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Old 05-22-2000, 02:37 PM   #1
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Exclamation Subaru 7speed sequential

OK I got this from a UK owner who posted it on the Scoobynet. You will have to read about half way into it to find the mention of the joint research with Subaru.

Watch a magician's act and it is hard to believe how the tricks are hidden away. It's much the same with Fiat's new Punto Speedgear, which crams a previously unheard-of number of gears into a small car package. Depending on whether you feel laid-back or sporty, you can choose between six or seven gears respectively in the two Speedgear models: the five-door ELX and the racier, three-door Sporting. So how does Fiat do it? The innovative technology hard at work behind the scenes is primarily a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) system that also doubles up as a sequential manual shift set-up.

This is not the first time Fiat has packed its Punto with a box of tricks. In the mid-Nineties the 1.1-litre EL - and later SX - got six ratios, but did not sell well, maybe because of the engine's mere 55bhp. More recently the Seicento Citymatic introduced a clutchless manual shift. But the 1.2-litre, 16-valve Punto Speedgear is the UK's first supermini to feature such a clever CVT system. Jointly developed with Subaru, it features an auto mode with Drive or Low selections which can also be set to Economy via a button next to the shift gate. This electronically lengthens ratios for quieter, more frugal town driving. Switch out of Economy and the system reverts to shorter ratios for keener performance. In sequential manual mode, the Sporting gives a seventh gear. The differently spaced ratios to the ELX's six are reflected in a marginally quicker 0-60mph time and reduced fuel economy.

So where the six-speed touch-es 3,000rpm at 80mph in sixth, the Sporting is spinning over at a high-er 4,200rpm. Nevertheless, the extra gear comes into its own on motorways, although late downshifts can be a little harsh. Either mode will automatically shift up at 6,000rpm, and drop into first as soon as the car stops. Commendably, the CVT system is one of the smoothest we have tested, with a pleasing lack of transmission shunt or hesitancy.

Adding to the Sporting's prowess as a warm hatch is a firmer suspension set-up, which gives a more dynamic road feel but can prove a little jittery at lower speeds. There are also some aggressive exterior and interior details, such as extra venting in the front spoiler and alloy-effect console and trim inside.

The addition of the Speedgear CVT has given the Punto line-up a welcome diversity. While the Sporting isn't meant to be a serious hot hatch, the seven-speed set-up certainly gives enthusiastic drivers an interesting alternative. For less money and even better fuel economy, the ELX both serves the average family's needs and still allows the driver to have some fun. ^
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Old 05-22-2000, 02:43 PM   #2
8Complex

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Ummmm... where is the part about a Subaru 7-speed gearbox?

EDIT: Ahhhh yes, pardon me. I think I'm a little blind today sinc I actually did read through that whole thing before posting, too. *shrug*

[This message has been edited by 8Complex (edited May 22, 2000).]
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Old 05-22-2000, 02:46 PM   #3
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The article says that Fiat and Subaru devoloped it jointly. Only thing is that Fiat is now using it in one of the UK cars. What I wanted to know was why Subaru would help develop it and then not use it? Wasn't that the point of developing it in the first place? Maybe it will be in the WRC car next year.
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Old 05-22-2000, 02:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Punto Speedgear is the UK's first supermini to feature such a clever CVT system. Jointly developed with Subaru, it features an auto mode with Drive or Low selections which can also be set to Economy via a button next to the shift gate
This just sounds like the tiptronic (ie automatic ) setup.

OBTW It's also not the UK's first supermini to use CVT. The Dutch company DAF used belt drive to give CVT many years ago, 1960's. It was available in the UK in the DAF 55. It had two gears, forward and reverse and was infinitely variable in both driections

But the Journalist is probably too young to remember that

Richard
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Old 05-22-2000, 02:52 PM   #5
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Honda uses a continuous variable transmission in the Civic HX.
Outside of US - Nissan uses a CVT in the Primera (I think it was developed in partnership with Subaru)

Audi also uses a Multitronic CVT in the A6 (I am not sure if it is avail. in the US-bound ones. Audi claims that the A6s with the MVCT accelerate faster that the manual A6s, and provide better mileage.

[This message has been edited by Miro (edited May 22, 2000).]
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Old 05-22-2000, 02:55 PM   #6
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CVT's suck, at least right now. No way they could be used in any demanding application like drags, autox or road course and forget modding the car.

This isn't a true 7 spd gearbox, obviously. This is a computer pretending like it has 7 speeds. Pointless, IMO, when it really has many more.
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Old 05-22-2000, 03:15 PM   #7
Joel Gat, 1.8L
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Hello,

Before I purchased my impreza, I was a Honda Civic HX CVT owner. I got that car BECAUSE of the CVT. Amazing idea - first seen in the US in the Subaru Justy with the ECVT. The Civic CVT was a great implementation of an economy-minded CVT. You floored the car and the tach instantly jumped to redline - 6500 rpm. Then the tranny ratio changed as the car accelerated. Beautiful system that kept you right at the hp-peak any time you floored the car. Basically, the gas pedal determined the rpms.

Amazing thing about the CVT was that mated to the fuel-miser 115 hp VTEC-E engine, the car could outrun an integra RS (140 hp) from 50 mph on upwards. In a race against a GSR (started at 75 mph), we were neck to neck upto about 100, where my little CVT started pulling on the GSR right until I was about 2 car lengths ahead and I hit the fuel cutoff at 120 mph. Of course, 0-60 was slow because once you floored the car, the tranny spooled up to redline while the car started moving forward slowly and then once the engine hit redline, the car started shooting forward. The car's 5-60 was about 1.5 seconds faster than it's 0-60 - something like 7.0-7.5 seconds versus 8.5-9.

