• May 22, 2007
In an effort to keep up with the foreign competition, while at the same time offering consumers more ratios than they can shake their stick at, General Motors has made a pledge to invest $332 million into its Toledo, Ohio plant.
The financial infusion is necessary to produce the new Hydra-matic GT40/45 six-speed transmission, designed for GM's midsized, front drivers, with production expected to begin in February of 2010. The FWD tranny will be built alongside the new rear-wheel drive six-speed that was announced last year.

Although the General's progress with six-speed cog-swappers is all well and good, 2010 seems like a long way out considering that several other automakers have already moved on to seven- and eight-speed transmissions.

[Source: Inside Line]


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  • 26 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Gardiner:
      Personally, I wouldn't base my decisions on anything Ford or GM are doing right now.
      • 7 Years Ago
      So when do we get a 6-sp stick in the 'regular' cars (ie: not a 'vette)??? More speeds is good, it keeps the engine operating in its powerband across a wider range of speeds. Most 4sp autos and 5sp manuals have at least one speed area where you are 'between gears' and you are stuck either revving the engine more than necessary or running at the very bottom of the useable rpm range. More speeds can help eliminate that and make the car more responsive as well. Besides, GM is known for making solid transmissions, this is a good thing and will definately help sales.
      I would really love a 6-sp instead of the 5-sp in my current car, but it's gotta be a manual. With the 5-sp I can keep the rpm's under 2000 around town and get 4-cyl economy out of a V6, but when I hit the highway I really want another gear to grab. I know my mpg will decrease at 80mph, but it would improve a bit if the engine weren't nearing 3000rpm.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I will say when it comes to manual transmissions that it is wonderful to have as many gears as possible to have the pep to get the hole-shot and the added gear up top to not have to hear the car whir along at 75 mph (my car right now is quiet, but at 75 my tach is close to 3200 rpm... Six gear might be nice to have to drop that lower, less NVH that way)... In an automatic that will set into overdrive, my 1989 mercury sable had the best overdrive ever, 70 mph=
      • 7 Years Ago
      No, Tim. They really have all that many ratios. It's not just faking it with torque converter lockup on and off.

      Dude:
      Torque converter loss is about zero now. In any steady-state driving the tranny selects the correct gear and the locks the torque converter.

      The biggest losses with an automatic transmission are due to the weight of carrying the thing around and due to the energy lost driving the hydraulic pump to shift the gears for you. DSG-type transmissions are pretty good on the first part but no better on the 2nd part than a regular auto.

      Jeff the Baptist:
      4 bangers don't have enough torque to run super low revs at highway speeds, because if they did, you'd get nothing when you press the pedal. The real fix for this will be trannies that can shift quicker, so they shift when you press the gas to get more revs. DSG-type trannies are great for this. It can ride with top gear selected and 2nd from top all the time. When you press the pedal, it immediately engages the lower gear and revs up the motor. A hydraulically shifted planetary gearbox will never be quick enough to optimize for this completely. A Prius is freakin' voodoo for this, the electric motor can kick on IN REVERSE at those high speeds to both input energy and lower the overall gearing instantly.

      There's all kinds of new technologies on the way, I hope GM is investing in these as well as hydramatic trannies.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Too much emphasis these days are placed on the number of gears. You could always just get a CVT and have an INFINITE amount of gears. More gears means more parts and more POTENTIAL problems. For the average driver, the additional efficiencey that MIGHT be gained by going to 7 or 8 gears or more is so small that it's not worth the development and production costs. Give me a bulletproof 5 or 6 speed and lets all be on our way, anything more is mostly for marketing hype than anything.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The 6T40 should be in the new Malibu, hopefully this fall and not a 'late availability' item-early calendar '08.
      Also it would be nice to have a close ratio spread, 5.4:1, and decent top gear, say 60mph@2000 (GM 2.4 has variable exhaust valve timing that the QR25 doesn't) The Nissan altima has a 6:1 ratio spread, but is biased a smidge too tall, top gear is ~2000 rpm @ 65mph.

