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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Jun 06 2014, 11:02 AM

Trans Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Shift

Welcome to the final installment of Trans Wars, a three-part miniseries exploring the automatic transmission. So far we’ve compared torque-converter and dual-clutch units, but these two gearboxes aren’t the only ones on the market today.

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 |  Jun 05 2014, 8:02 AM

TRANS WARS Episode II: Attack of the Clutches

In yesterday’s installment of Trans Wars we explored the benefits and downsides of conventional automatic gearboxes, ones that feature fluid-filled torque converters. This type of transmission has been around for more than 50 years; it works well and has pretty much become the industry standard.

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 |  Jun 04 2014, 1:02 PM

TRANS WARS Episode I: The Phantom Pedal

Join us for a three-part miniseries exploring the ins and outs of automatic transmissions. For the first installment we celebrate heritage by tipping our hats to a great motoring tradition that’s as American as baseball, apple pie and Oldsmobile. This is Trans Wars!

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 |  Nov 21 2013, 1:32 AM

2015-Honda-Vezel-Main-Art3Honda took the covers off a new production utility vehicle in the Eastern Capital and it’s called the Vezel. It’s a product that promises to blend a variety of vehicular attributes into one right-sized package.

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 |  Sep 27 2013, 4:32 PM

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General Motors has filed for a patent for a seven-speed dual clutch transmission, hinting that there might soon include be such a gearbox in the Corvette.

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 |  Aug 01 2013, 1:31 PM

Dynamischer Kompakter mit vier Türen


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Everyone knows “bigger is better,” especially in America. It’s practically our national slogan; the founding fathers should have included it in the Bill of Rights as the 10.5th Amendment. Here in the land of the free and the home of the brave there may be a compelling case for all things large and in charge, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for small.

There’s nothing wrong with going compact, especially when it comes to cars. With high fuel prices and environmental concerns on the minds of more drivers than ever, people are looking to downsize, but they don’t necessarily want to sacrifice luxury accoutrements. Luckily the industry is responding to this demand, particularly high-end German brands.

BMW has offered its 1 Series in the U.S. for a few years now, Mercedes-Benz is poised to introduce its much-anticipated CLA-Class compact sedan in September and Audi is cooking up a brand-new version of its popular A3. This 2015 model promises drivers a mountain of premium features in a deliciously right-sized package. Here’s everything you need to know about this new product from Ingolstadt.

 |  Apr 11 2013, 12:32 PM

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It’s rare that Porsche’s PDK transmission meets much criticism, but dropping it into the hardcore track-oriented 911 GT3 might be a place to start. That is, until you learn that the system was improved for the new application.

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 |  Mar 27 2013, 4:24 PM

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The engine wizards at Mercedes AMG went completely bonkers with the new CLA 45 model, pumping out 177-hp per liter of displacement. That means that this turbocharged 2.0L engine is the most powerful four-cylinder engine available on the market.

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 |  Mar 27 2013, 7:43 AM

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It’s said March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. It may be late in 2013’s third month but that hasn’t stopped the weather from being cool in New York City. Cranking up the thermostat in the NY Auto Show the folks at Mercedes-Benz just revealed a 355-horsepower compact, the CLA  45 AMG.

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 |  Aug 08 2012, 11:42 AM

One of the most illustrious names in German sport sedan history, the BMW M3 will transition away from its naturally aspirated engine roots in the upcoming model meant to bow at next year’s Geneva Motor Show, doing so without a manual transmission.

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 |  Jun 07 2012, 9:31 AM

Perhaps the most pure of sports cars, enthusiasts my cry foul about the next generation Porsche GT3 if the rumors prove true.

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 |  Apr 20 2012, 9:31 AM

 

In the quest to find a new car, there are a lot of questions that need to be asked. Questions about cargo room, technology, options, luxuries and other various elements will come up more than a few times while shopping for a new car. However, from the car driver’s perspective, there are just three main questions: 

How comfortable is the driving experience? 
How fun is it to drive? 
How good is the car on fuel?

A major factor in answering those three questions has to do with the right transmission. Let’s face it, manual transmissions aren’t for everyone. They require familiarity and a level of perfection to get just right. With a traditional automatic transmission, drivers have been able to experience a fairly comfortable, yet less engaging experience. Still, an automatic transmission can leave any driving enthusiast unsatisfied. Luckily, progress has been made in the world of automatic transmissions that can help alleviate those woes.

