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VW Passat first to feature new emission-reducing gearbox

VW MQ281 manual gearbox

Volkswagen has developed a new manual gearbox that promises a CO2 reduction of up to 5g/km.

The MQ281 will debut in the new Passat, which is available to order now, and will feature across the Group’s range of mainstream models.

“Nobody took much notice of manual gearboxes until now,” claimed the company, in a statement. Supposedly referring to the boom in development of dual-clutch automatics, such as its own DSG units.

“However, only slight modifications were sufficient to improve efficiency and consumption with a huge impact on emissions and the environment,” VW continued.

The new transmission was developed to cope with the higher demands placed on it from SUVs with larger-diameter wheels. A growing trend, according to VW.

“With the MQ281, we have developed a highly efficient manual gearbox that reliably meets these demands – and is soon to be introduced into a number of vehicle classes in the volume segment,” said Helmut Göbbels, head of manual gearbox and four-wheel drive development at Volkswagen.

Depending on application, the gearbox can deliver savings of up to 5g/km of CO2, a crucial reduction to help combat rising company car tax rates.

The MQ281 has a torque spectrum of 200 to 340Nm, which means it is likely to feature across the VW Group’s line-up of 1.0 TSI, 1.5 TSI and some 2.0 TDI units.

Development of the new gearbox focused primarily on improving efficiency. It requires less oil than previous VW manual gearboxes and creates less internal friction overall.

New materials help suppress unwanted noise and vibration.

It also enables higher speed driving at lower RPMs, improving refinement and fuel consumption. VW says the new ratio setup “guarantees good driving off performance, even for heavy vehicles with large wheels”.

As is the case with many Volkswagen gearboxes, the MQ281 is produced in-house. Ramp-up is currently underway in the factories in Spain and Argentina.

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