So why did I leave the CVT? Well, aside from aching for a manual tranny , we (those of us on the CVT performance list - a very small list, indeed) discoverd the biggest shortcoming of the CVT. It could handle about 130 hp before it blew up. In the UK, the CVT was offered with the normal VTEC 127hp engine. Add an intake and an exhaust and the tranny failed. Oops.

Honda developed their original CVT for use in F1 racing. However, the year they completed R&D was the year that all automatic trannies were banned as driver's aids. So no autos allowed. That tranny, from what we were led to believe, was very similar to the HX's tranny EXCEPT for the CVT belt. The F1 belt cost somewhere in the $25-$30,000 range!!! The economy belt just couldn't be made strong without costing too much.

On the flip side, Ford, Mercedes, Audi, and many other companies are jumping on the CVT bandwagon. Done correctly, there is no way that a manual transmission can compete with a CVT. The CVT gives you the option of ALWAYS being at your power peak. You can then design race cars to be VERY PEAKY! Who cares about wide powerbands, when you can just adjust tranny ratios to keep your engine at it's peak efficiency or power or whatever. Mercedes is the first company that I know of that is planning a 200+hp car with the CVT. I was unaware of Audi already shipping with the A6 in Europe and I kind of doubt it comes with the CVT yet, since someone would have said something about it on the CVT group

BTW, keeping the car in "economy" mode gave my fiancee (who is not as lead-footed as I am) an average of 45 mpgs at 80 mph over 400 miles. Not bad...

Joel
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Old 05-22-2000, 03:39 PM   #8
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Here is a link to a story discussing the CVT developed by Audi: http://www.sae.org/automag/techbriefs_01-00/03.htm

[This message has been edited by Miro (edited May 22, 2000).]
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Old 05-22-2000, 03:47 PM   #9
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CVT seems a lot better for starts, but what aboutstopping? You can use the gears to decelerate (very gently) or maintain your speed on long hills. does the CVT do this as well or are you totally dependent on your brakes?

Sorry, I've never driven a CVT.
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Old 05-22-2000, 03:57 PM   #10
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Mazda is working on a CVT for the new RX sport sedan... no confirmation on if the car will include it, or even be sold, but the answer to both questions is "highly likely."
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Old 05-22-2000, 04:18 PM   #11
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OK I will admit after starting out in the big block cars I missed alot of passed import technology. I know there are the CVT type systems in some other cars but this one was co-designed by Subaru so I thought it had some importance. It sounded cool to have this option to the A/T lineup. My Primera has something simular right now. Although I can't just just to the exact gear I want always. It does have Peak Hold, and Sport Shift modes. So it isn't exactly a sequential. It is a nice start though. As far as holding power goes, unlike the Civic version my Primera's is running alot of hp and torque. My Primera has a 2.0L engine with a aftermarket turbo and AWD. I haven't had a single problem with it. Well I had a boost related problem but that was fixed with a new set of seals. I haven't had any trans problems. If Subaru has built a 7spd CVT then it would make sense that the WRX get a 6spd tranny in the future.
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Old 05-22-2000, 04:41 PM   #12
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CVTs that say "7 gears", "6 gears", whatever) are really just continuosly variable with a computer program that lets you pick specific ratios that the CVT will jump to to simulate a manual shift. A CVT works best when allowed to adjust seamlessly between ratios. Having 7 discrete "ratios" is just a gimmick to appeal to people who are used to fixed ratio transmissions.

There are a number of new CVT designs coming to market - the most interesting (in my mind) is the Nissan Extroid (and other Torroidal types like what Mazda is pondering). The Nissan system is for sale in Japan in the Cedric and Gloria models and may soon show up in the USA in something (possibly) called Infiniti X30 (based on XVL show car).

If you want to learn about the different
CVTs, try this web site:
http://www.fortunecity.com/silverstone/lancia/58/technical_school/gearbox/tech_ gear.htm#Extroid CVT


[This message has been edited by TEG (edited May 22, 2000).]
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Old 05-22-2000, 04:59 PM   #13
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TEG-that's a pretty good link! Thanks. The CVT sounds cool and all but the Saab shifter sounded like it was the closest thing to the M/T just without the clutch. The CVT would be better if you wanted to stay in the power band all the time.
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Old 05-22-2000, 05:32 PM   #14
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Never driven a CVT before, but conventional CVT gives me the feeling of a semi-auto. Maybe the Nissan unit is best for performance, but I can see that computer might be doing to much. I like the 355 F1, where it's based on a manual tranny.

I would think that driving a CVT will have a very different feeling. I would like a CVT (if it turns out to be very good) that give the driver more control than just using the gas pedal. Elastic effect seems to be the worst thing happened to most CVTs.
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Old 05-22-2000, 07:47 PM   #15
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Actually the first CVT was developed by a company called DAF back in the early 70's I believe..... memory servers me right they used some HUGE drive belts...... It was a down right ugly car.
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Old 05-22-2000, 08:40 PM   #16
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Did anybody notice "Punto"? Isn't it a pinto? In spanish Punto means "Bastard". Were they talking about the designer
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