Tag Archives: ZF

Ratios Galore: A Deep Look at ZF’s 9-speed Automatic

By K.C. Colwell

When is enough, enough? When it comes to transmissions, the available ratios from any trans maker are on a steady climb into two-digit territory. Take ZF’s newest for example: the 9HP. It’s a nine-speed transaxle for transverse applications sporting a 9.8 ratio spread (that’s good) and it promises 10-percent better fuel economy when compared to a six-speed slushbox. In a market that goes full frenzy by one-percent here and two-percent there, 10 can’t be ignored.

The trouble with engineering a transmission for a transverse application is packaging. The gearbox, along with the engine, has to fit between the shock towers. According to ZF, which announced it will initially supply the 9HP to the Jeep Cherokee and the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque with more customers to come, the maximum width for such a transmission is about 14.6 inches. It’s no surprise, then, that the 9HP is 14.4 inches wide. With four planetary gear sets and six shifting elements (brakes and clutches) that’s a very dense 14.4 inches.

Of those four planetary gearsets, two of them are nested. In this nested pair, the annulus, or ring gear, of the smaller planetary doubles as the sun gear of the larger set. This arrangement trims some width from the four-gearset tranny.

Simply adding ratios to a transmission might not make it a tool for greater efficiency, however. More ratios require more shifting elements and these add weight, complexity, and drag to the transmission. This is why ZF implemented two dog clutches in the 9HP. The beauty of a dog clutch is there’s little-to-no parasitic loss when they aren’t engaged, whereas a conventional friction clutch zaps some efficiency, and they’re relatively compact.

The tricky part of the canine clutch is how, or rather when, to engage them. Synchromesh helps dog clutches within a manual transmission from grinding away and easing gear changes. ZF relies on computers to anticipate the precise moment both halves of each dog clutch are spinning the exact same speed, and engagement happens without the slightest crunch, as proven by our short sample in an Evoque test mule.



Internal efficiencies aren’t the only source for the claimed fuel-economy improvement, either; the nine ratios play a part, too. Internal-combustion engines are most efficient in a relatively small rpm range and the biggest ratio step is just 1.65, between first and second. Having many small ratio steps in hand allows any engine coupled to a 9HP to operate in that ideal rpm window more of the time.

Oh yeah, one of the best parts of the 9HP: it’s 100 percent American made. Every 9HP installed worldwide will come out of the supplier’s Gray Court, South Carolina, plant, with the exception of the 9HPs Chrysler builds under license (just like the longitudinal 8HP) at its Kokomo, Indiana, transmission plant. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Report: Chrysler delays 2014 Jeep Cherokee media launch

By Brandon Turkus

2014 Jeep Cherokee

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Chrysler is making the unusual move of delaying the first media drives of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, which were slated to start next week in Seattle. And while something like this is a rare occurrence, and one that most of the Autoblog staff can’t recall happening this publicly or so close to the event itself, it won’t effect the actual on-sale date of the new Cherokee, which is set to hit showrooms in September.

“Over the last couple of weeks during final quality and durability testing, we have discovered the opportunity to further improve powertrain calibration,” Chrysler told Automotive News. This marks the second notable delay in the Cherokee’s short life, after production was delayed for roughly a month earlier this summer.

Still, we’d rather Chrysler make sure the Cherokee is ready for primetime before flying media in from around the country. It shows a willingness to get things right the first time, rather than offering media drives and then tweaking the car after the fact.

A simple look at the Cherokee’s powertrain is all that’s needed to understand how big of a deal it is. Everything under the oddly styled CUV’s hood is new, from a tweaked 2.4-liter engine to a new 3.2-liter V-6, to the first use of Chrysler Group’s new nine-speed automatic, developed jointly with ZF. The pressure to get this right must be immense. We’ll find out if Chrysler succeeds in September.

