The Celerio with the AMT gearbox has been Maruti Suzuki’s most celebrated launch this year. The inclusion of an automated manual transmission has made the Celerio a driver friendly vehicle, especially for stop and go traffic in the cities. However, the biggest drawback for the Celerio was the absence of a top-end ZXi variant with AMT gearbox. Considering the kind of premium appeal automatics enjoy in the country, an AMT gearbox variant just cannot justify the absence of certain essential features like airbags and a loaded audio system.
The Celerio AMT ZXi trim will get an audio system with radio, CD, USB, AUX-in and Bluetooth, 4 speakers, keyless entry; audio controls on steering wheel, front airbags, rear window wiper and washer all currently available on the Celerio manual top-end ZXi variant. With the additional set of features, Maruti is likely to price the AMT ZXi trim at a premium of Rs. 40,000/- over the VXi model. The Celerio AMT ZXi could be priced around Rs. 4.70 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi) when launched.
The popularity of the AMT variants is such that the Celerio commands a waiting period of six months. Currently the AMT gearbox is manufactured in Italy, sourced from Magneti Marelli and is one of the reasons for the extensive waiting period. Maruti also plans to launch the AMT gearbox on other models like the Wagon R and the Alto K10. Both the models come with the same 1.0-litre K-Series engine powering the Celerio. The 1.0-litre engine produces 68 PS of power and 90 Nm of torque and achieves a claimed fuel efficiency of 23.1 km/l on both the manual and AMT transmissions.
The Celerio has been a major success for Maruti, clocking in 35,100 bookings of the hatchback in just two months after launch. Out of the total bookings, 17,200 bookings are for the AMT variant of the car. The car also comes with a 5-speed manual gearbox, but it is the sheer convenience involved with driving an automatic that makes the AMT such a big hit in India. Other manufacturers too have been taking notes from Maruti and are on the verge of introducing an AMT gearbox on their products. Tata Motors will be the first to bring an AMT with a diesel heart on the Zest compact sedan.