The continuously variable transmission is one of those technologies that seems to make a lot of sense on paper, but in reality, almost always numbs the driving experience. That's one reason why Audi, according to reports, is planning to phase them out.

One of the first automakers to implement use of the CVT, Audi mates CVTs to larger engines than many other manufacturers, which typically install them on scooters, hybrids and small-displacement hatchbacks. But the time of the Audi CVT (which it calls Multimatic) may be near its end as a report from Australia indicates that Ingolstadt is moving toward a two-gearbox lineup that does not include the rubber-band transmission.

Instead, Audi is said to be focusing its attention on the S-tronic dual-clutch transmission and on conventional torque-converter automatics – although the development of beefier DCTs could spell the end of the Audi slushbox, as well. We've reached out to Audi for comment, so watch this space for confirmation.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 34 Comments
      Paul
      • 4 Months Ago
      Actually the Audi CVT trans is not a 'rubber band' trans. The ancient DAF car used 2 large v-belts. The picture above shows the steel mesh drive belt that is hydraulically clamped by the pulleys inside the case. This trans could be shifted 'manually' which would cause the pulleys to jump to a certain gap,giving the impression of a gear shift.
      Nowae Amigivingittwo
      • 4 Months Ago
      I've driven vehicles with both kinds of transmissions and I like the DCAM much better than the CVT. DCAM's are like having a leprechaun under the hood doing the clutch pushing and gearshifting, it pretty much almost sounds like a manual too. And they can do more precise shifts better than a human can, that's probably why Ferraris and Lambo et al have em, Honda and Nissan should junk their CVT's and use DCAM's too.
      Cal Lani
      • 4 Months Ago
      Sure, I would love a DCT over my chipped A4 w/CVT... but honestly, the thing shifts as fast as a DCT-- thus faster than a standard or manual-- at the expense of maximum power limits. As long as I don't stage 3 the Mother F****r, I would take the CVT over a standard any way, if my option is auto. Manual would have been a great alternative if I had the option when I bought it. If Audi goes all Dual clutch, I'm down, but in the mean time, until I get an S4/S7, Im happy with my CVT.
      delstv
      • 4 Months Ago
      Rubber band transmission? Who writes this stuff? Anyway, I would never own an Audi. I'm in the car business and these cars, while beautiful to look at and drive, are JUNK...
      BipDBo
      • 4 Months Ago
      I never had a problem with the driving dynamics of a CVT. In fact, I preferred its smoothness. My only experience with one, however, is on a Nissan Versa, which has pretty low power. I know that on higher power applications, they govern engine output to limit the torque through the belts and pulleys. Otherwise, at certain rpms and ratios, the engine has enough torque to slip the belt causing failure. You still get full engine power at some times, so the peak hp figure doesn't become a lie, but you don't get all the engine's got all the time. I wonder if perhaps this is the real cause of the "rubber band" feeling. Anyway, my problem with CVTs is that I don't trust them. They are prone to failure and when they do, they're very expensive to fix. For practical purposes, after a car is out of warrantee, a failing CVT put a "do not resuscitate" order on the car. I'd be glad to see them disappear. I'm not much more of a fan of torque converter autos either. For my car I prefer manual. For the family car, I'd like to see automatics dominated by ever improving DCTs and power split hybrid planetary gearboxes.
      greenz1977
      • 4 Months Ago
      I wasn't even aware Audi used a CVT in their vehicles. I have avoided purchasing a car so far that uses one and would rather row my own gears instead. Sorry Nissan, you lost me. So I ended up in a 2014 Mazda 6 and the dealer even cut me a better deal because the car was a stick.
        knightrider_6
        • 4 Months Ago
        @greenz1977
        almost half the Audis sold in US have CVTs.
          BC
          • 4 Months Ago
          @knightrider_6
          On the contrary, few US Audis sold have CVTs. It's only been available on low-volume FWD, 4-cylinder, base model A4 sedans, A6 sedans, and A5 convertibles. All other non-manual US Audis have 6-speed DSG or 8-speed torque-converter automatics, including all quattro models, and even the e-Tron and hybrids.
          carguy1701
          • 4 Months Ago
          @knightrider_6
          What BC said. Very few people buy the FWD A4, A5, and A6.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 4 Months Ago
      Frankly I find no difference between a CVT transmission, and a modern auto trans which typically keeps the revs very low when cruising. In both cases, the transmission and engine have to take their own sweet time to change down to a lower gear, and rev up to the power band, in order to accelerate. The lag time is made worse in a turbo car, which is also very popular nowadays.
        carguy1701
        • 4 Months Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Really. Drove a Fusion a few weeks ago and all I noticed was a little bit of turbo lag, but then again I was driving it around a cone course.
      FuelToTheFire
      • 4 Months Ago
      Luxury cars need to use CVTs more. CVTs make for excellent cruisers.
      kurtthewurt
      • 4 Months Ago
      I really hope this rumor turns out to be true. One of the main reasons the A4 didn't make the final cut while I was trying to find a relatively inexpensive premium car last year was the fact that I couldn't stand the driving dynamics of the CVT model, and all the A4 Quattros (w/ ZF 8-speed) were optioned way out of my price range. Ended up with a BMW instead, and with the same ZF transmission as the A4 Quattro, go figure.
      rkeeeballs
      • 4 Months Ago
      Always room for improvement......combo cvt w/ auto 2 or 3 speed tranny might be the ticket !
      rsholland
      • 4 Months Ago
      Anyone here drive a new Subaru with a CVT? Pretty darn good unit, especially the high-torque version used on the Forester turbo, WRX and Legacy/Outback H6. Even the automotive press were impressed when paired with the WRX.
        IBx27
        • 4 Months Ago
        @rsholland
        Wait until it has 60,000 miles on it.
      knightrider_6
      • 4 Months Ago
      Audi should stick to the basics. Leave complicated stuff to the big guys.
    • Load More Comments