      You can have ratio spread with just 6 speeds, ala the 6 speed stick in the Dodge RamHD G56 6.29, 3.48, 2.10, 1.38, 1, 0.79. 8:1 ratio spread. If you are towing/hauling you aren't going to be using 6th gear too much and when you aren't, you can exclude the creeper 1st gear.

      Look at semi's
      http://www.roadranger.com/ecm/groups/public/@pub/@roadranger/documents/content/rr_trsl-0281.pdf
      15:1 ratio spread. Well at its heart it is a 5 speed stick, but with dual countershafts. (for that extra 4.45 reduction for B ratios)

      The 7 speed from ZF was DOA, the MB 7g-tronic did not increase the ratio spread over the ZF 6hp series.
      http://www.all4engineers.com/download.php;file=a10-03-14.pdf/dir=atz/key=6db087b26af59e16ac3f223f957bf333

      It would be great to have ZF's new 8 speed auto 7:1 ratio spread with BMW's diesel Inline6 engine. With the 2.35:1 axle ratio 8th gear could be ~47mph / 1000 in the 5-series. (But it will have to wait)
      The base diesel I6 is 194hp@3750, 295ft-lbs@1300 rpm, the mamma bear is 232hp@4000, 369ft-lbs@1750, the papa bear 282hp@4400, 428ft-lbs@1750.

      The transmission is everthing.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think you guys are missing the point, this new transmission seems to be an addition to or the successor to the current Hydra-Matic *cough* Ford 6F *cough* 6T70. The current 6T70 is the 6-speed automatic used in the Saturn Aura, Lambda crossovers, etc. So in other news GM already has a FWD 6-speed automatic! This new transmission will either be a 6-speed replacement for the 4T45, the compact 4-speed automatic used in the Ecotec powered Cobalt and G6, or it will replace the ford designed 6T70. I hope this is a true hydra-matic, the ford transmissions are terrible (drive a 4-speed hydra-matic and then a 4-speed ford... world of difference).
      • 7 Years Ago
      As long as manufacturers aren't making the 6th (or last) gear an overdrive gear more gears are needed.

      CVT for the win.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Are you dyslexic or just an idiot?? SHOW ME ONE 6 SPEED TRANNY THAT DOESN'T HAVE A 6TH GEAR OVERDRIVE YOU MORON!
      • 7 Years Ago
      #22, some manufacturers have done that to a degree but there is improvement at highway speeds too.

      Last year's G6 GTP with the 4 speed turned 2500 @ 80mph. The 07 model with their new 6 speed turns 2050 @ the same speed.

      The 05 Camry V6 / 5 speed turned 2640 @ 80, its replacement with the 6 speed turns 2310.

      • 7 Years Ago
      I agree with most of the posters here, and completely disagree with Damon the blogger. Seriously, who needs 8 gears? Maybe it'll get you some economy on the Autobahn, but here in the US, the difference between a 6 speed and an 8 speed is what, 400 RPM at 70mph? Does it do anything for me at launch or are 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears all I need for acceleration? People that would choose a 7-speed or 8-speed transmission over a 6 just because it has extra gears are soooo misinformed, and car companies that make 7 or 8 speeds are only doing it to fool the misinformed.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yeah, Tim, you're off base here. These really do have that many gearing combinations. They don't necessarily have that many gears, as auto trannies use planetary gearing sets back-to-back. But the number of discrete combinations really 6 or more (plus reverse).

      To those who asked above, yes, additional gears do increase mpg. 5 speed increases highway mpg something like 9%, the 6th speed adds 5-6%, etc...

      At some point, the additional gears don't make a lot of sense due to weight/size/out of torque concerns. So I think a 6 speed for FWD cars will be a long way from obsolete in 2010. If it is obsolete, it'll be because it was obsoleted by a computer-controlled manual (possibly dual-clutch), not by a 7 speed hydraulically shifted planetary gearing transmission.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The CVT seems to be falling out of favor. Both Ford and GM have abandoned them due to reliability and durability concerns.
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