If you’re going to spend $294,250 on a 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS, revealed today at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, you undoubtedly are a Porschephile with high expectations.That’s why Porsche, having already jettisoned the six-speed manual transmission for a faster-shifting, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, has removed the concept of shifting altogether. What can shift faster than a continuously variable transmission, which doesn’t have to shift at all?911 GT2s have always been a handful in the wet because of Porsche’s need to distinguish the GT2 from the all-wheel-drive 911 Turbo. That’s unacceptable now, so Porsche has made the CVT-equipped 911 GT2 a front-wheel-drive car.Lane Keeping Assist, a vital component in many a modern midsize car, is permanently switched on in the 2018 911 GT2 RS to allow drivers time to ponder the wonders of a new cooling system that sprays water on the intercoolers when temperatures get too hot.The gigantic rear … [Read more...] about 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS: FWD, CVT, Semi-Autonomous, Five-Seat Sports Crossover Marketed with Earth Dream Emojis
Bob writes:Hi Sajeev,I think a survey of continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) would be useful. I’ve read that there are two types: sliding belt and variable planetary gearset. Which car brands use each and what does the cognoscenti think of them?Sajeev answers:Anyone with time to kill on Google and YouTube can do this — but how often do we ask ourselves this question?The CVT’s history, from Leonardo Da Vinci to the Ford Five Hundred, is a worthwhile read. Frankly, I’m saddened that a CVT-heavy automaker such as Nissan hasn’t played up the Da Vinci connection in its marketing. Who would’ve thought the CVT predates many other boxes ‘o gears, much less the automobile?Wikipedia has a detailed overview of CVT designs, and here’s another simpler explanation. Finding the differences between automaker’s implementations is more difficult: Google image searching shows that most CVTs now sold in new vehicles are of the … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Justy-fied Freestylin’ on CVTs, Part VII
Well, it’s well into 2015, and time for another Nissan Altima review. My Casamigos hampered research tells me TTAC has done a review of the Altima every year since 2006, except for 2011. Go ahead, search for Nissan Altima, I’ll wait. You are the B&B and you’ll probably find the review I missed.It looks like I was the first one this year to lose rental car roulette.I spent 2013 in the Middle East. My default vehicle was a capable and reliable Toyota Fortuner, but those in a lesser position were saddled with a CVT equipped Altima. On an outing where I didn’t drive because I was hammered, looking to enjoy local culture, we usually took a Nissan of questionable maintenance.Out of the gate, I loathe this car. I know hormonal teenage One Direction fans amped on Diet Mountain Dew more capable of making a decision than the Nissan CVT transmission.This is my opening mindset before I spent an hour in line at the Dollar Counter at Houston’s William F. Hobby … [Read more...] about Rental Review: 2015 Nissan Altima 2.5 CVT
TTAC commentator Anomaly149 writes:Sajeev, here’s one for you:I have a CVT-equipped 2004 Saturn Ion Quad Coupe with ~140,000 miles. While you can write a book on the things that are weird with the car (key won’t release from cylinder sometimes unless you push this button inside the steering column, sometimes the neutral safety switch actuator machine-guns when stopped at a stoplight, it eats front sway links like it’s a contest, etc.), so far it’s been reliable and efficient.The thing I’m worried about is the longevity of that CVT. I’ve read a lot of bad things, and recently the transmission has started “shifting” hard from a stop. Sometimes the vehicle starts moving from a stop with a fairly violent jolt, even if the gas pedal is barely pressed. The problem is very intermittent, but has been getting a little more frequent. The dealer says they find nothing wrong. Is this worth investigating? Do they even make repair parts for … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Justy-fied Freestylin’ over CVTs, Part V
Ford is considering giving the B&B’s least favorite transmission type another go for future applications.Automotive News reports global product development boss Raj Nair said as much during a media event in Detroit. Though Ford hasn’t had much success with CVTs in the past — the last models to use the transmission were the Five Hundred, Freestyle and Mercury Montego back in 2007 — the automaker is “taking another look, particularly in low torque applications” such as the Fiesta SFE, whose 1-liter EcoBoost is only available with a manual transmission.As for where Ford will get its new CVTs, Nair didn’t say if the transmission type would be made in-house or obtained from a supplier, as was the case with ZF Friedrichshafen AG in 2007. … [Read more...] about Nair: Ford Considering CVTs For Future Applications
Steve writes:Sajeev,My wife drives a first-generation R50 Mini base model with the dreaded CVT. This is a transmission widely reported (read: complained about on message boards) to not last well beyond 75,000 city miles. Hers is just now clearing 80,000 and it shows no signs of early struggles, even under the hellish torment of stop-and-go traffic in Houston temperatures.Perhaps coincidentally, my wife has never put premium fuel in this car, despite it being a requirement. Premium fuel would supposedly generate 114 horsepower; without premium fuel, I would guess 7-9% lower, at, say, 105 horsepower. It is a slow car no matter what, but at least it makes up for it in urban maneuverability.Nevermind what this is gradually doing to her engine (I’ve never tested out whether we’d get better fuel economy and save with premium fuel), is it possible that her derated engine is saving her transmission? Less power through the transmission means less heat, so we can get more … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Less Octane = More CVT?
