Altis doesn't actually give better acceleration in the manual mode. It is just there to provide you greater transmission control. And lets you maintain a certain gear ratio as long as you don't red line it, in response to which it will automatically shift to the next ratio. Or vice versa if you slow down too much while in a higher ratio.
This S mode and this shifter is the identical copy of the Honda City 2004-2008 CVT transmissions. It just keeps the engine revving higher so it responds more quickly to the gas push. Better engine braking will also be there because again, higher engine revvs.
As speculated, 1.5T civics will just have a manual mode like the city steermatic used to have. Upon activation, it used to put the car in an electronically simulated 7 Speed mode, controlled by the shifters on the steering wheel.
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