• Jan 11th 2008 at 2:27PM
  • 18

Volvo is joining the ranks of other automakers by beginning to offer a dual-clutch gearbox to the masses. The new transmission, developed in cooperation with Getrag, features six-forward gears and reverse, and opts for a wet-clutch system like the first generation VW/Audi setup. Aside from the obvious performance advantages gained by quick shifts, Volvo estimates that fuel consumption will be reduced by around eight-percent.

The new setup can handle over 330 lb.-ft. of torque, something that has proved to be an issue with similar setups because of the small surface area of both clutches. When Volvo's Powershift transmission debuts, it will initially be equipped on the C30, S40 and V50 fitted with the 2.0-liter turbo diesel. There was no mention of what models in the U.S. could benefit from the new 'box or when it might be available here in the States.

Volvo's full press release is posted after the jump.



* Automatic sequential six-speed transmission
* Twin wet clutches for fast and smooth changes
* Over 47 mpg and less than 160 g/km CO2
* Optimised for powerful diesel engines

The new Volvo automatic Powershift transmission will be available to order from late February on the 136PS two-litre turbodiesel versions of the Volvo C30, S40 and V50 with a recommended retail price of £1,250. This new Powershift six-speed unit features twin wet clutches to provide the gear changing comfort of a fully-automatic transmission with the performance of a manual gearbox.

Operating as two parallel manual gearboxes, Powershift has twin wet clutches that work independently of one another. One clutch controls the odd gears (1, 3, 5 and reverse) while the other handles the even ratios (2, 4 and 6). The two clutches operate alternately with one engaging while the other disengages, like a slip clutch. This means that at the same time as the engine gets full power and maximum thrust in first gear, second gear is placed ready to be engaged. And when second gear has been engaged, third gear is readied, and so on. This gives a continuous flow of power without any disruption in power delivery or any torque loss. This results in extremely fast and smooth gear changes whilst maintaining acceleration allowing 0-60mph to be reached in nine seconds in the Volvo C30, 9.1 seconds in the S40 and 9.2 seconds in the V50 and boasts a top speed of 127mph in all three models.

Apart from gear changing comfort and high performance, Powershift also contributes to delivering improved fuel efficiency. The Powershift Automatic offers an impressive combined fuel consumption of 47.1mpg and a CO2 figure of 159g/km in both the Volvo S40 and V50; while it brings the Volvo C30 47.9mpg on a combined cycle and a CO2 figure of 156g/km.

"Lower fuel consumption allied to increased comfort and higher performance sounds like an impossible equation. But with Powershift we have shown this is perfectly possible," says Magnus Jonsson, Senior Vice President, Research & Development, Volvo Cars.

Automatic or sequential gearchanging without any loss in torque
Powershift gives the driver an automatic transmission that permits sequential gearchanges, just like with Volvo's Geartronic transmission. The difference is that with Powershift even manual gearchanges take place without any time or power losses. Also, unlike a conventional automatic transmission, Powershift does not need a torque converter, planetary gears or multiple wet clutches, there is also none of the added torque losses that these features bring.

Optimal choice for powerful diesel engines
Thanks to the use of twin wet clutches, the Powershift transmission can handle high torque levels and in principle has no limitations on choice of ratio. This makes it an ideal partner for today's powerful diesel engines. The version of Powershift that Volvo is now launching is dimensioned to handle torque levels up to 450 Nm. In the versions of the Volvo C30, S40 and V50 in which it is fitted, Powershift is mated to the 2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel which delivers a power output of 136 PS and 320 Nm of torque.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Fearless prediction: Due to the new gas mileage standards dual-clutch gearboxes will replace traditional automatics as well as traditional stir-it-yourself manuals.

