News broke that Lexus is working on a fake manual transmission for future electric vehicles. Instead of using an actual transmission, Lexus’s system is designed to simply simulate the manual driving experience. Honda’s already gone on record saying it has no interest in such a system, and plenty of commenters expressed skepticism, but at least you can understand why some enthusiasts would appreciate pretending to shift gears while driving. But a fake automatic? That’s a hard one to understand.
Australia’s CarExpert reports that Hyundai is currently developing a feature for the upcoming Ioniq 5 N that replicates the feel of a dual-clutch transmission. It’ll apparently provide a jolt and some vibration when the motor “shifts” and play sounds that simulate an engine revving. As N sub-brand head Albert Biermann put it:
The idea is to come pretty close to the feel and sound of the DCT in the i30 N hatch. This is what we want to deliver, complete with the same some jolt and downshift vibrations you experience in our ICE N cars. Sound-wise, though, it’s very challenging, especially those pops and crackles you get in the i30 N, but we’re still working on this technology to bring the DCT in-car experience of a combustion engine car to similar emotional levels in our Ioniq 5 N EV. That’s the target.
So it sounds like some combination of what Borla’s done with its fake exhaust for the Mustang Mach E and some tuning that makes it feel like the car is shifting. You’ll also be able to choose different sound profiles or create your own. Again from Biermann:
When we started building an Ioniq EV concept, four or five years ago at our Namyang R&D center, we were just using internal speakers and they weren’t enough, just okay, so we added external speakers and then started simulating shift vibrations and forces you would associate with the DCT in an i30 N. But now, in the Ioniq 5 N, this development is at the stage of fine-tuning, but we’re certainly not done yet, we’re still adding things like the rev limiter and the various sound characters you can choose between.
That’s all well and good, and Biermann does have a long track record of creating some incredibly fun-to-drive cars, but still. Faking an automatic (Yeah, technically, a dual-clutch transmission is different than a traditional automatic. But let’s not get nitpicky here. It’s a transmission you don’t have to shift yourself.) just seems incredibly unnecessary. And early reviews of the Kia EV6 GT suggest the Ioniq 5 N will be plenty of fun to drive on its own.
The good news is, if you don’t want to feel fake shifts while driving the Ioniq 5 N, Biermann said you can turn the feature off. Thank God.