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by Daniel DeGasperi

Audi has confirmed the continuously variable transmission (CVT) is now dead, despite the German brand having been one of the first to utilise this type of automatic gearbox more than a decade ago.

Speaking at a future technology briefing in Sweden, head of V6 TDI development Ralph Rigger said that development of the multitronic – the brand’s name for CVT – has stopped at Audi and it will eventually be superseded across all model lines.

“The multitronic is no longer going to be around,” confirmed Rigger.

“The S tronic will replace the multitronic. [In future] we are going to see a co-existance of two gearboxes, the S tronic and the tiptronic [torque converter automatic].”

Audi_A4_Ambition_1

Asked why the gearbox technology, which infinitely adjusts engine revs during acceleration, will be superseded by dual-clutch automated manual technology in future Audis, the development manager was forthright: “for efficiency reasons”.

“The multitronic offered a major benefit, you were able to keep the engine speed at very low revs thanks to the transmission ratio, but we’re now able to use a stepped transmission and the efficiency there is better than in comparison to a variator [CVT],” he continued.

“The large benefit of the multitronic was the low revs, but we are also able to do it now with this system [S tronic].”

Audi A7 Sportback

Rigger pointed to the release of the facelifted Audi A7 Sportback V6 TDI front-wheel drive model, which has increased engine efficiency on the switch from using a multitronic CVT to a dual-clutch S tronic transmission.

“If you run the [A7] ultra model, just watch for the low revs that are possible by this gearbox, so we’re able to reach the same engine speeds as with a multitronic but efficiency is better,” he said.

Although Audi currently uses an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission for its high-torque diesel-engined all-wheel-drive models, Rigger also confirmed that “later on we are going to have a quattro version” of the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

The demise of the CVT means the current Audi A6 2.0 TFSI and TDI grades on sale will likely come in for an S tronic upgrade soon, while the next-generation Audi A4 due next year will flick the CVT currently available in entry-level 1.8T and 2.0 TDI, and 3.0 TDI guise. It will leave the Audi A5 coupe and convertible as the last Audi models to use the transmission.




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