Cartoq Sources: Mahindra Quanto compact SUV with AMT to be sold in two variants

Snapshot: Mahindra & Mahindra recently unveiled a new variant of the Quanto compact SUV. The new variant is equipped with an automated manual transmission, popularly known as AMT. CarToq’s sources have revealed that the Quanto equipped with the AMT will be sold in not one but two variants. In addition to offering the AMT in a lower variant of the Quanto that will serve as a price warrior, the AMT technology will also be available on a higher variant that will do duty as a top end model on the compact SUV’s range.

Mahindra Quanto Compact SUV equipped with a semi-automatic (AMT) gearbox
Mahindra Quanto Compact SUV equipped with a semi-automatic (AMT) gearbox

CarToq sources also indicate that the Quanto equipped with the AMT is likely to get an economy mode that schedules gear shifts for maximum fuel efficiency. The Quanto weighs a not-so-inconsiderable 1.6 tons. The rear wheel drive layout and a body-on-ladder frame means that fuel efficiency isn’t the strongest suit of the compact SUV. Adding a semi-automatic gearbox will increase weight further, denting the fuel efficiency of the Quanto. It is here that the “Economy” mode on the AMT gearbox will step in and boost fuel efficiency, thereby making the Quanto a more attractive buy. 

The automated manual transmission technology refers to a semi-automatic gearbox. For a simpler understanding on what an AMT is all about, think of an automated manual transmission as a gearbox whose clutch function has been automated. This means that the driver doesn’t have to operate a clutch manually, but will have to shift gears just like she would on any manual gearbox equipped car. By equipping the AMT with an electronic control unit, automakers have also been able to fully automate the gearbox, meaning that the AMT can function like an automatic gearbox with the gear shifting also done automatically.

Have 3 minutes to spare? We’ve lined up an exclusive CarToq video to lucidly explain how an automated manual gearbox works. 

To sum it up, the AMT offers the best of both worlds at a lower weight,  lower price point and a lower level of complexity. The lower level of complexity and weight is achieved by eliminating a torque converter/constant variable transmission (CVT) mechanisms, both of which are significantly more complicated and heavier than an AMT gearbox, which is basically a manual gearbox with an automatic clutch and an additional ECU for automatic gear shifting. The lower price point is achieved as the elimination of complicated mechanical bits results in a lower cost for the semi-automatic gearbox.

The semi-automatic gearbox of the compact SUV has been developed by English engineering company Ricardo. For long, Ricardo has been supplying engine, transmission and other vehicle technologies to a host of original equipment manufacturers (OEM) in India. The Quanto equipped with the AMT will begin selling in the Indian car market in the second half of this year. An August 2014 launch seems to be on the cards for now. The 1.5 liter, twin turbo charger equipped triple cylinder diesel engine (98.6 Bhp-240 Nm) of the current Quanto will be carried over in the AMT model as well.