BMW has invited itself to a party that Porsche started. Someone trolling through patent filings found drawings submitted by BMW for two slightly different takes on a seven-speed manual transmission. The first take is a more conventional setup that provides an honest clutch pedal. The second variant uses a shift-by-wire system to swap gears through an electromechanical actuator. To prevent drivers from accidentally engaging an engine-damaging gear in such a closely spaced pattern, both rely on an electromagnetic fluid inside a shifting module that can change viscosity to prevent the ‘lever’ from making a shift. Funk Flex