Chrysler delays 2014 Jeep Cherokee media launch originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Jul 2013 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Spy Shots: Jaguar's XFR-S Sportbrake looks to be one hot kinschlepper

By Brandon Turkus

Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake -spy shot - front three-quarter

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This is the Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake, which is too cool for North American sale (the Sportbrake, not the XFR-S sedan, which we’re getting soon). Like the XFR-S four-door, it has a 5.0-liter, supercharged V8 pumping out around 550 horsepower.

Our spy photographer’s x-ray vision is saying that a ZF eight-speed automatic will be the gearbox of choice for the XFR-S wagon, which fits with the sedan, as well. The Sportbrake also has the usual high-performance touches, with huge air intakes in the front fascia, big wheels wrapped in low-profile tires, a dropped suspension and a rear end that’s wearing a diffuser and a pair of meaty, quad exhausts. We’re happy to see that the XFR-S Sedan’s rear spoiler – or some iteration thereof – isn’t here to mangle the Sportbrake’s beautiful shape.

Where the this super-fast hauler will debut remains a question. There’s virtually zero chance of it arriving at an American auto show (although we do endorse that, and any other decision that brings this wagon to our shores), which likely means it’ll be in Europe. The Frankfurt Motor Show and Geneva Motor Show seem like the leading contenders, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Jaguar’s XFR-S Sportbrake looks to be one hot kinschlepper originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Jul 2013 09:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Spy Shots: Land Rover LR4 getting facelift and interior refresh

By Brandon Turkus

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Land Rover is preparing a slight freshening of the its seven-passenger, mid-range LR4 (known outside of North America as the Discovery 4). The LR4/Disco 4 is currently the second oldest model in the Land Rover range, besides the mostly forgotten LR2/Freelander, and while it’s still a competent entry, its age is beginning to show.

This refresh should allow it to soldier on until a replacement can be built, which logic would dictate is to be called LR5/Discovery 5. Until then, the current SUV gets the typical batch of headlight tweaks, along with a freshened front bumper. The side mirrors are new as well.

On the inside, we can also expect a long-awaited upgrade to the infotainment system. Jaguar and Land Rover have both struggled in this regard, so here’s hoping the new system offers an improvement.

The big news for the LR4 will come under its hood. Jaguar Land Rover as a whole has already phased out the excellent but thirsty 5.0-liter V8, with the only holdover being the supercharged variant. That means the V8 LR4 is not long for this world. Look for it to be replaced by the same supercharged, 3.0-liter V6 that’s offered as a base engine in the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. As with the Jaguar XF we tested, ZF’s eight-speed automatic would likely harness the V6’s power.

Expect to see a refreshed LR4, likely before the end of 2013.

Land Rover LR4 getting facelift and interior refresh originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 19 Jul 2013 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Official: 2014 Range Rover Sport drops 800 pounds, adds V6 and third-row

By Jonathon Ramsey

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The last in line is not nearly the least, as evidenced by the 2014 Range Rover Sport, which is being unveiled to what we’re sure will be the delight of New York audiences. The middle child in the Land Rover Range Rover line-up, our initial impression is that, in terms of exterior design, it might have succumbed to the anonymity of middle-child-dom, losing the strength of its character for having to wear a couple of hand-me-downs from its bigger Range Rover sibling and a ton of hand-me-ups from its smaller Evoque sibling.

In front and in back it looks like a larger Evoque, with the Range Rover‘s tapering blade lights and LED day-time running lights. It shall be known by its twin-bar thematic elements such as the two-bar grille, the strakes in the side vents and the two vents on the hood. It’s also got a faster windscreen angle and is more aerodynamic throughout, returning a coefficient of drag of just 0.34 for a vehicle that is 2.5 inches longer than before. The wheelbase has also been stretched by a huge seven inches.

