There are numerous classifications for automatic models, and the commercial offer of automatic models is pretty robust.
Nevertheless, they can be divided into five major classes based on their operation. Let’s examine the several automatic transmission kinds that are readily available today.
A contemporary Mercedes-AMG with an automatic transmission
Driving an automated vehicle is pretty prevalent in today’s society. However, this habit only recently developed.
A few years ago, automatic transmissions were almost exclusively found in high-end vehicles, medium-powered gasoline vehicles that were primarily intended for practical usage, and models that did not prioritize driving enjoyment.
A diesel automatic was exceedingly uncommon before 2000.
Additionally, there are now many distinct automatic transmission kinds, even if there is no choice of alternative technology within the same model range due to a technical revolution.
There may be some debate over which option is the best among products from different manufacturers that fall into the same segment.
The first thing to note is that no gearbox type is superior to the others in every way. Depending on what you want in a vehicle, one or the other will be more practical for you.
After driving over 200 automatic transmissions, I have concluded that while the evolution is undeniable, neither will one automatic transmission ultimately come to dominate the others.
Converter of torque
The conventional automatic gearbox is one like this. The converter uses a thick fluid to transfer power from the engine to the transmission instead of a traditional clutch.
As a result, the changes are very smooth, occasionally slow, and some fuel is lost. The vast majority of manufacturers favor it.
Once a gearbox had six gears or more, the engines were more effectively utilized, and torque converter gearboxes became quite valuable.
Additionally, technological advancements have made it possible to shift gears quite quickly, and with seven or eight speeds, the phasing is perfect. Up to 10 rates are seen in some large models.
Although there won’t be many entry-level cars, this gearbox may be adapted to almost any model. They typically come in medium and high models, especially if they have a lot of torque or are powerful, like diesel.
The transition from neutral to “D” can occasionally be slightly abrupt. We might claim that they balance dependability, cost, smoothness, and efficiency.
After demonstrating their value in competition, they start to appear commercially. Its primary benefit is speed, making it the best gearbox to do away with the clutch lever and pedal.
With even gears on one and odd gears on the other, it has two secondary shafts. The choice of equipment happens quickly, almost instantly.
Since there are almost no losses, they are incredibly efficient. Once the issues with the actuators from the first generation were resolved, they proved to be a very intriguing choice.
Some manufacturers placed significant bets on this automatic transmission style, with Volkswagen and its brands serving as the standard as they provide numerous automatic versions.
Depending on the brand, the dual clutch’s shortcomings are related to how smoothly it operates during parking, reversing, or starting.
Compared to a manual transmission, the price increase is moderate, and depending on the driver, fuel savings may be substantial.
DSG, TCT, ECT, and S-Tronic are some examples.
These are essentially standard gearboxes with automatic clutch and gear selection. It is a cost-effective option that works with entry-level vehicles.
They operate erratically, may be sluggish, or exhibit these traits simultaneously. They are somewhat underdeveloped.
When automatics were highly uncommon in entry-level cars, the available automatic option was of this kind.
Due to the lower development and manufacturing costs, there is a very slight price rise. Although they still lack finesse and are seen in some sports models, they are appropriate for automobiles with a particular personality.
The buttons for longer (+) and shorter (-) gear for semi-automatic mode are frequently found on robotized instructions.
Compared to a manual gearbox, automatism conserves the mechanics by preventing the engine from running at excessively high or low revs. It is not the automatic most devoted to driving pleasure unless we are talking about a perfect robotized manual, but it does its purpose.
Although it is dependable, there are particular maneuvers—like parking on an incline—where it may punish the clutch more than is necessary.
Examples include SMG, i-Shift, Easytronic, and Tiptronic.
Constantly changing or constantly changing variator
According to the fundamental operating principle, there are “unlimited” adjustments between the engine and gearbox speed, not actual gears.
As a result, even while the smoothness is at its highest, the driving experience falls far short of what is expected in a sports or driving-enjoyment vehicle. They are perfect for driving at a leisurely pace in cities.
When power is needed, they produce noise because the engine tends to be over-revved. Still, they also allow for significant fuel savings because the engine operates more comfortably in low rpm zones (mainly in underpowered engines).
Although it can be incorporated into this category, the operation of the planetary or epicyclic gear system is highly similar.
Every hybrid model from Toyota and Lexus uses an e-CVT.
The “fixed” ratios that can be chosen semi-automatically in some models to manage retention are pretty artificial.
These essential, dependable, and moderately priced automatic gearboxes are the kind that Japanese manufacturers are most likely to choose. A minor tradeoff is made in terms of driving enjoyment.
Examples include e-CVT, Multitronic, Lineartronic, and X-Tronic.
Manual gearshifts wouldn’t be found in electric vehicles unless a model was modwaswast built for a conventional engine.
The clutch is no longer required because the electric motor can turn at 0 RPM. Additionally, there are very few electric models with gears; they are unneeded.
Essentially, there is a fixed reduction ratio and a direct connection between the motor and the wheels.
They have a forward gear (D) and a reverse gear, just like remote-controlled or toy automobiles (R). For example, when descending a pass or driving more economically, different amounts of retardation can be selected in some electric models to enhance regenerative braking and minimize the need for brakes.
It is the most effective technique since there are fewer moving parts thanks to removing gears.
Because there is no gear change and the engine’s low-pitched sound solely relies on speed or, if we accelerate quickly, intensity, this is the most monotonous driving situation for conventional drivers. This plan is absurd in internal combustion engines.
Whine is superior will depend on the preferences and qualities each driver feels most important to them.
Every gearbox type has its supporters and critics, even 100% manuals, which still find a market outside of high-end and supercars, where they are starting to fade.