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The modern usage of the term manumatic is an automatic transmission that allows the driver control to select a specific gear, typically using paddle-shifters or "+" and "-" controls on the gear selector.
In the 1950s, the Automotive Products company in the United Kingdom produced an automated clutch system for automobiles called the "Manumatic". This system was installed in cars with a manual transmission, allowing them to be driven without needing to use a clutch pedal.
Since the popularization of the hydraulic automatic transmission in the 1940s, many automatic transmissions have allowed indirect control of the gear selection, usually in the form of locking out higher gears. This was provided to allow engine braking on downhills or prevent the use of overdrive gears when towing, and was typically achieved using positions such as "3", "2" and "1" on the gear selector.
An automatic transmission with a manumatic function provides a greater level of control, by allowing the driver to request an upshift or downshift at a specific time. This is usually achieved using "+" and "-" positions on the gear selector or with paddle-shifters mounted beside of the steering wheel. Manufacturers use a variety of tradenames for the manumatic function, as listed below.
The driver often does not have full control of the gear selection, as most manumatic modes will deny a gear change request that would result in the engine stalling (from too few RPM) or over-revving. Some transmissions will hold the requested gear indefinitely, while others will return to automatic gear selection after a period of time.
- Alfa Romeo: Sportronic, Q-System, Q-Tronic
- Alpina: Switchtronic
- Aston Martin: Touchtronic
- BMW: Steptronic
- Chevrolet / Saturn: TAPshift
- Chrysler / Dodge / Jeep / Ram: AutoStick
- Ford (Australia): Sequential Sports Shift
- Ford (USA): SelectShift
- Holden: Active Select
- Honda / Acura: S-matic, MultiMatic, SportShift
- Hyundai: Shiftronic, HIVEC H-Matic
- Infiniti: Manual Shift Mode
- Jaguar: Bosch Mechatronic
- Kia: Sportmatic
- Lancia: Comfortronic
- Land Rover: CommandShift
- Lexus: E-Shift
- Lincoln: SelectShift
- Mazda: ActiveMatic, SportMatic (North America)
- Mercedes-Benz: TouchShift, G Tronic
- MG-Rover: Steptronic
- Mitsubishi: INVECS, INVECS II, INVECS III, Sportronic, Tiptronic, Allshift
- Nissan: Xtronic (also used in "Xtronic CVT"), DualMatic M-ATx
- Opel / Vauxhall: ActiveSelect, Tiptronic
- Peugeot: Tiptronic
- Pontiac: TACshift (Touch Activated Control), TAPshift (Touch Activated Power), Driver Shift Control (DSC)
- Proton: PROTRONIC
- Subaru: Sportshift
- Toyota: ECT
- UD Trucks: ESCOT
- Volkswagen / Audi / SEAT / Porsche: Tiptronic
- Volvo Cars: Geartronic
Tiptronic is a registered trademark, owned by German carmaker Porsche, who license it for use by other manufacturers, such as Land Rover and the full Volkswagen Group (Audi, SEAT, Škoda, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche Volkswagen and Mitsubishi).
Many people use the term "Tiptronic" to refer generically to any type of torque converter automatic transmission that incorporates a manual upshift/downshift feature.
A Tiptronic transmission can operate in the same manner as a conventional type of automatic transmission, but also offers the driver an additional method of manually overriding the automatic shift changes. By moving the shift lever into a second operating plane of the shift gate, equipped with two spring-loaded positions: "upshift" and "downshift", the driver takes over most of the gear shifting decisions, which would ordinarily be performed by the transmission's computer. For example, this allows delayed upshifts for increased acceleration, increased engine braking, gear holding in curves, downshifting before passing, or early upshifting for cruising. On some models, the upshift and downshift operations can also be controlled by push-buttons or "paddle-shifters" installed on the steering wheel, with an optional display in the instrument panel indicating the current gear selection. Since adding Tiptronic to an automated manual transmission involves an additional shift gate into the computer and update to the transmission software, it is inexpensive and lightweight to implement. Although Tiptronic transmissions allow the driver a certain measure of discrete control, the Tiptronic design is implemented using a torque converter like other automatic transmissions. A true Tiptronic transmission is not a computer-controlled automated manual transmission (with a conventional clutch), or even a semi-automatic transmission. Most Tiptronic implementations still make some shifts automatically, primarily to protect the engine and transmission. For example, as used by licensee Audi, the five-speed Tiptronic will automatically make the upshift from 1 to 2 when moving off from a stop, even when in manual mode; the transmission then waits for the user's upshift command before proceeding from 2 to 3, 3 to 4 and 4 to 5, although the transmission will still upshift if the redline is approached. On deceleration, the transmission will make all downshifts automatically when close to the tick-over or idle speed, to prevent the engine from stalling at too-low an RPM, although the user can accelerate any downshift that would not exceed the redline.
Most luxury vehicles with a Tiptronic transmission have two fully automatic modes: the primary mode, identified as "Drive", "Comfort" or similar; and another, usually called "Sport," which delays upshifts higher up the engine rev range (and will also downshift higher up the rev range) for a sportier driving and enhanced engine braking — at the expense of fuel, wear, comfort, and noise. Furthermore, because modern Tiptronic-type transmissions use an electronic control unit (ECU), sometimes specifically referred to as the transmission control unit, the transmissions are able to adapt to the user's driving style through "fuzzy logic". Shift points are tailored to the habits of the driver, through an evolutionary process.
The "Tiptronic S" is an upgrade to the original Tiptronic, with the ability to adapt to driver's behaviour, and also allows driver to change gears without entering manual mode. In manual mode, if there is no driver input for a period of eight seconds, the system reverts to automatic mode. It was used as early as 2000 in the Porsche Boxster. In the Porsche Cayenne, the Tiptronic S was upgraded to six-speed.
1950s automated clutch system
The Automotive Products Manumatic and Newtondrive systems are also known as "two-pedal transmissions". They relieve the driver of the need for skill in operating clutch and engine speed in conjunction with the gear change. At one time, Manumatic solely referred to an older type of "clutchless" semi-automatic transmission with an automatic clutch system, but today, the term "manumatic" generally just refers to standard torque converter automatic transmissions, with the ability to override the transmission computer, and select gears "manually," via the electronics.
A clutch servo powered by the vacuum at the induction manifold operated the automatic clutch - a conventional clutch incorporating centrifugal operation. A switch in the gear lever operated a solenoid valve so that when the gear lever moved, the clutch was disengaged. A control unit made throttle adjustments to keep the engine speed matched to the driven clutch plate and also varied the speed of clutch operation appropriate to road speed.
The Newtondrive system differed in making a provision for choke control and a cable linkage from the clutch operating mechanism to the throttle.
The systems could be fitted to smaller cars such as the Ford Anglia.
- "Porsche Technical Highlights". Carpages.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-07-31.
- "Tiptronic S details". Porsche.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-06. Retrieved 2011-07-31.
- "2000 PORSCHE BOXSTER". Auto123.com. 2000-01-15. Retrieved 2011-07-31.
- "MotorBar Road Test: Porsche Cayenne S". Motorbar.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-07-31.
- Staton Abbey (ed) Practical Automobile Engineering Clutch Systems p 193-194