Autotronic the first continuously variable automatic transmission by Mercedes
Mercedes-Benz is introducing a new era in transmission technology with the AUTOTRONIC automatic transmission. This operates on the principle of a continuously variable transmission, in which the ratios are changed by means of a variator pulley and a steel thrust belt. As a result the A-Class accelerates with no interruption of tractive power, and the engine reaches its maximum performance more quickly than with a conventional automatic transmission. The continuously variable AUTOTRONIC transmission also ensures a high level of ride and noise comfort.
AUTOTRONIC allows the driver to choose between two transmission programs. In the Comfort program the transmission keeps the engine speed at the lowest possible level, so that the A-Class accelerates more gently and consumes less fuel. In the Sport program AUTOTRONIC automatically recognises the individual driving style and adapts the shift strategy accordingly. A manual mode is also available in which the automatic transmission divides the ratio range into seven virtual stages. The driver shifts the gears up or down by briefly nudging the shift lever. The complete AUTOTRONIC unit has a length of only 330 millimetres, making it the world’s most compact continuously variable transmission.
Like AUTOTRONIC, the standard six-speed manual transmission of the A 180 CDI, A 200 CDI and A 200 TURBO is a new development. This unit is of compact aluminium construction and is particularly precise in operation. The tried-and-tested five-speed manual transmission is standard equipment for the other engine variants of the new A-Class. Mercedes engineers have made detailed improvements and configured this unit to suit the new engines.