What is a 6-speed & 5- Speed Manual Transmission?

What is 6 Speed Transmission?

In the automotive world, 6-speed refers to a transmission with 6 forward gears. The most common 6-speed transmissions are traditional manual units where the driver actuates a clutch with her foot while shifting through the gears. In more recent times, 6-speed automatic and sequential-manual transmissions have worked themselves onto passenger cars as well.

Six-speed manual transmissions started to emerge in high-performance vehicles in the early 1990s, such as the 1990 BMW 850i and the 1992 Ferrari 456. The first 6-speed manual transmission was introduced in the 1967 Alfa Romeo 33 Straddle.

The three-shaft transmission is also very compact (length 345 mm) and light (dry weight 46 kg) and incorporates several special features for particularly pleasant gear shifting. An integrated magnet on the gearshift shaft is detected by a Hall sensor. The idle position is identified in this way, making the start/stop function possible. The signal for the reverse gear activates the reversing lights.

The large spread of 6.7 allows a reduction in engine speed while at the same time ensuring that sufficient tractive power is available when moving off with a fully laden A-Class and trailer up to a gross weight of 3.4 tons. The clutch is operated hydraulically and the gears are actuated via cables.

The overhead camshaft with third and fourth gears and the reverse gear do not run in the oil bath. This reduces drag torque, thus facilitating gear shifting at low temperatures in particular.

The three-cone synchronization of the first two gears serves the same purpose, while the following gears are provided with two-cone synchronization. The weight-optimized cast aluminum shift forks are installed on anti-friction bearings on the shift rods, to reduce the shift forces.

6-Speed Manual Transmissions

The transmission has six forward gears and one reverse gear. All the gears on the main shaft, except the reverse, have synchromesh engagement.

Traditionally, six-speed manual units have been reserved for high-performance cars. These transmissions feature closer gear ratios than a five-speed manual unit, allowing the driver to stay within the engine’s ideal rpm range.

Also, the sixth forward gear allows highway cruising without making the engine work so hard. The Mazda RX-8 is one of many such cars that use a six-speed manual. In more recent times, even some mainstream cars such as the 2011 Ford Fusion have offered six-speed manual units.

6-Speed Automatic Transmissions

Several years ago, automakers began adding extra gears to their automatic transmissions to maintain power and fuel economy throughout the rpm range. Traditional automatic transmissions differ from manual units in that they use a torque converter rather than a clutch in switching between gears. One such six-speed automatic unit, made by ZF, is found in the 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

6-Speed Sequential Manual Transmissions

The third type of six-speed unit blends traditional automatic and manual transmissions in that it uses either a single or dual clutch when shifting between gears but does not require the driver to use the third pedal.

These sequential manual transmissions are usually shifted via paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel in addition to having the capability to operate in fully automatic mode. They are ubiquitous on luxury cars and making their way into more mainstream cars as well.

What is 5 Speed Transmission?

The fixed and free gears can be mounted on either the input or output shaft or both. For example, a five-speed transmission might have the first-to-second selectors on the countershaft, but the third-to-fourth selector and the fifth selector on the main shaft.

This means that when the vehicle is stopped and idling in neutral with the clutch engaged and the input shaft spinning, the third-, fourth-, and fifth-gear pairs do not rotate.

The manual transmission is synchronized in all forward gears for smooth operation. It has a lockout so you cannot shift directly from Fifth to Reverse. When shifting up or down, make sure you push the clutch pedal down all the way, shift to the next gear, and let the pedal up gradually.

5-Speed Manual Transmission

Up until the late 1970s, most transmissions had three or four forward gear ratios, although five-speed manual transmissions were occasionally used in sports cars such as the 1966 Ferrari 166 Inter and the 1953 Alfa Romeo 1900 Super Sprint. Five-speed transmissions became widespread during the 1980s, as did the use of synchromesh on all forward gears.

5-speed automatic transmission

A 5-speed shiftable automatic transmission provides the ease of use offered by an automatic transmission coupled with the sportiness and increased fuel economy offered by a manual transmission.


A shiftable automatic transmission is mechanically an automatic transmission with an electronic override system that allows for driver shift control.


Shiftable automatic transmissions do not have a clutch in the sense of a manual transmission. Instead, they use a torque converter to transfer engine power into forwarding motion through the wheels.


Most shiftable automatics are regular automatics with electronic override. Some shiftable automatics are based on the principles of a manual transmission, using wet clutches that are controlled electronically.


A shiftable automatic allows the performance of an automatic transmission to be improved. Depending on driving style, the driver can change shift points to provide better fuel economy or better performance.

Expert Insight

Shiftable automatic transmissions are very reliable. With most vehicles offering this feature, it will not cost any extra to have a 5-speed shiftable automatic on your next vehicle.

What is the difference between a 5-speed and 6-speed manual transmission?

If you’re searching for differences between 5 and 6-speed manual transmissions, you probably have some experience driving stick.

5 speed and 6-speed manual transmission

For one, you shift more when driving a 6-speed. The gears on a 6-speed car are a bit more nuanced than a 5-speed. I’ve noticed that I tend to shift out of first (and second) much quicker in the 6-speed car.

From my own experience, and from what I’ve been able to glean on various car forums, another difference between a 5-speed and a 6-speed car is when you’re cruising. If you’re on the open highway, chances are you’ll make your way up to 65 mph or more. This is where your sixth gear comes in handy. It’s essentially an overdrive that allows the car to operate at lower RPMs and save fuel.

Those are the two biggest differences between 5 and 6-speed manual transmissions.


What Does A 6-Speed Transmission Mean?

If a vehicle has a six-speed transmission, it means it has six forward gears. A six-speed typically means a manual transmission that has six gears, but both automatic and manual vehicles can have six-speed transmissions.

What Is The Advantage Of A 6-Speed Transmission?

A brief overview of the benefits of a 6-speed manual transmission, includes advantages like a massive increase in acceleration, more power when you need it regardless of road speed, quieter and more relaxed highway cruising, reduced engine wear, and vastly improved fuel economy.

Is A 6-Speed Transmission Better Than A 4 Speed?

The 6-speed typically will have tighter gears(quicker time through the gears) and the other has longer gears. More gears, however, allow for a higher top speed when heated properly, and possibly better gas mileage in the right application. But keep in mind that more gears mean more weight.

What Does 5-Speed Transmission Mean?

The transmission has five fully synchronized forward speeds. The gear shift pattern is provided on the transmission lever knob. The backup lights turn on when shifted into the reverse gear.

Is A 5-Speed Automatic Transmission Good?

The 5-speed automatic reliably keeps the action going in every driving condition. It provides smooth takeoffs and shifts. And with a 5th gear for highway driving, you can have quiet and efficient performance at highway speeds.

Is A 5 Speed Or 6-Speed Better?

The main difference between a five-speed and six-speed transmission is how they handle overdrive. On the highway where it’s reasonable to drive at speeds around 65 miles per hour, overdrive gears help save fuel. The engine doesn’t need to work as hard to maintain speed. That extra sixth gear is even more efficient.