Volkswagen has developed a new generation manual gearbox; the MQ281 saves up to five grams of CO2 per kilometer depending on the engine-gearbox combination. The new Passat is the first vehicle to be equipped with the MQ281, followed by almost all vehicle classes of the brands Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA and Volkswagen.
MQ281 manual transmission
Only slight modifications were sufficient to improve efficiency and consumption. Although they function unobtrusively, manual gearboxes have a significant share of the gearbox market worldwide due to a high installation rate.
The trend towards vehicles from the SUV segment with large-diameter wheels places high demands on the gearbox.
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.k—Helmut Göbbels, Head of Manual Gearbox and Four-Wheel Drive Development at Volkswagen
The MQ281 has a torque spectrum of 200 to 340 N·m, which means it completely or partially supersedes the current Volkswagen gearbox designs with the internal designations MQ250 and MQ350 respectively.
The MQ281 is based on a 2.5 shaft concept and boasts a high gear spread of maximum 7.89. On the one hand, this guarantees good driving off performance—even for heavy vehicles with large wheels—and facilitates, on the other hand, downspeeding, which is (fuel-saving) driving in high gears with low engine speed.
Development of the new gearbox focused primarily on improving efficiency.
Here we employed virtual development methods. This enabled us to design a completely new oil conduction system. Using a variety of oil conduction measures, we are able to achieve a uniform and optimum lubrication of gear wheels and bearings, reducing the amount of lifetime oil required to just 1.5 liters.—Helmut Göbbels
To further reduce friction, a bearing concept adapted to the gearbox was developed. The design used friction-minimized bearings with low-contact seals.
Material use and its distribution for the gearbox housing was also optimized. With the aid of a further virtual development tool, a strength-optimized housing structure could be designed. The new housing supports the noise requirements of today (avoidance of undesired secondary noises) and therefore ensures improved driving comfort through less audible and noticeable vibrations in the vehicle.
As is the case with many Volkswagen gearboxes, the MQ281 is produced in-house. SEAT Componentes, together with Martorell and Barcelona, one of the three production centers for the Spanish brand and simultaneously part of the production portfolio for Group Components, has started production of the new MQ281 gearbox. Up to 450,000 units can be built per year.
Re-sorting gearbox production goes hand-in-hand with the production start of the new MQ281. While the new six-speed gearbox is being produced in El Prat de Llobregat and Córdoba (Argentina), the MQ200 manual gearbox has been primarily relocated to ŠKODA Components in Mlada Boleslav (Czech Republic). At the same time, the component plant in Kassel is concentrating on the production of the dual clutch gearbox DSG, and above all on the production of the electric drive for future vehicles built on the MEB platform.
SEAT Componentes is a key plant for our company and, with the assignment of this project, for the Volkswagen Group as well. With these new gearboxes, we can increase maximum production to up to 3,500 units per day and use the facility as a reference center for efficiency, productivity and quality.—Dr Christian Vollmer, SEAT Vice President of Production and Logistics