This is a long post but worth your time to read - if you search these forums you will find hundreds of posts with variations of it. Be aware that "normal" is a mild shudder on low speed shifting because this is an automatic MANUAL, but that’s ALL. Shudders, noises and bog downs that attract your passenger’s attention are NOT normal. I owned a VW GTI and it did NOT do this. Go to any major auto show and you can now find this transmission being used worldwide in cars ranging from the mundane to the wildly exotic. If you go read the posts at the ford focus face book page, you will see people over there as well who are extremely unhappy with the dealer telling them "this is normal".
This problem takes various forms, roughly summarized below taken from customers who got repairs and explanations from the dealer:
There are various TSB’s (Technical Service Bulletins)that the dealers have, dealing with dct transmission problems. You can find them on these forums.
Mild shudder at low speed shifts, normal on all dual clutch transmissions in all makes, mild enough that your passengers do NOT notice. NORMAL
Grinding/rattling noise from under hood when shifting at higher speeds-NOT NORMAL, possible cause-leaking oil seal contaminating-throw out bearing and/or missing sleeve for the bearing. Also known to be involved-clutch and actuators. Also known to be involved-seals, bad seals allow oil contamination of clutch and throw out bearing.
Rough shifting, speed sensors caked with leaking oil and metal
If there is a slick fluid leaking between the engine and bell housing, you've got a problem!
In a technical service bulletin dated Sept. 13, the automaker informed dealers that some 2012 Focuses “may exhibit various automatic transmission and engine driveability concerns.”
There is a TSB (11-12-13) published on December 23, 2011 that states some cars might have transmission fluid leaking where the bell housing meets the engine. If you have this, get it fixed.
Bogging down, almost stalling at higher speeds in traffic, this is dangerous and no discussion of normal is possible.
In addition, you will find posts here by people where Ford has pulled out the transmission, replaced seals, throw out bearings and clutches and the problem is GONE.
I live in New England and when the cold weather came in, the problems were GONE.
Anything beyond a mild shudder at low speed shifting is not normal and this can be crosschecked with other brand owners of this same type transmission.
If it were normal, how can repairs and/or cold weather make it go away?
It is up to all focus owners experiencing these problems to be pro-active and get their issues escalated. If you need to print everything you can find here and bring it to the dealer. He may not even know the scope of the problem.
When this transmission is running properly, this is THE sportiest car for the money that I am aware of.