Shift time refers to the time interval between gear changes in a transmission. This interval is the time in which power delivery is interrupted and engine speed is reduced or increased to synchronize speed for the next selected gear. Shift time is usually in reference to motor vehicles but can apply to any gearbox. Reducing shift time is important in performance vehicles or race cars because the shifting process generally interrupts power delivery to the wheels. Shift time in a manual gearbox is dependent on the driver, but in automatic or automated manual cars the electronic or hydraulic control system must be calibrated and tuned to deliver a fast gear change.
Generally, a dual-clutch transmission (DCT) automatic shifts faster than a standard hydraulic automatic transmission with a torque converter, or a single-clutch automated manual transmission. This is possible because the DCT can pre-select the next gear change and switch between two separate clutches to the next pre-determined gear, thus reducing shift times. Using a freewheel may reduce shift time as it may not be necessary to use the clutch. A shift kit is also intended to reduce the shift time of a manual vehicle.
In a manual transmission car, shift time for upshifts can be reduced by installing a lighter flywheel. During an up-shift the engine speed must fall for the same vehicle speed; a lighter flywheel will allow the engine speed to drop more quickly when it is unloaded leading to shorter shift times.
- A long shift time is considered anything over 625 ms
- The average manual car driver: 500 ms - 1 s (vertical gear changes e.g. 1st-2nd, 3rd-4th, 5th-6th): 1s - 2s horizontal gear changes (2nd - 3rd, 4th - 5th, 6th - 7th). As well shift times can change depending on gear throws (distance between gears), its easement of movement, ergonomics of lever and age of gearbox.
- For reference, the time it takes for a human to blink can be as quick as 100ms (.1 seconds).
- The list below only refers to the fastest up-shift time.
- Please note that manufacturers may have different definitions of shift times, and some times below are not properly cited. List may not be complete.
Official gearbox shift times (fastest to slowest):
- Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 [Single clutch ISR automated gearbox]: 50ms
- Ferrari 430 Scuderia: 60 ms
- Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale 2016: 60ms
- BMW M5 E60 with SMG III: 65-250 ms
- BMW M3 E46 with SMG II: 80 ms
- BMW M3 E92 with M-DCT: 80 ms
- Shelby GT500: 80 ms
- Bugatti Veyron (DSG): 100 ms
- Ferrari FXX: 100 ms
- Drag car: 100 ms[circular reference]
- Maserati GranTurismo S Cambiocorsa: 100 ms
- Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: 100 ms
- Fastest Automatic transmission: 100 ms
- 2012-2013 Corvette: 120ms 
- Lexus LC500: 120ms
- Chevrolet Camaro ZL1: ~150 ms 
- Clio RS EDC 200: 150 ms (race mode)
- Enzo Ferrari: 150 ms
- Nissan GT-R: 150 ms (R Mode)
- FXX Evoluzione: 160 ms
- Dodge Challenger/ Charger: 160 ms (Track Mode)
- Lexus LFA: 200 ms
- AUDI (DSG)(Also S tronic): 8 ms*[circular reference]
- Volkswagen (DSG)(Also S tronic): 8 ms*[circular reference]
- Alfa Romeo Mito & Alfa Romeo Giulietta (2010) Dual Dry Clutch Transmission TCT: 8 ms*
*This is an impossibly fast claim which is widely seen on the internet. This number most likely refers to the gear engagement time of the dual clutch transmission, which is the time it takes for the shift fork to select the next requested gear. Actual Up-shift time for the VW DSG and Porsche PDK may be closer to 200ms.
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