Automobiles Technology

Civic Type R - Engineer Talk 05

"We aimed to develop a manual transmission easy for anyone to operate"

Transmission Performance Engineer Akira Nakamura

Transmission Performance Engineer
Akira Nakamura

We prepared a manual transmission model, with its outstanding freedom in operation, for the new Type R.

With manual transmission, gear lever, clutch pedal and accelerator operations require accuracy, which pose as a hurdle to novice drivers. To allow consistently smooth and quick gear changes, we considered a rev match control system, which automatically matches engine revs during gear changes.

We also gave the gear shift and clutch a solid feel, and carefully designed the placement of the gear lever so that it naturally sits under the driver’s left hand.

“Every Type R has had a manual transmission model. We kept this tradition going with the new Type R.” Akira Nakamura, in charge of transmission development, explained the attraction of the manual transmission.

“Manual transmission gives the driver much more freedom over an automatic car. In other words, the driver has more control over how the car moves. This is why a manual transmission is so attractive.”

Nakamura admits, however, the manual transmission has its drawbacks.

“The driver has more freedom, but has more work to do, so generally speaking driving a manual is more difficult. The driver has to not only press down the clutch and change the gear, but also control the engine revs at the same time. For experienced drivers this is the fun of driving a manual car, but for novices, or someone considering learning how to drive, this may make the car difficult to drive properly.”

The solution was Honda’s first rev match control system.

“By pressing the clutch pedal and operating the gear lever, engine revs are automatically controlled. This frees the driver from matching revs, and realizes consistently smooth and quick gear changes.”

Rev Match Control System

The development of the system, however, had many obstacles to overcome.

“Ten people drive in ten different ways, and everyone has their own driving habits. It wasn’t easy accommodating to everyone’s habits. Some drivers would shift down from 5th to 2nd and over-rev the engine, while others would stall the engine because they change gears while the engine revs are too low. To give hints to such drivers, we came up with ideas such as the rev match control system would not operate if, for example, it determined the driver would over-rev the engine, so as to make it difficult to shift gears.”

The ideas also included the gearbox itself.

“Gear shifts are the most important part of enjoying a manual car, so we naturally improved the gear shift and clutch feel. The most important aspect was a solid feel. The gear lever plays a large role in the driver determining the seat position, so we carefully considered its placement, just where the driver’s left hand would naturally rest.”

Transmission Performance Engineer Akira Nakamura

Civic Type R - Enginner Talk