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said that development of the multitronic – the brand’s name for CVT – has stopped at Audi and it will eventually be superseded across all model lines.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].”
Asked why the gearbox technology, which infinitely adjusts engine revs during acceleration, will be superseded by dual-clutch automated manual technology in future Audis, the development manager was forthright: “for efficiency reasons”.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].”
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.