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I'm particularly curious to know whether it's the same as the tech now being used by Audi in the A4 and A6, which reportedly is spectacularly good - rickrover mentioned his Audi test drive experience above, and it's easy to find test drive reports on the web which are similarly glowing.
Here's a link to a Popular Mechanics article in which a few scant details of the Audi CVT are mentioned: http://popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars_trucks/2001/12/new_cars_jan_2002/index4.phtml
The relevant excerpt is:
"But the real story is the Multitronic continuously variable transmission. Unsatisfied with the van Doorne-licensed CVTs that have been used in some other cars, Audi has reinvented the CVT. Audi uses a pull-style belt made of hundreds of sheetmetal links, rather than the van Doorne pusher belt. Several innovative technologies in the transmission allow the use of lower hydraulic pressures, making for lower pumping losses and increased fuel economy. With a lower low gear and a higher high gear ratio, the Multitronic gives better acceleration (1.5 seconds quicker from 0 to 60) than a conventional automatic, and better highway economy as well. This gearless automatic of the future is lighter in weight, simpler in construction and smaller in volume than the geared automatic it displaces. Available with the V6 engine, the Multitronic delivers the acceleration time noted above and carries a fuel economy rating of 19 city/25 highway. Audi executives predict the Multitronic will be the transmission of choice as supplies increase."
So what's the "van Doorne licensed CVT" that Audi didn't like? Is the CVT in the Mini Cooper a van Doorne, or more advanced, like the Audi?
Has anyone testdrove both the Audi CVT and the Mini Cooper CVT? That would be the true litmus test: does the Mini CVT feel as smooth and perform as well as the Audi version?
It was only for a Cooper, and not the 'S'.
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