Do we need more gears in our gearbox? – Drive Safe and Fast

TechTalk

Published on May 29th, 2018 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Do we need more gears in our gearbox?

The manual gearbox is slowly seeing its last days in existence as more car manufacturers are removing manual gearboxes from their product lineup.

We still think that manual cars are still great fun to drive, and should be available for as long as possible, but the automatic gearbox has become far faster and more efficient in recent years and nearly 99.9% of car buyers want an automatic gearbox.

Cars moved from 3 to 5-speed automatics through the 1990s, then 5 to 6-speed gearboxes appeared through the 2000’s. The first 7-speed gearbox arrived up in 2003 which was soon followed by the 7 and 8-speed gearboxes in recent year which were only offered in the luxury car segment only for quite some time.

For now, WE believe that 8- gears just seems like the perfect amount to have.

However, car manufacturers are moving to the magical number of 10-speed gears….yes some brands already offer 10-speed gearboxes.

They say that the spreading of the gear ratios helps put the engine in the most efficient operating area.

Why?……well more gears offer more flexibility for a car when it needs to accelerate and deliver peak power since the additional ratios can put the engine in its so called ‘sweet spot’. Then when the vehicle doesn’t need all that power, the gearbox can enter a higher gear where the engine isn’t working as hard and is saving fuel instead.

So which car in Malaysia has a 10-speed gearbox? The Lexus LC500 supercar. In the Lexus LC 500 the first 4 speeds cover a gear span that is handled by only 2 speeds in a conventional gearbox, which makes driving an extremely smooth experience even in highly congested traffic. Once out of traffic, the next 6 speeds make the transition from city roads to highway a breeze, which is where the real fun begins.

In August 2016, Honda announced development of a gearbox that has 11 gears. This new gearbox also has three clutches. It has yet to be released.

The improvements in the gearboxes being produced in modern vehicles are a major benefit to car enthusiasts of all types.  They offer unparalleled fuel economy and can handle a significant amount of torque and power. This is why we believe that the 8-speed gearbox is sufficient for now and maybe some time in the future.

For example, the new Volvo XC60 T8 which has 407bhp and a massive 640Nm of torque and its all being driven via an 8-speed smooth shifting gearbox.

With the desire to save fuel and yet deliver a lot of power, we think the 8-speed gearbox has done the job……do we really need more than 640Nm in our daily drive?

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