What Is a Multitronic Transmission?

A multitronic transmission in a car combines certain aspects of a manual transmission with the convenience of an automatic transmission. It is a type of continuously variable transmission (CVT), which provides more power with an increased fuel economy. Car manufacturer Audi developed the multitronic transmission with a link-type chain, and it was manufactured by Luk.

Audi's multitronic transmission avoids a torque converter by utilizing two oil-cooled multidisc clutches, one for reverse and one for drive. The ratio between the input and output shafts can continuously vary with a CVT. A CVT replaces gears with two pulleys. When the diameters of these pulleys change, the transmission's ratio changes, similar to a 10-speed bicycle. CVTs vary engine power to output maximum power but also maximum fuel efficiency. With this technology, Audi claims that fuel consumption can be lower than with a manual transmission. The multitronic transmission was first introduced to the European market in October 1999 and in the U.S. market in 2002. Before Audi's introduction of the multitronic transmission, CVTs were usually limited to cars with only three or four cylinders. Other models to have CVTs include the Subaru Justy and Honda Civic HX of the late '80s and early '90s.