      It there place will be a computer controlled DSG with a switch for normal, wet/snow and towing shift patterns and with out paddles or other forms of manual activation.
      • 7 Years Ago
      My, um, brother, is on the Tesla buy list and “we” want to know why this (or the VW) Tranny can’t be used in the Tesla Roadster?! Anyone? Please? Someone?
        • 7 Years Ago
        when you upshift at redline in the tesla from 1st, it has to fall from pretty high torque to HIGHER torque at about HALF the turning engine speed. It also has to fit in the back of a tesla roadster which is pretty-much packed with a giant immovable battery.

        When you upshift in a typical gasoline car, it almost always falls to a LOWER torque point and only has to fall some fraction of the engine's rev band, and some of the torque load can be absorbed in an internal combustion engine's various parts... but in a nearly direct-drive electric motor... I guess if it sharply cut the voltage as the shift was performed it'd be ok, but the sports-car feeling tends to encourage full-throttle upshifts...

        ... I guess the real answer to your question is that this is new and in sweden while the tesla is new and in california and england.... they just haven't found their way to one another yet.

        what would work much better is a superfast supertough CVT.... but nobody makes one of those. you gotta keep in mind... that torque is the steady-state torque. If the motor is spinning and it suddenly hits an obstruction... like a gearset suddenly spinning with multiplied resistance... the instantaneous compression force loadings on all of those parts (maybe only a couple of teeth on two gears!... they fail not at motor torque but the engagement face torque about the base of the tooth) is VERY much higher than the actual torque load on the engine at that speed ABOUT its driveshaft.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Doesn't Ford's 5spd Truck transmission carry the name "Powershift"?
      • 7 Years Ago
      I wonder how far over the 330lb rating can it handle.

      • 7 Years Ago
      @ JBoll, JackP,

      wet clutches transmit torque via laminar shear forces in the thin oil films between the multiple plates. Ergo, torque can only be transmitted if there is a small speed difference between input and output. The power of torque transmitted times speed difference is lost as heat to the oil. In addition, a wet clutch DCT has a circulation pump that adds weight and further reduces efficiency. Even so, vehicle fuel economy is very close to that of a manual because the gear shifts are so fast and smooth the drivetrain controller can optimize gear selection for fuel economy. Besides, relative to a conventional AT with planetary gears, the gear ratios can be better tuned to the engine and vehicle.

      There is no mechanical contact between the clutch plates at all unless they are warped by overheating due to overtorqueing.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow Wonder how long those clutchplates will last with some real power applied, hopefully pretty well because it dosen't look to service friendly.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Given the likely cost of repair, you'll want to think long and hard before buying a car with this tranny used.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The wet clutch and Powershift name sounds somewhat like the sort of "powershift" transmissions used in farm tractors for years. My Dad's got an '89 Case with a 16-speed, wet clutch, you can shift from any gear to any gear under a full load. After near 20 years...some sort of nitrogen(???) system used to speed up gear changes has stopped working, that's been all the transmission trouble.
      • 7 Years Ago
      So this isn't the same as the Borg-Warner units supplied to VW? Volvo's building these themselves?
        • 7 Years Ago
        @CH, AWESOME! That's the kind of reply that makes me happy, thanks for the 411!
        • 7 Years Ago
        It uses the same basic technology licensed from Borg-Warner as the VW units. However, the Volvo units are built by Getrag under the Ford-Getrag joint venture consumated about 2 years ago.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I wonder if it has a "Power Torque Steer" mode?
      • 7 Years Ago
      What's the deal with the 47.9mpg? That isn't U.S.-standard, is it?
      • 7 Years Ago
      hmm... volvo owned by ford.... who also owns mazda... 330lb-ft torque rating... mazdaspeed3/6 with DSG? DO IT.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I agree duel-clutch trannies are good for performance and race cars...not really needed elsewhere. Lots of mechanical devices, including nanies, and thus the friction wear are unnecessary for EVs. On a BEV if you place the motor at the rear, you can delete the ICE, clutch, transmission, drive shaft and differential. When batteries advance and become lighter and when we start building light chassis, we won't need all this mechanical complexity.
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