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 |  Jan 05 2012, 10:00 AM

Oh how compact cars have changed…  Chrysler, or Fiat as it were, is taking a march through the elephant graveyard and bringing new life to some old bones.

At least that’s what the badge might get you to think. Fiat now owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler, up from their initial 20 percent holding in 2009. That increased ownership is the result of Fiat fulfilling the final piece of an operating agreement with Chrysler— to produce a vehicle with at least 40 average miles-per-gallon. The 2013 Dodge Dart makes its official debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and represents that fulfillment.

It was 1960 when the Dart shot onto the American car scene, and boy did it make a bang. Back then people thought of it as a compact, despite the available big block V8. You could choose between a singe- or double-barrel carburetor and single or dual exhaust too. Jump forward to 2012 and we’re eagerly awaiting what could be one of the most intriguing compacts to come on the scene, despite having no resemblance to its namesake.

The new, aerodynamically-minded, Dodge comes with an Alpha Romeo spirit rethought for the North American market. That means an inline 1.4-liter turbocharged Fiat MultiAir engine capable of 168 horsepower and 180 ft-lbs of torque while maintaining an average 40 mpg.

Consumers will also be able to choose from larger displacement 2.0 and 2.4-liter Tigershark 4-cylinder using a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission. There will also be a 9-speed automatic somewhere in the future.

Though there aren’t many more details available we do know the car will feature 4-wheel independent suspension. It’s not the Dart that came around in 1960, but the latest Fiat-Chrysler lovechild is still following in the fresh spirit that made the first generation popular 52 years ago.

GALLERY: 2013 Dodge Dart

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Discuss this story at DartForums.com

 |  Feb 03 2011, 9:54 AM

Porsche is apparently readying some significant changes to its street-legal race car, the GT3. According to a forum member on Rennlist, the next-generation (991) version of the GT3 will adopt a larger engine, a dual-clutch gearbox and several even more significant changes.

The poster, who goes by the screen name ‘rosenbergendo’ says he received the information from a Porsche Motorsport exec while attending the recent Daytona 24 Hour race.

According to his unnamed source, the 991 GT3 will get a 480-hp motor (up 45-hp) from a larger 4.0-liter flat-six. It will also offer an optional PDK dual-clutch transmission, which is referred to as PDK-S. Apparently Porsche has been reluctant to include a dual-clutch unit in the GT3, not only because it’s a ‘purists car’ but because the PDK setup is too heavy. This new PDK-S unit, however, will solve much of the weight concern.

More significant changes are also in store with a projected weight loss of 180-200 lbs thanks to the use of composite materials, while the engine will be moved slightly forward in the chassis, essentially making it a mid-engine car and significantly improving the car’s balance.

[Source: Rennlist via Auto123]

 |  Oct 12 2010, 11:48 AM

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Bentley‘s new V8 powered variant of the Continental GT may get an Audi derived dual clutch gearbox. Engineers are apparently looking into solutions that will allow the Conti’s unibody structure to accept the Audi S-tronic transmission, which is sized differently than the ZF automatic used in the W12 car.

While the V8 model is expected to be the least expensive version of the Continental GT, the S-tronic gearbox should give it a competitive edge over the more leisurely W12 powertrain. According to Bentley, buyers in the United States have a strong affinity for V8 engines, while Chinese buyers gravitate towards the Flying Spur sedan. The Chinese market buys 40% of the world’s Flying Spurs, and the new model will apparently be geared towards consumers in Asia, including similar proportions to the current model.

[Source: Autocar]

 |  Sep 14 2010, 4:08 PM

Alfa Romeo’s Giulietta and MiTo hatchbacks will get an all-new, in house dual clutch gearbox, known as the TCT, which will be unveiled at this month’s Paris Auto Show.

The TCT gearbox will initially be available with the 1.4L Multiair engine making 168 horsepower, followed by the 2.0L diesel outputting the same amount of power. The TCT will also feature a new stop-start system designed to cut down on emissions. The diesel engine will also be unveiled alongside the TCT gearbox and is aimed at the fleet market. With 138 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, the new 2.0L oil burner will be able to get 62 mpg combined, leaving us wondering when it will make its way to a Chrysler product.

