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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am just about to close the deal on my first Volvo. In test drives I have found the engine braking provided by manually shifting the automatic transmission to be less than I would have expected from a 300+ hp engine. Coming from an Audi A6 3.2 Avant where using the paddles held the speed down on hills I was hoping for the same in the Volvo. Do others here try to keep speed in check by manually shifting on down hills? I didn't try this in Dynamic mode on my test drive, would that have made a difference? I also wondered if the Polestar optimization may improve the engine braking due to the enhanced "off-throttle response", but the term is a little ambiguous. Any first hand experience others have to share would be welcome.
 

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Funny you noticed that too. I test drove a MY2019 V60 R-design w/ Polestar and sports suspension for over an hour (by myself) and experimented myself with the paddle shifters as I do with my Subaru Legacy and my Elantra Coupe. Boy, was I disappointed! Watching the tach and speedo I saw (and felt) little to no engine braking using the paddle shifters. It was then I understood why reviewers I have watched on YTube said the paddle shifters are useless. I don't know the mechanical reasons why engine braking was not obvious, but as a manual trans driver for 40 years downshifting was the last allusion I had of of shifting up and down through the gears. I like just about everything about the new V60 R, except the lack of manual gearbox, and lack of the sensation of downshifting with the AT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Funny you noticed that too. I test drove a MY2019 V60 R-design w/ Polestar and sports suspension for over an hour (by myself) and experimented myself with the paddle shifters as I do with my Subaru Legacy and my Elantra Coupe. Boy, was I disappointed! Watching the tach and speedo I saw (and felt) little to no engine braking using the paddle shifters. It was then I understood why reviewers I have watched on YTube said the paddle shifters are useless. I don't know the mechanical reasons why engine braking was not obvious, but as a manual trans driver for 40 years downshifting was the last allusion I had of of shifting up and down through the gears. I like just about everything about the new V60 R, except the lack of manual gearbox, and lack of the sensation of downshifting with the AT.
Makes you wonder what the point of even having the ability to manually shift the AT is in the vehicle.
 

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I'm guessing the point is because it costs very little to include in the car, its good for marketing "sporty" and its a feature all competitors have, so they need to include it. But you know its just a momentary switch that politely requests the trans computer to change gear. I'm a manual trans lover, but if I am driving an automatic paddles are just fun to play with for a few minutes, then you go back to auto mode. Sport modes are usually too aggressive to drive around in constantly, though not so much in the Volvo. In a Maserati I rented once, sport mode was the only way to open up the exhaust (which sounded amazing!), but yet it locked out top gear which was annoying on the highway.

Re: engine braking I came from a 4-spd automatic, now with the 8-spd my impression is you have to downshift a few ratios to get some noticeable engine braking where clicking the "O/D off" button in the Lexus going from 4th to 3rd was enough.

I found I enjoy the "Eco-coast" feature in Eco mode, which disconnects the trans and eliminates the engine braking under some conditions for greater efficiency. You have to be careful about following distance to the cars in front to take advantage of it, but its a fun game and does appear to increase the MPG.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
My desire for engine braking stems from winter driving where I want to keep the speed in check without having to touch the brakes. I have a steep driveways where there is not a lot of room to scrub speed before the street.
 

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Is there anyone who can explain the mechanical reasons why we don't sense engine braking with the 8 speed AT? Or did the above posting explain it all, the close ratio of multi-speed AT these days to improve the mpg rating the reason? My Subaru paddle shifter will allow two gear down and up shifts as quickly as you can press the paddle or move the shifter handle in manual mode. I am guessing since Subaru endorses downshifting in the owners manual this is not an issue for Subaru. But on the other hand, Subaru uses CVT transmissions, not true gear type such as Volvo uses in their 8 speed A/T. Any 'wrenches' out there with comments and/or expertise would be great to hear from.
 

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I think alot of it has to do with the internal displacement/design of the engine. In these new cars today that are built for fuel efficiency we use extremely thin oils (Mazda 3’s now use 0-20 W) which reduce friction to reduce fuel consumption; similarly moment of inertia of the internals for a 2.0L engine is significantly less than that of a 3.2. Stepping off the gas in say, oh, an old 4.0L Wrangler is going to yield a much higher rate of friction and inertial resistance from the rotation of the cylinders compared to a new 1.3L 4-pot. There’s just not enough mass holding the car back for it to really be of any use.

