Manual transmissions have always been idolized and are generally reserved for the ultimate sporty-cars, but how does a stick shift compare to its automated counterpart?
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Frequently thought of as a boring alternative to an automatic transmission, usage of the the continuously-variable transmission (CVT) is expected to more than double by 2016.
The announcement gets our attention since Chrysler and Hyundai recently split from the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) which also involved Japanese automaker, Mitsubishi. As a result from GEMA, the Dart uses similar 2.0L and 2.4L engines that Hyundai also uses. Those two powerplants are the ones that Dodge will outfit with the six-speed automatic transmission.
It appears that Chrysler needed to source a six-speed automatic transmission quickly – mostly for fuel economy figures – and went with Hyundai’s transmission since it easily mated to their two engines. Unfortunately Chrysler won’t confirm the purchase agreement and Hyundai won’t reveal any specifics other than the fact that they are supplying a six-speed automatic transmission.
Discuss this story at Dartforums.com
GALLERY: Dodge Dart
[Source: Car and Driver]
Audi drivers across the pond are getting the short end of the stick, or to be more precise: no stick at all.
What’s all this stick business, you may ask? The new version of the Audi S4 and S5 will only be available with an automatic transmission in Europe, cue the snickers and sneers from North American driving enthusiasts. It’s an unusual move, considering we’re usually the ones getting shafted with an auto-only option in cars where Europeans get a choice, but sure enough according to an article on Fourtitude, and Audi news blog, the decision is made.
This still may be a signal of things to come, but at least for the upcoming generation it seems the S4 and S5 will be available witha six-speed manual.
Barry Hoch, product planning manager for Audi of America confirmed that Europeans will lose the manual while North Americans will keep it. 100 percent confirmed, although I don’t know what other markets also get to keep it,” he said in an email to Fourtitude.
The move to S-tronic transmissions does make sense from a performance standpoint. Shorter shifts, better straight line performance and friendlier fuel economy sweeten the package in theory, but try telling that to someone as they slash through a manual gearbox on a winding road. You’re better off trying to debate Socrates.
Debates aside it’s hard not to see the future creeping in. Lamborghini and Ferrari have already adopted “automatic” dual clutch transmissions as their current standard. If the decision seems to be trickling down from the supercar market into Europe, we may expect to see similar changes in the future.
That, however, is conjecture. Focus on the positive for now, manual S4s and S5s are still available to those in North America who want them.
Honda has launched a recall for about 1.5 million vehicles in the United States to update the software that controls the automatic transmission. The recall will include the 2005-10 4 cylinder Accord, 2007-10 CR-V and 2005-08 Element models. The issue surrounds a bearing in the automatic transmission system that was not built with sufficient strength and as a result, may emit abnormal noise or cause the engine to stall during certain gear shifts. The secondary shaft bearing in affected vehicles can be damaged if the transmission is quickly shifted between each of the reverse, neutral and drive positions. This is most likely done in an attempt to free a car stuck in mud or snow. The software update will ease the transition between gears to reduce the possibility of damage.
Honda will begin notifying customers on August 31.
General Motors has recalled 6,800 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickup trucks. Apparently the transmission shift lever was not properly finished and as a result, might not display the correct gear on the PRNDL bar. NHTSA said the pickups do not comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 114, “Theft Protection”. This may appear to be minor but the automatic adjustment clip is out of adjustment and the fault will allow drivers to remove the vehicle’s key when the lever isn’t fully engaged in Park. The truck could potentially roll away or the driver might not be able to restart the pickup.
All GM dealers have been instructed to install a new automatic transmission adjustment clip and the recall will begin in mid-July.
Chrysler announced an $843 million investment in its Indiana transmission plant as it prepares to build a 9-speed automatic transmission front front-drive vehicles.
The announcement comes on the heels of General Motors announcement of a $2 billion infusion into a number of plants, including $200 million for upgrades to its Toledo, Ohio plant to build 8-speed transmissions. Chrysler will begin selling 8-speed equipped Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans during the summer.
Chrysler expects the 9-speed transmissions, developed in partnership with ZF, to be on sale in 2013.
[Source: The Detroit News]
BMW purists, grab your pitchforks, light your torches and march on Munich. Why? Because the new M5 won’t have a manual transmission. Worse still, it won’t even get a dual-clutch setup, but a true Mercedes-Benz style slushbox.
According to a report by Motor Trend, BMW engineers planned to use the Getrag M Dual Clutch Transmission for the new M5 and M6, but found the unit wasn’t capable of handling the car’s power – which is rumored to be as high as 578-hp. Apparently new actuators would have solved the problem, but also would have created another one, slowing the gear change time and essentially negating the entire point of a DCT.
As a result, BMW has decided to go with the same 8-speed ZF automatic used in the X5 M and X6 M, complete with manumatic shifting.
True BMW fans are certain to revolt at the news (perhaps even making a Hitler Youtube parody), but their power should not be underestimated. The current M5 model was initially offered only with a 7-speed SMG transmission (and we thought that was bad news then), but BMW was eventually forced into offering a manual due to consumer demand.
At today’s Michigan tech briefing, Hyundai announced plans for new transmissions, including a 10 speed automatic, and ambitious fuel economy targets.
Hyundai claimed that a 10 speed automatic would be part of their overall strategy for 2016 through 2020, along with cylinder deactivation. Even more enticing, Hyundai confirmed that a dual clutch transmission would be offered shortly, in conjunction with a new 1.6L engine, and strongly hinted that this package would appear on their upcoming Veloster sports car.
Hyundai also affirmed their commitment to achieving a 50 MPG CAFE rating for the year 2025. Sounds impressive, but that figure is only about 37 mpg when measured by traditional EPA standards, so it’s not all that astounding.
Check Autoguide’s Twitter feed for updates from Hyundai’s tech briefing
Mitsubishi‘s Lancer Evolution offers a dual-clutch gearbox on their top of the line MR model, but Subaru only offers a manual gearbox on their flagship Impreza WRX STI. But that’s about to change in Australia, where the STI will soon be available with a 5-speed automatic.
According to Subaru Australia, demand for an automatic WRX STI has been quite strong. With Australia being such an important market for Subaru, the company was happy to acquiesce to the demands of slushbox-coveting driving enthusiasts. Don’t be surprised if this shows up Stateside, where 91% of new cars are automatics.