Still, it’s a comprehensive rework. It’s new aluminum structure deletes 800 pounds of heft, and it weighs about 100 pounds less than a similarly equipped Range Rover. As with bigger bro, the Sport gets either the 340-horsepower 3.0-liter supercharged V6 or the 510-horsepower 5.0-liter supercharged V8 that are fitted with stop/start tech. Both run through a ZF eight-speed transmission, and power is put to the ground through a single-speed Torsen differential or an optional two-speed transfer case with low range.

Commanding that increased off-road capability is the Terrain Response 2 system and its new Automatic setting. It has more articulation to play with, the brand new aluminum suspension worth 21.2 degrees of articulation – and the emergency off-road high setting gets higher while the access height goes even lower.

The interior wears more soft-touch materials; features a smaller, thicker steering wheel; more sculpting and padding in the front seats and individual seating for rear occupants. With all that extra space between the wheels, the back-seaters can get inside more easily, and the “Ta da!” feature in the new Sport is a power-operated third row option for “occasional use.”

Prices will begin at $63,495 for the Range Rover Sport SE and its 3.0-liter supercharged V6, then go to $68,495 for the HSE, $79,995 for the Supercharged that puts the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 underhood, and $93,295 for the Autobiography. All of those prices include the $895 destination charge.

Even with all that, we haven’t begun to tell you about its new features, so have a seat and a drink while you enjoy the exhaustive press release below. We’ll have live pictures coming soon from the floor of the New York Auto Show.

Continue reading 2014 Range Rover Sport drops 800 pounds, adds V6 and third-row

2014 Range …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Geneva: Alpina tunes its first crossover, XD3 Bi-Turbo results

By Jonathon Ramsey

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There was no teasing and no build-up, just a “Boom!” and there appeared the Alpina XD3 Bi-Turbo. Said to be in response to customer demand, the XD3 Bi-Turbo uses the twin turbocharged, 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel from the BMW X3 xDrive35d. But where that engine in standard guise gets 313 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque, Alpina ups the specs to 350 hp and 516 lb-ft. The result, through the eight-speed ZF transmission tuned for the application, is a 0-62 mile-per-hour run of 4.9 seconds. For comparison, the 555-hp X5M runs the same sprint in 4.7 seconds, and in the XD3 BiTurbo you still get 34.5 US miles per gallon.

Not that we’ll get it – this one is for European customers only. The other tweaks they’ll see on it are the trademark Alpina bumper, sill and skirt exterior treatment, 20-inch Alpina Classic wheels on Michelin Pilot Super Sports and quad pipes. Underneath are electronically-adjustable dampers and a new exhaust manifold running into a stainless steel exhaust. Inside are Alpina touches like two-tone sport seats and blue-green stitching, and sport steering wheel.

The press release below has the details, the high-res gallery above has the angles on the first-of-its-kind SUV.

Continue reading Alpina tunes its first crossover, XD3 Bi-Turbo results

Alpina tunes its first crossover, XD3 Bi-Turbo results originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 07 Mar 2013 11:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Geneva: Rolls-Royce Wraith revealed, ready to battle Bentley

By John Neff

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Bentley may have rounded out the redesign of its Continental line of cars with the new Flying Spur four-door’s debut at this week’s Geneva Motor Show, but Rolls-Royce has shown up in Switzerland with the Wraith, a GT coupe version of the Ghost sedan that moves the brand one step closer to having an answer for everything that wears a Flying B.

The Wraith’s natural combatant would be Bentley’s Continental GT Coupe, though as all Rollers come in orders of magnitude more expensive than their already costly competitors from Crewe, the new coupe’s €245,000 initial starting price will be $100k USD more than the base price of the most expensive Continental, a GT Speed coupe.

What your CEO bonus money will get you is a 624-bhp V12 engine cranking out 590 pound-feet of torque. The sprint to 60 miles per hour will pass by in 4.4 seconds, with a unique 8-speed ZF automatic transmission snapping off shifts using a new Satellite Aided Transmission technology that works with GPS to pre-select the right gear for not only the road you’re on, but the road you’ll be coming up on ahead.

