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Thread: Terminology issue: Manual vs. "Automatic" these days

  1. #1
    Recreational Gynecologist MR2 Fan's Avatar
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    Terminology issue: Manual vs. "Automatic" these days

    I've seen a lot of conversations in other places debating the idea of manual vs automatics, when they're really referring to, most of the time, clutchless manual/sequential manual with paddle shifts.

    I know the definition is kind of blurred as there are some car companies offering shift paddles but still shift slower than someone with a clutch and 6-spd.

    Should we be referring to these real ones, that shift faster than a traditional manual as "automatics". Does it depend on whether they have an automatic mode? I mean, you can't call a car with paddle shifts that you HAVE to use, an automatic.

    Thoughts?
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  2. #2
    We All Live in a Yellow BRZ The359's Avatar
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    I think cars with torque converters fall under automatic.

    Dual-clutch cars or other various cars that have a clutch but electronically controlled I tend to refer to as semi-automatic.

    But you're right, there is a huge difference in the paddle shift capability of a Chevy Malibu and the paddle shifters in a Nissan GT-R.
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  3. #3
    Director Freude am Fahren's Avatar
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    "Manual" is a stick shift, end of story on that side, as far as I'm concerned. I don't think you can buy a car less than 10 years old that has manual only automated transmission (like early sequentials, or race cars), that point is kinda moot.

    "Automatic" is a bit blurrier. I've seen journalists refer to PDK, DSG, etc. as auto's. I don't mind it on second reference, but if something says off the bat, a car has an "automatic" I assume torque converter (and planetary gears?).

    For those, I like Semi-Automatic, or in most cases, "dual-clutch" will be appropriate. I dno't think there are many single clutch semi-auto's out there.

  4. #4
    Bad Taste novicius's Avatar
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    I prefer using the Common Man's definition: "D" for Drive = Automatic, period.

    GM/Ford's new 10-speed slushbox is going to be used in the "track ready" 2017 Camaro ZL1. Will be interesting to see if it can take the heat.

    Quote Originally Posted by GM Media
    Additional highlights:

    • Creative packaging – The 10-speed is approximately the same size as the six- and eight-speed transmissions, minimizing changes to vehicle interfaces.


    • Quicker shifts than a dual-clutch transmission – Testing has shown faster upshift times than the Porsche PDK dual-clutch transmission. In fact, the 1-2 upshift is 36-percent quicker than the PDK, while the 2-3 and 3-4 upshifts are 27-percent and 26-percent quicker, respectively.


    • Reduced spin losses – Thanks to only two non-applied clutches – the same number as the eight-speed – as well as other design features, the 10-speed automatic has lower friction that contributes to greater fuel efficiency over GM’s six- and eight-speed automatics. New ultra-low viscosity transmission fluid also reduces friction, while an internal thermal bypass allows the transmission to warm up faster – attributes that enhance fuel efficiency.


    • GM-developed controller – It is the latest transmission to use an all-new, GM-developed control system, with performance calibrations tailored specifically for different vehicles.

  5. #5
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    More gears and less slipping should result in a dramatic reduction of heat.

  6. #6
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    Let me have a go.

    A manual gearbox is one where there is:

    (1) A full mechanical and physical link (i.e. no non-mechanical/physical link can exist in the middle) at every stage between the gearstick and the gearbox; AND
    (2) The user needs to physically and manually operate a clutch with a biting point in order to change gears.

    Now it's 4:17am and I need to leave the office, so you guys have fun poking holes in this one.

  7. #7
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    #2 I find interesting.

    In my head, I feel that "manual" is one where I need to change the gears, and "automatic" is one where I don't. So, a PDK is an automatic because if I don't, it will. But a 727 with a manual valve body is a manual because I must. A Saab Sensonic is a manual gearbox with an automatic clutch, but it's still a manual because it can't change the gears by itself. Personally, I don't care how it works or what's going on - if I gotta move a lever to get another gear it's a manual, if I don't it's an automatic. You know, because one is manually done, the other automatically done. The clutch, clutches, torque converter, hydraulics, gears, chain or band is just a technicality... the gear changes are the defining characteristic.

  8. #8
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    But in a normal PRND you still need to move the lever to get into another gear.

  9. #9
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    To me if it has a clutch then it's a stick. I've driven an automated manual in a few trucks, not really a fan, but in a car I won't pass judgement until I drive one.

  10. #10
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    But there are automatic cars with an automated clutch. Hence why I insisted on (2) above. #lawyerpowah

    https://www.yourmechanic.com/article...-have-a-clutch

    That's why I think it's easier to try and define a manual gearbox as I did above. Everything else is "not a manual gearbox".

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