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  • avatar morin2 01/08/13 7:35 pm PST

    Congrats on the new A4. Great car.

    I agree with Mr. Shiftright. The very worst thing you can do is to try to maximize fuel economy by driving under 2000 rpms. I don't think you gain anything in fuel economy and lugging the engine can be harmful over time. It totally defeats the purpose and advantage of your manual trans. There are enough auto trans cars out there that shift too low.

    Rather than say yes to either 2500 or 3000 for upshifts, I'd say that you will soon learn what "feels right" and also how situations call for different upshift points. I try to routinely upshift at about 2800 min to 3000 on flat ground in my manual suzuki sx-4, but stretch out the shift for more power going uphill. I never shift into 6 going uphill. When climbing hills, I prefer the better power that comes with increased rpms in lower gears. And I greatly exceed the EPA fuel economy ratings.

    I think if you avoid jack-rabbit starts and excessive braking that comes with tailgating and failing to anticipate stops, that your fuel economy will be fine. I'm amazed every day by people who shoot past me only to get to a red light a few seconds sooner. Accelerating right to the red light and then standing on the brakes is a great way to waste fuel and prematurely wear out the brakes.

Answers

  • MrShift@Edmunds 01/08/13 12:05 pm PST

    I don't think that actual testing bears out your premise that smooth shifting and slow acceleration are necessary for decent fuel mileage.


    Where people waste fuel with manual transmissions is when they exceed efficient RPM ranges for no good reason.

    In most cases, I think that a mid-throttle action (gas pedal 1/2 way down) up to around 3500 rpm is sufficient for both fuel economy and a reasonable amount of fun.

    Your tachometer is your friend here. I don't pussy foot my MINI Cooper S at all, but in most city or inter-urban driving I don't hold the gas much beyond 3500---only on freeway on ramps or for passing, do I exceed this. then I often run right up to around 5500---beyond that it can get expensive and really makes no sense unless you are racing.

    Having a 6 speed, sometimes I will rev smartly in 1st and 2nd, then short-shift to 4th. I'd rather have fun in 1 or 2 gears than pussy foot in all 4 or 6.

    Also, I never EVER "lug" the engine (e.g. driving in 5th at 2000 rpm). In fact, I try never to drop below 2000 rpm in any gear except 1st. .


  • morin2 01/08/13 7:35 pm PST

    Congrats on the new A4. Great car.

    I agree with Mr. Shiftright. The very worst thing you can do is to try to maximize fuel economy by driving under 2000 rpms. I don't think you gain anything in fuel economy and lugging the engine can be harmful over time. It totally defeats the purpose and advantage of your manual trans. There are enough auto trans cars out there that shift too low.

    Rather than say yes to either 2500 or 3000 for upshifts, I'd say that you will soon learn what "feels right" and also how situations call for different upshift points. I try to routinely upshift at about 2800 min to 3000 on flat ground in my manual suzuki sx-4, but stretch out the shift for more power going uphill. I never shift into 6 going uphill. When climbing hills, I prefer the better power that comes with increased rpms in lower gears. And I greatly exceed the EPA fuel economy ratings.

    I think if you avoid jack-rabbit starts and excessive braking that comes with tailgating and failing to anticipate stops, that your fuel economy will be fine. I'm amazed every day by people who shoot past me only to get to a red light a few seconds sooner. Accelerating right to the red light and then standing on the brakes is a great way to waste fuel and prematurely wear out the brakes.

  • jie2 01/08/13 9:45 pm PST

    Thank you Mr. Shiftright and Morin2 for your quick response. Helpful indeed. I have not driven a manual transmission for 20 years; this will be a short learning curve with the new Audi. In the end, I will have to find the optimum shift point myself since every brand car is somewhat different. However, by talking to a few others who know how to drive manual transmission, I noticed there seems to be more variations in how to slow down the car than how to accelerate. Any advices?

  • MrShift@Edmunds 01/09/13 11:16 am PST

    Yes I have some advice about slowing down.


    "Don't choose any gear unless you are going to use it for something other than stopping".

    In other words, don't downshift as a braking tool when all you are doing is heading for a red light---that's what brakes are for.

    Transmissions are very expensive brakes, so braking with a transmission has to be done mindfully---that is, for a reason. Merely jamming a car into lower gears in order to stop it is wasteful and purposeless.

    Downshifting is quite handy for a) passing b) navigating twisty roads c) turning left or right from a faster road into a slower one.

    Of course, if you are in 4th or 5th gear and you're coming off a freeway ramp, you'd choose a lower gear IF you will be continuing on the access road at a lower speed; but if you're coming off the freeway merely to a red light, you can just let off the gas and place the gearshift into neutral as the car slows down.

  • jie2 01/09/13 1:25 pm PST

    Thank you Mr. Shiftright. I agree with you 100%; in fact, this is the way I usually slow down. I have a naive (may be even stupid) question...I always clutch in to shift to neutral to an anticipated stop (as you suggested too), can you directly shift to neutral from any gear without (foot) clutching in? I have never tried this. The second part of this question may sound simple. I always clutch in and shift, simultaneously. Some suggest a slight delay in shifting. I don't see the need. Thanks ahead for further advices.

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