[Source: Autocar]

 |  Jun 08 2010, 7:24 AM

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The upcoming Nissan Micra could be equipped with a dual-clutch gearbox later in its production cycle. According to a report by AutoExpress, a source inside Nissan parent company Renault has confirmed that a new dual-clutch gearbox currently offered in the Megane could eventually make its way into the Renault Laguna and Clio models. And here’s the connection: the Clio is based on the same architecture as the Nissan Micra.

Unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show earlier this year, it’s not clear what engine and transmission combo Nissan will offer in the Micra when it arrives in North America to slot in underneath the Versa. In Europe, however, the car is set to be released with a 79-hp, 1.2-liter 3-cylinder and a direct-injection supercharged version of that same motor. Transmissions for Europe include a 5-speed manual and CVT.

While a dual-clutch setup in such an economical car seems far fetched, the Ford Fiesta currently offers a dual-clutch setup (although not a manual-shifting one). The next few years will also see dramatic technology updates as automakers search for ways to meet increasingly strict emissions standards.

GALLERY: Nissan Micra

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[Source: AutoExpress]

Discuss this story at MicraForums.com

MINI’s Future ‘Greener and More Efficient’ With Engine Updates in 2011, Dual-Clutch Transmissions Likely

MINI expects Countryman to be most fuel-efficient crossover; new Roadster model to win over Miata buyers

 |  Mar 09 2010, 11:49 AM

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With the launch of the all-new MINI Countryman at the Geneva Auto Show last week we had an opportunity to sit down with the VP of MINI USA, Jim McDowell and find out more about the brand’s first crossover and what the future holds for the rest of the product range.

Starting with the Countryman, McDowell believes this is a vehicle that will help bring back brand rejecters – those who simply couldn’t justify owning a MINI for reasons ranging from size, to functionality. He even commented that in the past a father of two who bought a MINI would be seen as selfish, putting his wants ahead of his family’s needs. The Countryman lets those needs and wants come together while avoiding any social stigma.

Added usability will come in the form of fuel efficiency. While no official numbers are yet available (or any unofficial ones for that matter), McDowell says he wouldn’t be surprised if the Countryman became the most fuel efficient crossover offered in the U.S.

MINI also hopes to attract driving enthusiasts to the Countryman by offering it with a manual transmission here. In fact, when it goes on sale, it will be the only all-wheel drive crossover offered with a manual transmission. When asked if MINI’s All4 AWD setup is being planned for any other future MINI models, McDowell commented that while it was most likely possible, it’s not something they are looking at, favoring the two-wheel approach for the ideal sporty driving experience.

As for the future of the rest of the range, McDowell confirmed that the recent engine updates made on European models will arrive for the 2011 model year cars in North America. In Europe, the Cooper and Cooper S models get a slight boost in power and improved fuel economy thanks to direct-injection technology and variable valve control. The Cooper gets a 3-hp jump to 122-hp, while torque is rated at 118 ft-lbs, allowing a 0-62 mph sprint of 9.1 seconds. As for the Cooper S, it gets a new twin-scroll turbocharger that helps bring the 1.6-liter 4-cylinder to 184-hp (up 9-hp), while torque of 177 ft-lbs comes on from 1600 to 5000 rpm. The overboost function delivers 192 ft-lbs (260Nm). The Cooper S is rated at 7 seconds to 62 mph. (These numbers should change slightly for the North American market and we’ll have to wait for official EPA rated fuel economy numbers).

But beyond those updates, McDowell had more to say, specifically in regards to our questions about smaller engines and the use of dual-clutch transmissions – something particularly relevant with Volkswagen and Audi now delivering cars like the A1 and Polo GTI with 1.4-liter Twinchargers and dual-clutch transmissions. “We are continuing to add technology as quickly as it comes, while working to promote the MINI driving experience and be environmentally responsible,” he commented, following up by stating that MINI will “move forwards in minimalism,” with a future that is, “greener and more efficient.” From this it’s safe to surmise that future MINI engines will get smaller while new technology like dual-clutch transmissions (which improve both the driving experience and fuel economy) are pretty much a given.

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As for the upcoming Coupe and Roadster models, we pressed McDowell on what exactly makes these cars so different. He spoke at first about the obvious lack of a hatch, more futuristic design and improved cargo room – all of which is rather obvious. When we expressed our feelings that these attributes (including the JCW engine) really didn’t set the two models apart, he admitted as much, commenting: “but you don’t know what else is coming. We have a few pleasant surprises.”

