Reports are coming in that someone looking through patent filings found drawings submitted by BMW for a seven-speed manual transmission. The first take is a more conventional setup that provides an honest clutch pedal. The second design uses a shift-by-wire system to swap gears through an electromechanical actuator.
According to the filing, the system can even work with up to eight gears. But remember, getting an idea patented does not mean that the final product will ever exist. BMW is just protecting their specific design of a 7-speed manual transmission.
What’s also notable about the drawings is the shift pattern. Porsche’s seven-speed shift pattern in the 991-series 911 places reverse and the odd gears above, the even gears below. But the BMW pattern in the drawing places reverse and seventh gear in opposing positions at the ends of the axis that is normally neutral. Also, the shift pattern is drawn on what looks more like an iDrive-shaped stick, not the usual BMW manual transmission knob.
As mentioned before, we don’t know for sure if we’ll ever see it, but it’s encouraging just to know that advanced transmissions are on the horizon.