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FOR RELEASE: 2006-07-25

New Six-Speed Automatic Transmission For V8 Commodores

Five new or upgraded transmissions for 2006 Commodore range

General Motors’ flagship electronically controlled six-speed automatic transmission will be offered in all V8 variants of the all-new VE Commodore range.

The acclaimed 6L80E transmission will be available for the first time in a car manufactured outside North America and is the first six-speed transmission offered on a locally produced Holden.

The new transmission headlines a range of three automatics and two manuals in which every version has been replaced, upgraded or substantially recalibrated for the 2006 models.

Holden’s ultra-reliable six-speed manual V8 transmission has undergone significant revisions to sharpen shift quality and smoothness.

GM Holden Engineering Group Manager - Engines and Transmissions, Simon Cassin, said Holden’s 2006 transmission lineup was responding directly to customer demand on performance, response and feel.

“We think we’ve got the VE powertrain mix absolutely right. Our research continues to show that the majority of our buyers still place performance above everything else,” Mr Cassin said.

“We have lifted all power and torque outputs, further improved and refined our transmissions and introduced the six speed automatic – a transmission that is the domain of GM’s ultra-premium products.

“We have boosted launch feel, reduced engine noise and made gear shifting easier and sharper.

“It’s all well and good to make strong improvements to your engines, but they have to be mated to refined, high-performance transmissions to get the mix absolutely right.”

Holden will offer the 6L80E in all V8 variants of Holden’s Berlina, SS, SS V, Calais and Calais V models, also providing gearshift-based Active Select flexibility for the driver.

Until now, the six-speed auto had been available only in high-performance Cadillacs and GM’s iconic Chevrolet Corvette. It will also be included on selected high level 2007 model year SUVs in North America.

The 6L80E will be offered alongside a substantially upgraded version of the proven Tremec T56 six-speed manual matched to the all-alloy 6.0L V8 powertrain.

Holden’s 3.6L V6 Alloytec engines will be mated to GM’s five-speed and four-speed automatic transmissions or six-speed manual transmission from Aisin, depending on model.

All have received significant improvements and extensive calibration work by GM powertrain engineers to balance each transmission’s performance with buyer expectations.

Mr Cassin said the new 6L80E improved performance while providing a seamless shift feel to the customer.

He said the transmission assisted lower engine revs at highway speeds, reducing engine wear and noise and increasing economy. A wide gear ratio spread of 6:1 offered an excellent balance between performance and fuel conservation needs.

“We have undertaken a significant upgrade to our trusted T56 six-speed manual transmission for the V8s, introducing closer ratios and continuing to improve the feel between gates,” he said.

“We now have triple-synchronised capacity for first and second gears and double-synchronised for other gears, making shifts faster and smoother.

“We have matched this with a clutch engagement which has less peak effort, engages earlier and travels less. It’s a compelling combination with the six-litre V8, which also has a home in the Chevrolet Corvette.”

Cassin said GM’s five-speed and four-speed automatics and Aisin six-speed manual were appropriate applications for the various V6 models in the VE range.

“As with the V8s, we spent a lot of time determining which transmissions best suited the need of the general customer,” he said.

“We have made some important changes, such as the recent introduction of a direct input speed sensor on the four-speed automatic which continues to improve shift feel and smoothness.

“The five-speed transmission has had a fantastic response since its introduction in 2004 and required only minor changes. It is a well-balanced combination with the High Output Alloytec V6.”


(NEW) 6L80E six-speed automatic. Available on Berlina, SS, SS V, Calais and Calais V combined with 270kW peak power 6.0L V8. Manufactured by GM in Ypsilanti, Michigan, United States.

  • First application on a vehicle manufactured outside North America and first six-speed automatic for Holden locally produced vehicles
  • Introduced on Cadillac models and Chevrolet Corvette
  • Active Select feature – tap control on gear shifter replacing steering wheel paddles
  • Clutch-to-clutch shifting
  • Wide 6:1 gear ratio spread; steep 4.03:1 first gear for improved launch and acceleration
  • Two overdrive gears for reduced revs at highway speed – 0.85:1 in fifth and 0.67:1 in sixth
  • Rigid aluminium case for low noise transfer to the vehicle and high torque capacity.
  • Performance mode detects sporty driving and holds gears rather than allowing upshifts
  • 32-bit electro-hydraulic control module

T56 – six-speed manual. Standard on SS and SS V combined with 270kW peak power 6.0L V8. Manufactured by Tremec in Queretaro, Mexico.

  • Shorter gear ratios – three to eight per cent overall
  • Improved launch feel, better acceleration and overtaking performance
  • Increased synchroniser capacity in all gears reduces shift effort and allows faster shifts
    • 1, 2 triple synchronised compared with VZ double synchronised
    • 3, 4, 5, 6 double synchronised versus VZ single synchronised
  • All-new fully isolated remote shifter reduces noise and allows less vibration
  • Eight per cent shorter shift travel
  • Clutch pedal travel reduced 25mm to 140mm, lightening clutch effort

5L40E five-speed automatic. Available on SV6, Calais and Calais V combined with 195kW peak power 3.6L V6. Manufactured by GM in Strasbourg, France.

  • Active Select feature – tap control on gear shifter replacing steering wheel paddles
  • Performance mode detects sporty driving and holds gears rather than allowing upshifts
  • Powertrain braking recognises long downgrades and selects a lower gear

AY6 – six-speed manual. Standard on SV6 combined with 195kW peak power 3.6L V6. Manufactured by Aisin in Nagoya, Japan.

  • New isolated shift assembly reduces transmission noise in the cabin and improves comfort
  • Thirteen per cent reduction in gear lever length
  • Less clutch pedal travel, lower engagement and lower peak effort
  • An over-centre assist spring reduces clutch effort and provides a sportier feel.

4L60E four-speed automatic. Available on Omega and Berlina combined with 180kW peak power 3.6L V6. Manufactured by GM in Toledo, Ohio, United States.

  • Extensive recalibration
  • Direct input speed sensor improving shift feel and smoothness
  • Improved launch feel

Rear differentials

  • All-new ZF differential with aluminium casing
  • 8.3-inch crown wheel standard, up from 8.0-inch (V8) and 7.5-inch (V6)
  • Upgrade limited slip differential with multi-plate clutch system – standard on SS and SS V, optional on other models with sports suspension
  • Double-isolated rear differential reduces axle whine

Power and torque figures as per ECE regulations

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