I've been hearing a lot about Audi's Multitronic system lately. It's a continuously variable transmission which uses a thick link chain instead of a rubber belt, which means the Multitronic can withstand much more torque than traditional CVTs.
I've also been hearing that CVTs in general are disorienting to drive, since the engine can maintain a constant RPM at all speeds. There's no rise-and-fall of pitch from the engine--it just whines an incessant monotone. The primary audio
cue for speed is absent, which makes it hard to sense how fast you're going.
For this reason, Audi apparently added artificial shift points to their Multitronic transmissions, so that the engine varies its RPM (and thus pitch)
in a basically familiar way. This seems really wacky, since it presumably reduces the efficiency of the transmission. I'd like to find out more about this, but so far I've only found one article that mentions the artificial shift points.
Does anybody know more about this?