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Suzuki gets with the times


WE HAVE seen many manufacturers producing their own automated manual transmissions or in the case of a few, taking a basic automated gearbox (the ZF eight-speed for example) and loading their preferred software and settings onto its ECU to give its shifts and modes a distinctive feeling. Suzuki has now jumped on the proverbial bandwagon with its own auto-shift gearbox.

The unit promises smoother gear shifts, improved efficiency and a more involving driving experience. It works by integrating an electro-hydraulic actuator with a five-speed manual gearbox. The actuator operates the clutch and gear shifts and perfectly synchronises these actions with the engine’s revs to ensure seamless, optimised gear changes.

This means that there is no need for a manually operated clutch - there is even a creep function to prevent a jerky pull-off. The gearbox remains a manual unit and therefore doesn’t suffer the efficiency losses usually associated with torque-converter-based automatic transmissions.

There will be both fully automatic and manual shift modes. In the auto setting, the gearbox selects and shifts gears without the need for driver intervention, based on prevailing speeds and load conditions. In manual mode, the driver controls the gear changes without the use of a clutch pedal.

The gearbox has been tested for use in passenger vehicles and is expected to be introduced into vehicles such as the Swift and the Alto in the not-too-distant future.

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