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Once the Chevrolet Cruze goes on sale this fall, an even dozen models from the Bowtie Brand will be equipped with six-speed automatic transmissions. Adding more ratios to transmissions offers automakers more flexibility in tuning engines for better efficiency. More ratios also allow the engineers to use a wider total ratio spread so that top gears can be setup for lower engine speeds while still maintaining driveability.

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It's only been a year since General Motors launched its 6T40 six-speed automatic transmission for mid-size and compact cars. When it was introduced, it brought with it a five percent bump in fuel efficiency. The engineers at GM Powertrain are now developing a second-generation variant of the 6T40 for introduction in 2011 that will bump fuel efficiency by another five percent.

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It's only been a year since General Motors launched its 6T40 six-speed automatic transmission for mid-size and compact cars. When it was introduced, this new transmission brought with it a five percent bump in fuel efficiency. The engineers at GM Powertrain are now developing a second generation variant of the 6T40 for introduction in 2011 that will bump fuel efficiency by yet another five percent.

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In what's being touted as a first-in-class application of the technology, Volkswagen now offers a 6-speed automatic transmission in its Polo small car. Mated to the company's 1.6L 4-cylinder, VW states that the 6-speed Tiptronic's gearing is configured to maximize refinement and that the driving experience feels closer to that of one of their mid-level vehicles.

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