General discussion

Six speed manual transmissions

I have driven manuals for years, most lately five speed.

I have no idea how that 6th gear fits into the mix, so I'm asking. Is it a "cruising" one for after #5, or is it used as a "step" between lower gears?


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It's a gear after fifth. More than likely it is a less than 1 to 1 ratio, perhaps fifth is also less than 1 to 1.

Find the gear ratios in the transmission and find the ratios for each gear.

Just "slam the gears" and "mash the gas", 1 through 6. Wink

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You'll generally only see it....

...on higher end cars, sportscars, etc. Basically it's for cruising above most speed limits. Wink

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To expand a bit .

If she has a Porsche Boxster S and 911, Dodge Viper. Devil

Like this

Many cars are available today with six-speeds, including the Mazda Miata, Porsche Boxster S and 911, Dodge Viper, Mercedes-Benz SLK350, Honda S2000, BMW 3-Series and many others. Some of these gearboxes provide radical 50-percent (0.50:1) sixth-gear overdrives such as in the Viper and Corvette, while others provide tightly spaced gear ratios like in the S2000 and Miata for spirited backroad performance driving. While the bigger cars mentioned above such as the Viper and Vette often have two overdrive ratios (fifth and sixth) the smaller cars like the Celica and S2000 usually have one overdriven gear ratio (sixth) and fifth is 1:1.

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You can find six and seven speed automatics now too

Check out the Mercedes GLK. It's an SUV but a nice one and not expensive for a Mercedes.

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Gas saver

The 6th is an "overdrive" ratio gearing. Its meant to save on gas and provide less strain on the engine. The offering before like your 5th gear trans was similar, it's just that now they're really getting the most they can out of manual trans.. -----Willy Happy

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The primary reason we have 6 speed manual transmissions... to allow a driver who learns how to properly use them to match the gear to the vehicle speed, road conditions (ice, snow) and to keep the transmission in a gear that is low enough for adequate power delivery and yet high enough to allow the engine to run at a low enough speed (measured in RPMs) to get the best possible fuel mileage in each gear.

The more gears in a transmission, the less time an engine must spend at higher RPM levels; since an internal combustion engine's fuel efficiency decreases as engine speed increases, it's always best to find that engine speed at which fuel consumption is lowest. This optimum engine speed varies from engine to engine as well as with the speed of the vehicle itself.

In low traction conditions such as snow and/or ice, a driver will want to keep the car in a lower gear to take advantage of engine braking rather than using the regular brakes. The more gears a transmission has, the easier it is for a driver to find the proper balance between controlability and economy.

In most of these transmissions, sixth (and maybe fifth) gear is an overdrive gear designed to keep engine speed as low as possible when on the open road.

Try these references: (this link talks about automatic transmissions, but as an automatic transmission car is not as fuel efficient as a comparable manual transmission one, it's no surprise that the automakers are going to six, seven and even eight speed automatics, as the mechanical and fuel economy advantages of such transmissions are possibly even more pronounced for automatics than they are for manuals.)

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