Engineering

Cadillac using 3D printing to bring manual transmission to upcoming Blackwing sports cars

The Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing will come standard with a manual transmission.

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

General Motors has been trying out 3D-printed car parts for years. When it comes to the company's new sports sedans, the parts are going from their tryout on the track to the streets of a town near you.

The 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing will come standard with a manual transmission. The transmission is one part of the formula that makes the cars the first General Motors production vehicles with functional 3D parts. This includes two HVAC ducts and an electrical harness bracket. In addition, a unique 3D-printed medallion will sit on the manual shifter knob

2022 Cadillac V-Series Blackwing magnesium wheels The 2022 Cadillac V-Series Blackwing will get limited edition magnesium wheels. Photo courtesy of Cadillac

"A lot of work went into making the manual possible in both vehicles. It's something we know V-Series buyers want and it's something we knew we had to have, so we used innovative processes to make it happen," said Mirza Grebovic, Cadillac performance variant manager. "There are a few ways to really get that connected feel with the vehicle and the manual transmission is probably the most obvious one."

Both the CT4-V Blackwing and the CT5-V Blackwing will come standard with a six-speed manual transmission and offer a 10-speed automatic transmission as an option. The CT4-V Blackwing will be the only sedan in its segment to offer a manual.

The real question isn't regarding the production of the transmission or the parts. It's about how many people will actually want a car with a manual transmission.

A recent Harris Poll study conducted on behalf of Cadillac cousin that 66 percent of adults know how to drive a manual. Other results of the poll that Cadillac made available include that of those who do not know how to drive a manual, roughly 40 percent are either somewhat or very interested in learning. Fifty-five percent of American adults say that they have owned or leased a car with a manual transmission. Interest in driving or learning to drive a manual is higher among those with $75,000 or more in annual household income (64 percent interested) and those between 18-34 in age (62 percent interested).

It doesn't appear to answer how many people like to drive a manual transmission or how many of them would like to drive one on the regular, let alone own one. Cadillac appears to be hoping that at least a few of those are around.

The limited edition 2022 CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing will be available starting summer 2021 with a premium price tag.

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New driver assist technology is coming to the Lexus lineup later this year.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

New Lexus Teammate driver assistance technology will debut on the 2022 Lexus LS 500h later this year. Its availability is constrained to all-wheel drive models.

The technology was developed based on the Mobility Teammate Concept. This automated driving concept is unique to Toyota sough to enhance communication between drivers and cars, "enabling them to reach out to each other for mutual assistance". The concept sees cars and humans interacting and partnering rather than having automation take over for drivers. This approach allows drivers to enjoy the experience of driving but allowing the vehicle to take over some functions of driver's duties at times. In this way, the tech works as both guardian and chauffeur.

2022 Lexus The company's flagship sedan will get the technology first.Photo courtesy of Lexus

2022 Lexus LS 500h

On the 2022 Lexus 500h, Lexus Teammate will offer two functions: Advanced Drive and Advanced Park.

Advanced Drive is design to "accurately detect driving conditions to plan and execute acceleration, braking, and steering commands to maintain the vehicle within the lane, follow other vehicles, change lanes, navigate certain interchanges and traffic jams and overtake slower vehicles." It's a Level 2 functionality that "allows for driving on limited-access highways with partial hands-free, eyes-on-the-road operation".

This description makes it sound a lot like the suite of lane keeping, lane centering, and adaptive cruise control technology that Hyundai offers rather than true Level 3 technology that General Motors's Super Cruise delivers.

Lexus will show operation of the technology on a screen with information displayed like this.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Advanced Park operates similar to how the Genesis GV80's hands-free parking assist technology works. The Lexus tech automatically controls steering, acceleration, braking, and gear changes with parallel parking or backing into a parking space. It uses a combination of 360-degree sensing technologies and a bird's eye view display to perform the task while allowing the driver to monitor progress.

"We are very proud of Lexus Teammate, which is the culmination of five years of close collaboration between our technical centers in Japan and the US. We conducted simultaneous development and rigorous testing in both markets with the goal of achieving industry-leading advanced driver assistance functionality," says Derek Caveney, executive engineer at Toyota Motor North America's Integrated Vehicle Systems team.

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2022 Hyundai Kona N revealed, but the automaker isn't telling all just yet.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai is giving its highest performance Kona the same transmission that you'll find in the Veloster N. For enthusiasts, that's a very good thing.

The compact crossover is more and more being seen as the American successor to the hot hatch. The Mazda CX-30 Turbo recently piqued enthusiasm among true drivers who can't afford supercars and need something more practical to hoon around in.

Now, the Kona N is poised to deliver similar driving dynamics and performance. Hyundai has slowly been leaking out details about the 2022 Hyundai Kona N over the last year and the revelation that it will have an eight-speed wet-type dual-clutch transmission, known as N DCT, is just the latest tidbit to come to light.

2022 Hyundai Kona Hyundai has upgraded its wet DCT mechanics in recent years making it hard-wearing.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

2022 Hyundai Kona

The Kona N DCT is based on a modified version of its in-house-developed 8DCT. It's had enhancements in recent years that have made it more durable and ready to handle the demands of high-performance vehicles. The N DCT will be standard on the Kona.

Hyundai will pair the N DCT with a 276-horsepower, 2.0-liter direct-injected engine that has been tuned especially for the model. The transmission control unit is calibrated for N enthusiasts.

The wet-type DCT is structurally similar to a manual transmission but, instead of the typical dry-type gearbox, it uses two electric oil pumps that are designed to reduce friction between the moving parts, cooling the clutch, and allowing greater torque.

Other features of the N DCT include N Grin Shift, N Power Shift and N Track Sense Shift functionality. These settings have dedicated shift-logic management. N Power Shift engages when the car accelerates with more than 90-percent throttle. N Grin Shift maximizes engine and DCT performance for 20 seconds, providing a boost. N Track Sense optimized adaptive shift for the race track.

The N Grin Control System has five different drive modes: Normal, Eco, Sport, N and Custom. Unlike with a traditional automatic transmission vehicle, in Hyundai vehicles with N DCT, the driver can choose to turn off the creep function. When the creep function is turned "off" and the car is in gear D, the car does not automatically roll forward when the brake pedal is released.

Drivers can switch to manual mode for more control over shift points, utilizing the paddle shifters or gear knob. In manual mode, the downshift memory logic will avoid downshifting during high RPM operation. Memory functionality remembers the command and executes only when the acceptable RPM is reached.

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