Powershift Dual Clutch Automatic/Manual Transmission

 The 2010 Volvo S60 will feature Powershift dual clutch automated transmission in at least some of the engines in the range.

Volvo/Ford Powershift is a development of Getrag Ford Transmissions GmbH, a 50:50 Ford and Getrag JV.  The new gear box was jointly designed by Ford, Getrag and Volvo. There are currently two versions and Volvo is rumoured to be working on a third heavy duty version for use in upcoming larger engines.

The Powershift box is reported as being fantastic to drive, with incredible levels of smoothness. Shifts are reported to be almost imperceptible. It has all the benefits of an automatic when cruising and stuck in traffic etc but none of the annoying 'kick down' associated with standard automatics. As the current Powershift has been developed for the Volvo/Ford 2.0D with its 320Nm of torque, the transmission  electronics are intelligent enough to make full use of that wide spread of torque to accelerate, without having to sort through the gears looking for more revs. If extra grunt is called for however, the gearbox will drop down to give more urgent acceleration, but again this is very smooth. It doesn’t have the vagueness of a CVT.

In 'manual' mode it is reported to be excellent. A little known and undocumented feature of Volvo autos is “Sport mode” – where you move the shift lever to the manual position without making gear changes – this tells the electronics to implement a sportier shifting pattern, hanging on to each gear longer on the way up and downshifting sooner.

In current cars, average fuel economy of 38, 39 and 40 MPG are reported during normal, day-to-day driving. Cruising at 70 mph on the motorway gives instantaneous economy in the mid 50's.

Like VW’s DSG, there are two versions of the Powershift transmission – one with wet clutches and another with dry clutches. The Powershift unit used by the  Ford Focus 2 litre diesel and Volvo C30, S40, V50 and C70 2.0D at the moment is  the wet clutch version. Generally dry clutch versions like Volkswagen’s 7-speed DSG (the 6-speed used a wet clutch) are more efficient and lighter because an oil bath is not necessary, Ford/Volvo says wet versions have reduced wear and tear and thus last longer. Ford will use its dry clutch version on smaller cars like the Fiesta.

With the current wet clutch version fitted to the small Volvos, a transmission oil change is required at 75,000 miles – but this compares well to the VAG units which need a change at 40,000 miles.