How does the transmission compare to the Aisin 6-speed used in the 05-08's? I've never thought it was a paragon of overall smoothness (it feels mechanical, which I am partial to), nor does it shift particularly fast in manual mode (give your 1-2 shift a 500+ RPM buffer, the 2-3 200+ at WOT), but it is very direct feeling, shifts are clean with no perceivable slip, and dare I say it is sporty overall. I drove the 5-speed JATCO from the earlier V6's because they put it in the 6i for 2006, and thought that transmission was noticeably less smooth, and slippery while being clunkier.
Transmission is very smooth. I've only ever driven the Manual 1st generation, so I can't speak on behalf of the auto, but the 3rd gen's trans was smoother than the 2nd, but only minimally. It felt a tad more refined in the 3rd gen.
How was the power compared to the 1st gen 6s? I'm sure above 5k it feels softer, but I figured the new engine would feel as strong or stronger.
Because the power band is located in a different spot than the V6, it's tough to compare. But to compare how each car feels in it's power band, I'd still say the 1st gen pulls you harder. Again though, my test was done with 4 people in the car as opposed to my daily driving with just me. I would like to think that if I were in the 3rd gen alone, I would have less to complain about in the power department.
And with the handling, does the 3rd gen feel smaller? Driving the 2nd vs the 1st made the newer model seem much larger, and given relative wear on suspension components, the 2nd gen was never as buttoned down and ''ready to go''.
The 3rd gen feels even bigger than the 2nd gen, which certainly feels bigger than the 1st gen. That being said, the 3rd gen felt much more "buttoned down" than the 2nd gen, even being a tad larger. It handles very well and was very fluid.
At some point I am going to test drive the new one and really thrash it, I just have to know how the ride-handling trade off compares to my '05 6s with Koni FSD's in hard transitions at speed.
I would have loved to thrash it, but I was literally the first person outside the dude who got it in the showroom to drive this car. You could still smell the fresh oil burning for the first time. I didn't push it nearly as hard as I could have, but just enough to get the "data" I needed to for this review and a good comparison.