After our conversation took a bit of a detour about MINI buyers and the other sorts of vehicles they consider, McDowell brought it back on point stating that he wouldn’t be surprised if the MINI Roadster came to own the entry-level roadster segment that Mazda currently has locked-down with the Miata.

As a brand, MINI is expanding significantly with new dealerships poping up all over the U.S. Over the next two years the Countrman (and soon the Coupe and Roadster) will double MINI’s lineup of products aimed at delivering performance and fuel economy in packages with the sort of universal appeal that has always made MINI models “global cars,” long before such a concet became popular.

 |  Jan 06 2010, 2:47 PM

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A filing by Lotus at the U.K. Patent Office has revealed that the British sports car maker is working on a dual-clutch transmission. The quick-shifting unit is reportedly a lighter unit than anything on the market and is a simpler design although you’d never guess it from the details of the patent filing, shown above and listed after the jump.

It’s hard to tell from the drawings as well, but this is a seven-speed setup with seven-forward gears and one reverse gear.

News of a dual-clutch setup from Lotus is exciting, as the quick shifting and fuel-efficient transmission technology certainly fits with the company’s overall philosophy. The option of a dual-clutch automatic transmission setup will also make Lotus models more accessible to even more drivers, something that will no doubt help Lotus sell more units.

No doubt camps within the manual-transmission-loving Lotus faithful will resist this new technology. The good news, however, is that it allows the automaker to become a bit more mainstream while retaining the brand’s hard-core identity.

It’s possible that this new dual-clutch setup could be for the upcoming Evora, which is currently only offered with a manual transmission. Alternatively, this setup might not be for Lotus at all, as the company’s engineering division is constantly working on new innovative products for other manufacturers throughout the world.

[Source: UK Patent Office via Jalopnik]

Read the Lotus dual-clutch transmission patent filing after the jump:

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 |  Sep 15 2009, 8:44 AM

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Ferrari introduced the 458 Italia, the F430 replacement, at the Frankfurt Auto Show today. Appearing on the company’s stand were two models, one in a traditional Rosso Corsa and the other in Giallo Modena Tristrato (pictured above).

Using an aluminum chassis and plenty of other light weight metals and materials the 458 Italia weighs an astonishingly low 3,043 lbs in its dry form (expect an extra 100 to 200 lbs with all fluids in place).

Combining these factors with a new 4,499cc V8 engine and a new smooth-shifting dual-clutch 7-speed transmission (that Ferrari claims is faster than the current F1 tranny), the 458 Italia can hit 62 mph in just 3.4 seconds and blast on to a top speed of 202 mph.

As expected, however, the 458 is about far more than straight line speed and so Ferrari has worked hard at applying its racing technology to improve the E-Diff differential and F1-Trac traction control systems to allow the newest prancing horse to put down 32 percent more power out of the corners.

Gallery: Ferrari 458 Italia

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Official release after the jump:

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 |  Jul 28 2009, 7:38 PM

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Ferrari has just released photos and details of a new model that both succeeds and exceeds the incredible F430. Named the 458 Italia, this new mid-engine exotic is powered by a 4.5-liter V8 that puts out an incredible 570hp at 9000 rpm and 398 ft-lbs of torque at 6000 rpm – 80 percent of which is available at just 3250 rpm.

The new engine it a typically high compression Ferrari V8 rated at 12.5:1 and uses direct-injection technology. This means it gets better fuel economy that otherwise might be expected with a combined city/highway rating of 17.2 mpg. In comparison, the F430 only got 16 mpg on the highway.

Using an aluminum chassis and plenty of other light weight metals and materials the 458 Italia weighs an astonishingly low 3,043 lbs in its dry form (expect an extra 100 to 200 lbs with all fluids in place).

Combining these factors with a new smooth-shifting dual-clutch 7-speed transmission (that Ferrari claims is faster than the current F1 tranny), the 458 Italia can hit 62 mph in just 3.4 seconds and blast on to a top speed of 202 mph.

As expected, however, the 458 is about far more than straight line speed and so Ferrari has worked hard at applying its racing technology to improve the E-Diff differential and F1-Trac traction control systems to allow the newest prancing horse to put down 32 percent more power out of the corners.

Ferrari will officially debut the 458 Italia at the Frankfurt Auto Show this September.

GALLERY: Ferrari 458 Italia

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Official release after the jump:

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 |  Jan 21 2009, 2:17 AM

img_42931When Ford showcased the Lincoln C Concept at the 2009 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, we commented that we’d love to see a model from the blue oval that used such a dual-clutch transmission. Apparently we will be getting out wish.