Rolls-Royce is also pushing the bounds of technology inside the Wraith relying heavily on voice commands, what it calls an ‘on-board valet,’ to input instructions and data into the nav and infotainment systems. For those who prefer more tactile inputs, a Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller accepts inputs via a touchpad that offers pinch-to-zoom and character drawing functionality.

The Wraith wouldn’t be allowed to wear the winged goddess if it didn’t pamper its passengers, and that goal is achieved in typical Rolls fashion with herds of “Phantom-grade” cow-hide, expanses of new Canadel Panellng wood trim, and the first use of the brand’s unique Starlight Headliner fiber optic headliner outside the Phantom range.

We’ll have live images of the Wraith’s debut in Geneva soon, but you can dine on this gallery of fine official images until then and have a servant read you the official press release below.

Continue reading Rolls-Royce Wraith revealed, ready to battle Bentley

Rolls-Royce Wraith revealed, ready to battle Bentley originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 04 Mar 2013 23:14:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Chrysler Announces 2014 Production of Nine-Speed Automatics in Indiana

By John Lamm

Chrysler Announces 2014 Production of Nine-Speed Automatics in Indiana

The nine-speeds are coming, the nine-speeds are coming! Chrysler has finalized its plans to invest a total of $374 million to produce nine-speed automatics in the U.S., under license from ZF. The lines start moving next spring. The company says that the move will create 1250 new jobs at the Pentastar’s closely situated Kokomo and Tipton transmission plants in Indiana, and will make the complex the largest transmission installation in the world. Chrysler Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne also used the announcement to note production has begun in Kokomo of the longitudinal eight-speed automatic for the 2013 Dodge Charger and 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The nine-speed transmission will quickly find its way into the Dodge Dart and the 2014 Jeep ChChrysler Announces 2014 Production of Nine-Speed Automatics in Indianaerokee (photos of the latter were released this week), and is scheduled to appear in “many” C- and D-segment vehicles. We’ve previously reported that ZF touts the gearbox as delivering fuel-efficiency gains of up to 16 percent versus a typical six-speed automatic. That’s due to the high overall gear-ratio spread of 9.84, and further amplified by the small ratio differences between each of the nine gears. This latter trait should help performance, too, as the gearbox is expected to keep the engine in the thick of its powerband, while the torque converter will lock at lower engine speeds.



Want one? Be forewarned that early adopters may suffer from ratio envy: A Ford/GM collaboration and Hyundai are each working on 10-speed units.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Maserati Adds Formerly Deleted Rear Seats and More Power to GranTurismo MC Stradale [2103 Geneva Auto Show]

By Andrew Wendler

2013 Geneva auto show full coverage

It looks like the new Quattroporte is going to have a little company on Maserati’s stand at the Geneva auto show next week. The brand’s new four-door will be forced to share the spotlight of its European debut with the mildly updated 2013 GranTurismo MC Stradale, appearing for the first time in a two-plus-two configuration. The original Stradale deleted the seats in the name of weight savings, and as such, their reintroduction requires no extensive modifications. But that’s not to say that Maserati didn’t take the opportunity to lend the nearly three-year-old model a few improvements.

The new GranTurismo MC Stradale gets a new carbon-fiber hood with a central air intake and a pair of heat extractors, forged 20-inch aluminum wheels, and a cabin stuffed with yet-to-be-specified “new materials and style.” Brembo carbon-ceramic discs reside at all four corners, and the engine gets upgraded to the same 460-hp variation of the 4.7-liter V-8 that debuted in GranTurismo Sport and now is fitted across the GranTurismo model range. Shifting is handled by Maser’s in-house-developed six-speed automated-manual gearbox.