Just my $0.02…
 

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Is there anyone who can explain the mechanical reasons why we don't sense engine braking with the 8 speed AT? Or did the above posting explain it all, the close ratio of multi-speed AT these days to improve the mpg rating the reason? My Subaru paddle shifter will allow two gear down and up shifts as quickly as you can press the paddle or move the shifter handle in manual mode. I am guessing since Subaru endorses downshifting in the owners manual this is not an issue for Subaru. But on the other hand, Subaru uses CVT transmissions, not true gear type such as Volvo uses in their 8 speed A/T. Any 'wrenches' out there with comments and/or expertise would be great to hear from.
Asked and answered your own question. CVT doesn't have gears. It's all simulation.

Also, how about bumping the gears (in S60) down a few? I never notice any difference between say 8 and 6, but go down a bit more and the engine starts breaking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
No one seems to have picked up on the question of the Polestar optimization for off-throttle response. Can anyone explain what that actually translates to?
 

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8 Speed AT, long gear ratio and small engine displacement results in a worse engine braking.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engine_braking

A 3.2 Audi with semi long gear ratio and f.e. 6 Speed AT I'll always have more engine braking, then a 2.0 Volvo with long gear ratio and 8 Speed AT.
Engine braking with the 2.0 needs low gears and high revs.
This is a general disadvantage of new modern and small engines, especially on mountain roads. That's why I like the T8 in B mode, where the electric motor is used to recover electric energy out of the kinetic energy, feels like a big blocks engine braking.
 

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Automatic transmissions are complex devices with typically planetary gearsets and many "routes" through the transmission. There is also a torque converter, and at least a lockup clutch, and there are various ways to set it up and program it. For example is this one programmed to release the lockup clutch off throttle? In all gears? There is a bunch of other factors. Answers to question we are probably not going to find any time soon.

So its probably just trial and error and knowing that the way one trans behaves is not going to be comparable to another car.

No one seems to have picked up on the question of the Polestar optimization for off-throttle response. Can anyone explain what that actually translates to?
Again, we don't have any insight to that. My guess is they are referring to the behavior of the haldex AWD, perhaps not releasing immediately on off throttle, but its just a guess. Could be some changes in the trans programming, they definitely claim that shift speed is improved.
 

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I am just about to close the deal on my first Volvo. In test drives I have found the engine braking provided by manually shifting the automatic transmission to be less than I would have expected from a 300+ hp engine. Coming from an Audi A6 3.2 Avant where using the paddles held the speed down on hills I was hoping for the same in the Volvo. Do others here try to keep speed in check by manually shifting on down hills? I didn't try this in Dynamic mode on my test drive, would that have made a difference? I also wondered if the Polestar optimization may improve the engine braking due to the enhanced "off-throttle response", but the term is a little ambiguous. Any first hand experience others have to share would be welcome.
Yes, the dynamic mode does a good job of managing that, especially w/ the P* flash. My commute includes a few steep hills, so i'm usually putting it in Dynamic/Polestar mode before I get there.
 

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In ECO and comfort modes, there is little or no engine breaking. The transmission is set up to allow free coasting to increase gas mileage. In dynamic or P* modes, the engine is kept in lower gears and always engaged.
There is only so much a tiny 2L engine can do to reduce speed with a heavy car like the V60.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk
 

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In ECO and comfort modes, there is little or no engine breaking. The transmission is set up to allow free coasting to increase gas mileage. In dynamic or P* modes, the engine is kept in lower gears and always engaged.
There is only so much a tiny 2L engine can do to reduce speed with a heavy car like the V60.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk
Yes, there is "Eco-coasting"/trans-disengagement in Eco mode by design, to increase fuel economy. I don't believe the Comfort mode has full trans. disengagement, but rather lazier downshift programmed-in.

The 2.0L has enough compression to engine brake the car down steep grades given the proper gearing/RPM's - as witnessed via Dynamic mode.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yes, the dynamic mode does a good job of managing that, especially w/ the P* flash. My commute includes a few steep hills, so i'm usually putting it in Dynamic/Polestar mode before I get there.
I took the car for another test drive today and the vehicle without P* doesn't demonstrate much engine braking in dynamic with the manual in 1st. Are you saying that with P* optimization you are seeing noticable engine braking downhill?
 
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