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BMW looks to patent seven-speed lockout manual transmission

Fri, 08 Jun 2012

The intrepid Bimmerphiles over at have uncovered a few drawings from BMW's latest patent request. The drawing shows a new transmission linkage and what looks to be a seven-speed manual transmission.

Like the new Porsche 911, the BMW gear shifter has six gears in standard H pattern, with a seventh gear out to the right. We'd guess that the last gear would be a cruising cog for better fuel mileage on the highway.

The company is also exploring a way to protect drivers from hitting the wrong gear during spirited gear changes by using magnetorheologic fluid--the same fluid that General Motors and others use for fast-changing suspensions in high-performance sports cars. The fluid would thicken up with an electric charge, locking out gates of gears that shouldn't be selected. Both the shifter look and the lockout function are illustrated in the patent drawings.

The other option the company looks to be exploring is a clutchless, shift-by-wire option. That would let drivers bang through the gears without a third pedal, while being protected from going into first gear at 70 mph. All of this will be controlled by the computer and take place in fractions of a second.
BMW's patent shows gears that lockout when they can't be selected.

By Jake Lingeman