Impressive New Six-Speed Transmission Heading to 2012 GM Cars

As I mentioned in my earlier Quick Drive report, the eAssist mild hybrid system performs well in the 2012 Buick LaCrosse, but to me the greater impression from that test drive was how well the next-generation six-speed-automatic transmission behaved. There's hope for GM yet.

The LaCrosse is the first model to integrate the second generation of GM Powertrain's GF6, the global front-wheel-drive six-speed automatic transmission. I've complained about hesitancy among GM automatics for years, including everything from the early Saturn Outlook (since retired) and current Cadillac CTS to the new Chevrolet Cruze. The kickdown delay on the Cruze is the single major blight on an otherwise excellent model.

In the LaCrosse with eAssist, the transmission downshifted much more quickly when I jabbed the accelerator, allowing the car to surge ahead. How automakers and drivers alike allowed high gear counts to distract from this basic requirement is baffling. Equally baffling is that GM fell prey to it. Transmission hunting and indecision isn't limited to GM, but it's even more surprising from a supplier with GM Powertrain's experience.

More than a decade ago, GM's pushrod V-6 engine and four-speed automatic transmission — frequently derided as obsolete — were my go-to example of supposedly inferior technology that outperformed the flashy new stuff. Hit the pedal, and those things moved. Not so for many cars with the “advanced” hardware of the time: The 2000 Lincoln LS, with its double-overhead-cam V-8 and balky five-speed transmission, is just one example that stands out.



I experienced deja vu in that last paragraph. :)

But good for GM!


I've heard about revolutionary GM technology for years. And all we've got so far is steering wheel that comes off.


Glad to hear that GM has finally found a way to control its 6 speed. That should help with the driving experiences of many of its volume models, including the Malibu, Cruze, and Equinox.

Now all they need to do is find a way to get some weight out of all of their cars, especially that Cruze and Equinox.


The '5' speed automatic of the Lincoln LS was in actuality a 3 speed automatic + an overdrive in the same case.
1st, then 1st+overdrive [for 2nd], then shift both simultaneously to get 3rd [which was 2nd of the 3 speed], 4th [which was 3rd of the 3 speed-1:1], then overdrive on 4th-to get 5th.
So if the transmission was in 4th, and you wanted maximum speed, the 4->2 downshift was a convoluted affair. The overdrive has to engage to speed up the output shaft, while the 3 speed automatic has to shift from its 3rd [1:1] to its 1st [for maximum reduction].

The Jaguar got an upgrade to the ZF 6 speed automatic for the 2003 model year, while the LS ran out the clock '03-'06 with the same [crappy] transmission. Ford minimally tweaked the overdrive ratio and 1st gear to space out the overly close 1st/2nd gear better]

Newer isn't better, better is better.


What's new about it??


I Love the 4 speed and pushrod V6s. Performance wise they were very good for the numbers. But not so economical for the power.

All four speeds lack, the problem is the motor torque curve makes dead spots with only two gears before the 1 to 1 ratio of third then over drive. The end of first or the begining of second is dead which is the normal driving needs on the street.

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.

Southwest Transmissions

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