Mark writes:Hello,I enjoy reading the piston slap series.I have a 2009 Altima with the 2.5 4 banger and the CVT transmission. I’m not a big fan of the CVT, but it works ok and gets decent mileage. I bought this car as it was the cheapest car I could find that fits 4 adults and qualified me for the cash-for-clunkers handout. I didn’t expect to keep it long or pile the miles on it this quickly but now it has 90k on it. I mostly drive it without any passengers as we now have 3 kids and the minivan gets used for family duty (just had one kid when we bought the Altima). I’m trying to decide if I should hold onto it or sell it – it’s kind of at that point where if I keep much longer, I’ll probably end up driving it into the ground. The transmission is the wildcard to me – is there a consensus whether these trannys can be expected to last for 150k or more miles? The trans warranty goes through 120k but by that point the vehicle probably … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Justy-fied Freestylin’ over CVTs, Part IV
Not content with using CVTs from other manufacturers, General Motors is working on a CVT in-house for use in its global lineup.Per Ward’s Auto, details on the new transmission are scant at best, though the publication’s sources state the in-house unit will be installed in several “high-volume” models by 2019, paired up with the automaker’s new line of three- and four-cylinder engines set to see production this year. The sources added that GM is taking bids from suppliers to build parts for the CVT.Though the automaker uses CVTs already, including the 2015 Spark and Nissan NV-based City Express, it hasn’t had much luck with using units designed and assembled in-house. In the early 2000s, GM ran a program that saw such a product installed in the Saturn Vue and Ion, as well as the Opel Vectra, before production and drivability issues brought the program to a halt in 2004.As for why go for it again, GM Powertrain representative Tom Read says the … [Read more...] about General Motors Developing CVT In-House For Global Lineup
TTAC commentator Patrickj writes:Sajeev, an update:My 2006 Ford Freestyle that started this series has been traded in after 184,000 miles. It’s replacement is a 2015 Subaru Legacy, so I guess I wasn’t scared off by the CVT.The reason for getting the Subaru is mostly because of the second A/C failure of the summer in the Freestyle, though it also needed four struts, assorted bushings, and a steering shaft (u-joints doing a weird stick-slip thing). CVT and engine have been been fine to the end, with only two transmission fluid changes.Sajeev answers:Patrick’s Freestyle was three years old in the first Piston Slap, starting the “Justy-fied” CVT postings. Are we getting old?And keep in mind his Freestyle had 75,000 miles back then. With 184,000 miles now, this CVT lived the relaxed life of a more-highway-than-city cruiser. So what does this update mean?Here are some takeaways:Transmission/transaxle fluid changes every … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Justy-fied Freestylin’ over CVTs (PART VI)
TTAC commentator Raincoaster writes:Hi Sajeev,I currently drive a 2011 Honda Fit(Manual) and I’m mildly interested in a CVT for my next car purchase. I have never driven one, and one thing that gives me pause is all the “fake gears” that they set them up with. I understand that this is to make them drive in a manner familiar to traditional automatic transmissions, but this seems unnecessary and possibly inefficient to me. Are there any cars/companies that don’t fake it and just let the engine/trans cook up the best ratio at any given time? I’d like to test drive something like that to see how it feels.A second and 2 part question. I work a 40 day on, 40 off shift and while working, my car (2011 Fit) sits. Is this bad and is there anything I should do for preparation or upon first start up? This also got me wondering about cars on dealer lots, do they periodically start sitting inventory?-RaincoasterSajeev answers:A 40-day stagnation period has … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Avoiding Brutal CVT Step Gears?