Snapshot: The automated manual transmission (AMT) revolution has hit the Indian car market in a big way what with the launch of the big-volume Maruti Suzuki Celerio hatchback. The semi-automatic gearbox technology, used primarily in the heavy commercial vehicle (HCV) gearbox, will soon be available on a range of cars spanning across auto brands in India. Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Mahindra and Volkswagen are readying up cars equipped with the AMT. CarToq rounds up six new cars that will be equipped with semi-automatic gearboxes in the near future.
The Tata Zest will be the first affordable diesel powered car with an automated manual transmission/semi-automatic gearbox. The car was showcased in the run up to the Auto Expo and the AMT equipped Zest Diesel will be on Indian roads in the next few months. The Zest Diesel is powered by a 1.3 liter Multijet turbo diesel engine likely to be sold with the 90 Bhp-200 Nm state of tune. The AMT is a 5 speed unit developed by Magneti Marelli. The Zest Diesel AMT will have driver switchable power and economy modes.
The Quanto compact SUV hasn’t been great shakes for Mahindra at the hustings. The first minor refresh for the Quanto came earlier this year in the form of “Magic Seats”. The next big update involves the automated manual transmission. As detailed by CarToq’s scoop, the Quanto AMT was indeed showcased at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo. The Quanto’s AMT mechanism is sourced from UK based engineering major Ricardo. Like the Zest, the Quanto’s AMT is likely to get an economy mode button. The Quanto will retain its 1.5 liter twin turbo diesel engine (100 Bhp-240 Nm) and a rear wheel drive layout.
Like the Zest, the recently unveiled Bolt hatchback will also play host to variants equipped with the AMT. However, the AMT on the Bolt is likely to be restricted to the REVOTRON turbo petrol engined variant. The 1.2 liter turbo petrol engine of the Bolt is a new unit developed by Tata Motors on the base of the 1.2 liter XETA engine’s cast iron block. This engine outputs 80 Bhp-140 Nm and is tuned for driveability and fuel efficiency. By adding an AMT into this mix, Tata Motors will seek to make the Bolt a class leading B+ segment car.
Tata Motors’ showcased an AMT gearbox equipped Nano at the Auto Expo. The AMT equipped hatchback also featured a 24 liter petrol tank, an electric power steering and an open-able hatch lid. In short, the AMT equipped Nano seeks to be a practical urban runabout that marries convenience, an affordable price tag and frugal running costs. The AMT equipped Nano is expected to be launched next year. With the additional features and facelift looks in tow, expect the car to be priced about 50,000-60,000 rupees higher than the power steering equipped Nano Twist variant.
Volkswagen Polo and Vento
Volkswagen has already equipped its Up! budget hatchback with a semi-automatic gearbox in Europe. Known as the ASG technology in Volkswagenspeak, the semi-automatic gearbox is said to be under consideration for the Volkswagen Polo hatchback and Vento sedan in India. As of now, Volkswagen offers a dual clutch DSG gearbox on both the Polo and Vento equipped with the 1.2 liter TSI turbo petrol engine. Adding the AMT feature to the Polo and Vento will allow Volkswagen to cut costs and perhaps allow the German automaker to equip the diesel powered Polo and Vento variants with the AMT due to the technology’s cost effectiveness.
Other car makers keen on the AMT technology
Maruti Suzuki has just tested waters with the AMT equipped Celerio hatchback. If the Celerio proves to be successful, expect a deluge of AMT equipped cars from India’s largest car maker.
Datsun is another car brand that is open to using the AMT technology for its range of low cost cars. Since AMT technology costs lower than conventional torque converter/CVT automatics, the technology lends itself well for use in Datsun’s low cost cars.
Want to know how the automated manual transmission actually works in the real world? Do check out the video we’ve lined up for you!