiasts, and only going to annoy people who might want to buy your car. By the way, manual transmission love and automotive enthusiasm aren’t mutually-exclusive; the love of driving comes in many forms. But for those of us who enjoy a real manual, and are facing the harsh reality that soon they won’t exist on the conventional new car market anymore, stop toying with our emotions by saying this lightly-used BMW has the drivetrain we’re all pining for, and won’t be able operate brand-new off the assembly line sooner than later.