Ford has just announced that in 2010 it will bring a six-speed dual-clutch transmission to market in the small-car segment. Operating much like VW’s DSG system, Ford is highlighting the fuel-efficiency of the new PowerShift transmission, although it will also make for improved performance, offering shift times faster than a manual but operating much like a automatic (with, we presume, the ability to shift gears manually through paddle shifters).

Instead of re-hashing the press release, we’ll let the Ford PR folks do the talking as they managed to quite succinctly sum up how the system works.

“PowerShift provides the full comfort of an automatic with a more sophisticated driving dynamic, thanks to uninterrupted torque from the dual-clutch technology, which consists essentially of two manual transmissions working in parallel, each with its own independent clutch unit. One clutch carries the uneven gears – 1, 3 and 5 – while the other the even gears – 2, 4 and 6. Subsequent gear changes are coordinated between both clutches as they engage and disengage for a seamless delivery of torque to the wheels.”

Currently Ford offers a similar setup in the Focus in Europe. That transmission is, however, a wet clutch dual-clutch system whereas the PowerShift will be a dry clutch unit.

The PowerShift dual-clutch transmission is just one way that Ford intends to significantly reduce overall fuel-consumption as the company plans to equip all of it’s models with six-speed transmissions by 2013.

While dual-clutch transmissions have both fuel economy and performance advantages, Ford has designed its PowerShift unit with several other unique features. They are:

• Neutral coast down – The clutches will disengage when the brakes are applied, improving coasting downshifts and clutch robustness as well as reducing parasitic losses for increased fuel economy.

• Precise clutch control in the form of a clutch slip to provide torsional damping of the engine vibration – This function improves noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) at low engine speeds and enables lower lugging limits for improved fuel economy.

• Low-speed driving or creep mode with integrated brake pressure – This function simulates the low-speed control drivers are accustomed to from an automatic transmission. The amount of rolling torque in Drive and Reverse is precisely controlled, gradually building as brake pressure is released.

• Hill mode or launch assist – Prevents a vehicle from rolling back on a grade by maintaining brake pressure until the engine delivers enough torque to move the vehicle up the hill, providing improved driver confidence, comfort, safety and clutch robustness.

Official release after the jump:

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Lincoln C Concept

The future of Lincoln? Yea right...

 |  Jan 12 2009, 12:53 PM

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Used to highlight the potential of the Microsoft SYNC system found in modern FoMoCo vehicles, the Lincoln C Concept is quite obviously a technology concept and not a production concept – even if it is based on Ford’s global small car platform.

The futuristic SYNC system in the C Concept allows drivers to interact with a computer personality by voice and have the computer perform tasks, such as adding meetings to an address book, making calls and providing you with navigation instructions – essentially things that GM’s onStar already does, although the SYNC system would perform the tasks itself, rather than a person on the other end of the phone.

Most impressively, however, is the fact that the conceptual SYNC system can search the internet for you, find articles or items of interest and even read them to you while you drive.

The C Concept show in Detroit features a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 180hp and 180 ft-lbs of torque, all the while getting 43 miles per gallon on the highway. The transmission on the concept is a dual-clutch system (likes Audi’s DSG system) that is operated by paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

Now if only Ford could produce a car with this engine/drivetrain combo. That would be exciting!

Official release after the jump:

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Chrysler: The Transmission Nazi

"No state-of-the-art dual-clutch transmission for you," Chrysler says to North America

 |  Jan 08 2009, 11:54 AM

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Chrysler continues to expand the use of its new dual-clutch transmission, offering it in a total of three models – just not in North American. Originally offered in the Dodge Journey in European markets, the transmission will now also be available in the Avenger and Sebring.

Designed in partnership with Getrag, the state of the art transmission is similar in design to Audi’s DSG unit or the new PDK transmission found on new Porsches. Essentially it operates like an automatic transmission from the driver’s perspective, and gears can be selected through a manumatic-type system. Because of the dual-clutches, the next gear is always pre-loaded, meaning gear changes are incredibly quick and smooth.

According to Chrysler, it also makes for an improvement in fuel economy of six percent.

Currently the dual-clutch transmission is only available on 2.0-liter turbo diesel engines found in the Journey, Avenger and Sebring overseas.

Official release after the jump:

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