Derived from race car technology, a dual-clutch transmission combines the efficiency of a manual transmission with the convenience of an automatic. Sometimes called an automated manual, a dual-clutch transmission uses two computer-controlled clutches to grab gears, one clutch getting the odd-numbered gears and the other taking the even gears. When one clutch has third gear engaged, for example, a computer looks at driver input to help it guess which gear should be engaged next, two or four, pre-positioning the second clutch over that gear.
Dual-clutch transmissions eliminate the lag time required for a human driver to work a manual clutch pedal. Most allow either manual, sequential shifting, or a fully automatic mode in which the computer decides when to shift. Although primarily used on performance cars, dual-clutch transmissions are starting to be used for fuel efficiency.
September 29, 2011 5:04 PM PDT
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
| Caption by: Wayne Cunningham
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