Maruti was the first to bring the AMT or the automated manual transmission to our shores. The carmaker has now equipped one of its most crucial models, the Dzire compact sedan, with an AMT gearbox. The Dzire AMT marks a number of firsts for the carmaker. It’s the first Maruti sedan and diesel model to come with an AMT gearbox, with the existing AMT-equipped line-up featuring hatchback petrol models such as the Celerio, WagonR and the Alto K10.
Power is derived from the familiar 1,248cc diesel engine. It delivers 74bhp and 19.37kgm of torque, similar to its manual gearbox-equipped car. The AMT gearbox in the Dzire diesel is the same five-speed unit that is found across other models in the line-up. Currently, the model has only one direct rival in our market, Tata’s Zest compact sedan, which also gets the diesel-AMT option. It gets a similar engine too, but with a bump in power to 89bhp.
The shift-pattern is as seen on other AMT-equipped Maruti models. Press the start button and the engine settles into its familiar rhythm. The diesel engine here is infamous for its turbo lag but the good thing is, in this configuration, the car takes off a bit quicker – an advantage while driving through crowded city roads. This Dzire AMT, however, is a bit slower, with 60kph coming up in 5.40sec from standstill as opposed to the 5.18sec on the manual car. When driven normally in the automatic mode, the gearbox upshifts smoothly at around 2,200rpm and the pause characteristic of most AMT ’boxes isn’t as bad. The shifts also appear to be smoother and the speed with which the gears engage manually when you push on the lever seems to be quicker as well.
The Dzire, when driven hard, can hold the gear to as high as 4,500rpm. What’s different is, in manual, it holds the gear all the way to 5,200rpm. However, in a similar scenario, the Zest upshifts on its own at around 4,200rpm. Unlike the Zest, the Dzire diesel AMT does not come with a Sport mode. What’s nice is that the car uses the engine’s powerband smoothly. Maruti is constantly improving its AMT technology as it equips more models with this gearbox, and on this car, you can tell.
When you want an instant change of pace, put your foot down hard and the Dzire drops gears quickly, but power is interrupted for a bit, which can leave you stranded while overtaking.
The AMT gearbox is available only on the top-spec ZDi trim that comes with all the features present on the manual version. Priced at Rs 8.39 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Dzire AMT is considerably more expensive than the manual model. But considering the added convenience, it does seem worth it.