How Does a Tiptronic Transmission Work?

A Tiptronic transmission is an automatic transmission that can be controlled like a manual transmission. In a standard automatic transmission, a computer selects which gear the car should operate in, but a Tiptronic transmission gives this control to the driver. The name “Tiptronic” was created by Porsche, who made the first such transmission, but it also can refer to similar transmission systems from other manufacturers.

Knowing that automatic versions of their cars have been desired on the marketplace, the German sports car builder wanted to invoke that these typically lazier transmissions could at least provoke the feeling of performance. First used included on the 1990 Porsche 911, the principles of their manual-shifting automatic gearboxes have been mirrored by BMW Steptronic and Chrysler’s Auto/Stick

The purpose of the Tiptronic transmission system is to give the driver more control of the car’s performance and approximate the feel of a manual transmission while keeping the car as easy to drive as an automatic. Car makers had attempted to design a manual transmission that performed like an automatic, but the Tiptronic approach was more successful.

Tiptronic transmission systems often feature special settings, such as a performance setting in which the automatic transmission shifts gear at higher RPMs to simulate the feeling of a sports car. Many major manufacturers use a Tiptronic transmission or a similar system in some of their models

When the Tiptonic system is not engaged, the transmission operates like a conventional automatic with the computer electronically selecting the shifts through gears. Control of a Tiptronic gearbox will rely on either an additional gate within the gear shift lever or through steering wheel-mounted selectors in the form of buttons or paddles (similar to the control layout in race cars). Marked with “+” for upshifting or “-” for downshifting, a instrument panel display will indicate the current gear the vehicle is running. Once engaging the manual shifting through shifting into the additional shift gate or by simply pressing a shift selector, driver overrides the computer’s transitioning between gears, instructing the transmission’s torque converter directly. This manual shifting mode will immediate involve to driver but will provide benefits such as engine braking during downshifts. Safeguards prevent possible engine damage by overseeing that the engine isn’t hit the RPM red line during the manual shifting. Also, after a certain period of inactivity through the Tiptronic’s manual shifting, the transmission’s software will resume shifting control.

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