So what does this mean for fans of the Trident here in North America? Well, it’s a good bet the wheels and the hood may find their way into the GranTurismo Sport—the hottest version of the model we get— for the 2014 model year, but don’t count on seeing the carbon-ceramic rotors. Last we spoke with Maserati brass they maintained that the specially tuned ZF transmission continues to be a better choice for the U.S. market than the automated manual. And as far as the 460-hp state of tune, that will remain specific to markets other than ours; the American-market GranTurismo Sport’s 453-hp output will be as much as this country sees from a GranTurismo for the foreseeable future. As to whether or not U.S.-based Maseratisti will ever get their hands on an MC Stradale one day? Well, there are betting men and then there are dreamers. This one’s for the latter.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Official: Land Rover reveals electrified Defender research vehicle

By Jonathon Ramsey

2013 Land Rover Defender Electric Vehicle getting muddy

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Somewhere in the Land Rover corral at the Geneva Motor Show next to that nine-speed ZF 9HP automatic transmission will be seven Land Rover Defender electric research vehicles. The Advanced Engineering Team replaced the diesel in the front of its 110-Series Defender with an electric motor producing 94 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque running through a single-speed transmission, powered by a 300-volt lithium-ion battery with a 27kWh capacity. The resulting specs are a range beyond 50 miles, eight hours of low-speed off-road work and a four-hour recharge using a 7kW quick charger.

The air-cooled testbed can still be run like a traditional Defender and wade through 800 centimeters of water. There are no plans to make any for the public, but Land Rover will be sending the prototypes out into the world for real-world trials later this year while they study electric propulsion. Check out the press release below for more details on the silent explorer.

Continue reading Land Rover reveals electrified Defender research vehicle

Land Rover reveals electrified Defender research vehicle originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 28 Feb 2013 10:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

First Drive: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel

By Jeremy Korzeniewski

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel

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Choose Your Own Adventure… But Choose Wisely

Jeep has got you covered. We can say this without even having to know what it is you want, because there’s hardly an option or configuration that you won’t find in the 2014 Grand Cherokee. There are three different engines, three different four-wheel-drive systems (plus rear-wheel drive), four different trim levels – not counting SRT – two different suspension setups and five different settings for various off-road terrain conditions. If you happen to check the box for Quadra-Lift, you’ll also have five different ride-height settings for the driver-selectable air suspension.

As you might expect with so many customization possibilities, the way a buyer checks the options sheet can have a profound effect on the final product and its capabilities, to say nothing of its price. Nowhere is that more true than with the Grand Cherokee‘s choice of engines, with the brand-new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 stealing the spotlight from the still excellent gasoline-fueled 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and 5.7-liter Hemi V8 powerplants that carry over from last year. No matter which engine you choose, though, it will be paired up with Jeep’s new standard eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF. This, ladies and gentlemen, is very good news indeed.

We took to the ranch lands surrounding Austin, Texas at Jeep’s invitation to put the 2014 Grand Cherokee through its paces, both on road and off. Read on for our initial report card.

Continue reading 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 26 Feb 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Jeep Releases First Official Photos of 2014 Cherokee [2013 New York Auto Show]

By Erik Johnson

2014 Jeep Cherokee

The Jeep Cherokee is back. The sparse release accompanying these images—spat out on the heels of clandestine photos published today by Jalopnik, as well as the rather accurate rendering we published last month—confirms that the Liberty replacement will resurrect the hallowed badge when it debuts in late March. (At least in the U.S.; the Liberty was badged as a Cherokee for other markets.) The name change is something we’ve been discussing as far back as early last summer.

While official details won’t arrive until the New York auto show next month, we have a good idea of what to expect from the 2014 Cherokee. Built at Jeep’s Toledo plant on a version of the front-drive Compact U.S. Wide bones that underpin the Dodge Dart, it’s a solid bet that the engine bay will host four-cylinder and V-6 power. The identity of the former is still a mystery—The Dart’s 1.4-liter turbo four or Alfa’s 1.8-liter turbo four remain strong possibilities—but the V-6 will be a 3.2-liter version of Chrysler’s corporate Pentastar engine. We also expect ZF’s nine-speed automatic transmission, which would more than double the number of forward ratios available in the Liberty. (Read more about the 2014 Cherokee.)

