This study examines clutch-damper subsystem dynamics under transient excitation and validates predictions using a new laboratory experiment (which is the subject of a companion paper). The proposed models include multi-staged stiffness and hysteresis elements as well as spline nonlinearities. Several example cases such as two high (or low) hysteresis clutches in series with a pre-damper are considered. First, detailed multi-degree of freedom nonlinear models are constructed, and their time domain predictions are validated by analogous measurements. Second, key damping sources that affect transient events are identified and appropriate models or parameters are selected or justified. Finally, torque impulses are evaluated using metrics, and their effects on driveline dynamics are quantified. Dynamic interactions between clutch-damper and spline backlash nonlinearities are briefly discussed.