• May 30, 2006
Announcing Tuesday a $170 million investment in GM Powertrain's Ypsilanti Transmission Operations and its satellite vendors and support infrastructure, General Motors made a strong commitment to its new family of six-speed automatic transmissions. The new investment follows the more than $450 million invested in the six-speed development and in the Ypsilanti plant.

GM is launching the six-speeds in nearly 40 GM models around the world in 2006 and 2007. By 2010, the company plans a total of 10 new variants of the six-speed design, with annual production reaching three million units.

The first six-speed model, the Hydra-Matic 6L80 (shown at right), debuted in on GM's 2006 performance models and full-size SUVs, and the investment announcement coincides with the launch of its second six-speed variant, the 6L50, which will debut in 2007 Cadillac STS rear- and all-wheel drive sedans, and in the SRX V8 crossover.

Compared to a four-speed automatic, the new six-speeds provide both better performance (through a lower first gear) and better highway fuel economy (via two overdrive gears).

The 6L50 also features "Driver Shift Control," which allows the driver to shift the transmission like a clutchless manual 'box. Another nifty feature is transmission calibration to override automatic gear selection during closed-throttle and high lateral acceleration maneuvers (think aggressive corner entry), rapidly downshifting with nearly synchronous engine speed for quick power-up when the driver comes back on the throttle.

[Source: GM]


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  • 38 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's a myth that a 6 speed automatic yields higher performance than a 4 speed. An A4 Corvette is actually a more responsive car than an A6. The A6 will often require 2 downshifts to hit the meat of the powerband where the A4 will require 1.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Speaking of good American Transmissions..... Chrysler also made/makes some pretty good trannies...ever heard of teh torqueflite????? I owned A Pontiac in my life that had hughe problems; however, the transmission (automatic) was spot on good. It shifted fabulously, no jerkyness, no whumps....no whining..


      And Jason, No, you did not provide FACTS. You merely provided a briefe anecdote of your singular experience. Facts would include such things as total number of 4 speed automatics produced by GM in a given year and number of recalls, service issues, customer ratings, etc. I dont remeber seeing any provable figures in your post except for the cost to repair your vehicle. Which, although may be a provable number as to how much it costs to repair your vehicle, It doesnt illustrate facts pertaining to teh build quality or performance of GM transmissions. For all we know you drove it like a pig until it blew up. Or maybe you bought it second hand and teh previous owner abused it. Or maybe, just maybe it failed on its own accord. Its mechanical. All mechanical parts have a chance of failing eventually.

      If you drink one Miller lite in your life and it was bad does that mean ALL miller lite beers are bad?

      One experience a fact does not make......
      • 8 Years Ago
      Because it was my singular experience does not prevent my story from being factual. The word has nothing to do with far-reaching statistical research. If you think otherwise, you need to go back to school.

      Fact (plural facts)
      noun
      Definition:

      1. something known to be true: something that can be shown to be true, to exist, or to have happened

      2. truth or reality of something: the truth or actual existence of something, as opposed to the supposition of something or a belief about something
      • 8 Years Ago
      GM should be applauded as anyone with common sense knows that more gears give better fuel mileage and less wear on the engine due to lower RPM"s at highway speed. And for those that don't know Volvo and Jaguar has been using GM transmissions for years. LRT
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hello, I just bought a 2009 Chev. Silverado with the new 6-speed auto. Has anyone had any problems with rough shifting, in auto mode, from 1-2 and 2-3?
      • 8 Years Ago
      General Motors has been selling some of the best transmissions in the world for decades. Rolls-Royce used them through the 90s.

      http://www.automobilesdeluxe.blogspot.com

      • 8 Years Ago
      Ed, you're nuts. GM (and Ford) made better auto trannies already by the 60s than the German companies do today. I say this as an Audi owner with a ZF HP24 tranny.

      Mine merely shifts incredibly poorly (producing slipping and whumps at time). I have a couple other friends with cars with HP24 trannies. In a Land Rover Discovery II, my friend had to have his HP24 replaced within 6 months. It simply failed to work (on an uphill slope!). In VW Passats, one friend had to have his tranny replaced after 12 months. He says the replacement shifts very poorly, but he didn't try to get another, figuring it get worse. Another friend had his (Aisin-?) Warner auto in his Volvo V70 T-5 die in his garage within 18 months.

      And the auto tranny problems in the Volvo S80 and Acura 3.2TL-S are well known.

      I am convinced Americans make the best automatic trannies in the world. The Germans and Japanese are great at manuals, but not as much with automatics.

      I'd trade my ZF for a GM auto any day of the week, although my next car will likely have a stick (likely a Getrag).
      • 8 Years Ago
      To our members, the point isn't how good the auto is, but rather how great it is to drive a manual. No code will ever be written that can match the intuitiveness and response rate of the human mind.
      I am not debating the practicality issue...either your life circumstances and choices allow a manual trans auto in your garage, or it won't.
      To SHIFTYWorld members, it is worth any limited downside to have a true classic manual shift.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Drive the Grand Prix GTP and you'll quickly see why two more ratios is a good idea. The Tapshift works great in that car, but the limited gear selection makes it of very limited usefulness.

      It might even be able to downshift multiple gears at once. The Jaguar XK I drove last week dropped from 6th to 3rd instantly.

      In this case, a 6-speed has a huge advantage in generally having the proper ratio available. With a four-speed you often get more revs than you really need when the transmission downshifts.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Having driven about an equal number of auto equipped and manual equipped cars and trucks in my lifetime, I can say that the number of gears isn't as important as the accessibility of those gears.
      I've driven big-block Chevys with Powerglide and small 4 cylinder Hondas with 4 speed autos and the ability to get the right gear, right NOW, for max torque multiplication, is a big plus with the GM automatics.
      However, if one or more of the gears in the new 6 speed is an overdrive, that should help fuel economy, too.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I have driven a few 6 speed auto and still think the 4 speed in my wife's Saturn is faster and more accurate. I can easily tell it when to shift with the right amount of gas pedal. It seems to shift at the right times and puts the engine at the right RPM. I am not sure I have liked any other auto I have owned or driven as much as this one. Plus, the mid-sized car gets 34mpg highway. It beat the Camry and Accord in MPG the year it was built.

      nearly 100,000 miles on it and still running strong.
      • 8 Years Ago
      ...said the guy who can't spell negative. They allow pretty much anyone on the internet, eh?
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