As for the new Cherokee’s styling, it’s, um, rather funky. The Jeep badge is present, as is the all-important seven-slot grille, but the overall look eschews the old XJ’s boxy style in favor of softer crossover lines. It’s an aesthetic philosophy adopted by the latest Grand Cherokee, but that model has a more conventional front end: The face of the Cherokee thus far proves difficult to love. It features a Nissan Juke–light arrangement, with LED running lamps and turn signals arrayed up top and the headlights embedded in separate pods below. At least these professional shots—as well as the dark paint and the fact that it appears to be a top-spec trim with body-color bumpers—cast it in better light than does the gray-cladded and presumably base example that appeared on Jalopnik.



Even without taking the new look into account, it’s likely going to be tough to get the Jeep faithful to accept the Cherokee name on a front-drive-based suburban transportation pod, no matter how many versions end up wearing a Trail Rated badge. That said, the Liberty’s rough-and-tumble driving dynamics and unrefined character created few converts. Unfortunately for purists, we think we know which approach ultimately will prove most successful for Jeep.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Report: Chrysler expecting up to 200,000 9-speed transmissions for 3 models this year

By Jeffrey N. Ross

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Camouflaged 2014 Jeep Liberty replacement prototype - spy shot

Striving for improved fuel economy, we already knew that Chrysler will begin using a nine-speed automatic transmission in some of its new products this year, but what we haven’t known is that volume at which this gearbox will be used. According to Bloomberg, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has been quoted as saying that the automaker expects to sell close to 200,000 units equipped with this new transmission in 2013. Those gear-rich trannies will be spread out across three models, consisting of the redesigned Chrysler 200, the still-unnamed Jeep Liberty replacement and the Dodge Dart.

This transmission should play a pivotal role in making Chrysler vehicles more competitive in their respective segments. Just for comparison, one of the Dart’s key competitors, the Toyota Corolla, still uses a four-speed automatic, and a previous report indicates that the next-generation 200 could get up to 38 miles per gallon on the highway, which is better than most non-hybrid midsize sedans on the market. Marchionne says that the new Jeep model is expected during the second quarter of this year, but there is no word as to when the new 200 or nine-speed Dart will debut, but clearly Dodge would like to have the transmission in its compact yesterday. As for that volume figure, it definitely doesn’t seem out of reach since the Dart, Liberty and 200 combined for a total of more than 225,000 units in 2012.

How many more gears can we expect in future cars? Probably not many more, since the CEO of transmission-builder ZF, Stefan Sommer, previously stated that nine speeds was the “natural limit” for transmissions.

Chrysler expecting up to 200,000 9-speed transmissions for 3 models this year originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jan 2013 08:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Marchionne Says Nine-Speed Auto Still in the Works for Dodge Dart [2013 Detroit Auto Show]

By Daniel Pund

In a press conference today at the Detroit auto show, Fiat head honcho Sergio Marchionne acknowledged that the C-segment Dodge Dart has been something of a sales disappointment for the company.

Marchionne places the blame for the weak sales on the Dart’s available transmissions. Marchionne describes the six-speed manual (with which the Dart launched) and the six-speed dual-clutch automatic that came shortly after as, “not the ideal solution for this market.” Based on our test drives of the manual and the dual-clutch, we think his description is something of an understatement.



In hopes of delivering to the market a product that does not annoy buyers, Chrysler will add a ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic gearbox that will be seen first in the replacement for the Jeep Liberty this spring. Unlike the dual-clutch unit currently available, the nine-speed will be a conventional torque-converter that Marchionne (and us) anticipate will better suit the expectations of American C-segment buyers.

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver