The Tata Zest compact sedan will be launched in India next month and the car will offer a much talked about segment leading feature in the form of the automated manual transmission on the diesel powered variant. However, the AMT option will not be available on the petrol powered Zest, and here’s why.
The diesel engines Zest uses a 1.3 liter-4 cylinder Fiat Multijet turbo diesel engine. The 5 speed gearbox is also sourced from Fiat. Notably, Fiat sells the Grande Punto hatchback with the same engine-gearbox combination with an automated manual transmission in many countries around the world.
Therefore, adapting the Magneti Marelli (an auto parts maker owned by the Fiat group) developed for the 1.3 liter Multijet turbo diesel engine is a straight forward affair and this is exactly what Tata Motors has done with the Zest, by using a ready made package.
In case of the petrol powered Zest though, which uses Tata Motors’ newly developed REVOTRON 1.2 liter turbo petrol engine, the gearbox used is a TA65 cable shift unit, one that Tata Motors has been using on its 1.2 liter naturally aspirated petrol and the 1.4 liter turbo diesel engines for many years.
Naturally, Tata Motors will have additional work to do before the 5 speed, TA65 manual gearbox will be able to work with an ECU controlled automatic clutch, which is the essence of the AMT. In the future though, Tata Motors may offer the AMT option on the petrol powered Zest but the automaker isn’t confirming anything just yet.
As things stand today, the Zest will be sold with a 1.2 liter turbo petrol engine with multiple drive modes and a manual 5 speed gearbox, and a 1.3 liter turbo diesel engine with two gearbox options, a 5 speed manual and a 5 speed AMT that adds a sport mode into the equation.
Since the Zest Diesel Automatic will be a one-of-its-kind product in the compact sedan segment of India, the variamt could turn out to be a decent sales spinner for the Tata Motors badge if priced competitively. Prices and variant details of the Zest will be available at the time of the car’s launch next month.