Leave it to the British to find a way to make something one better. Land Rover’s ZF nine-speed automatic transmission will debut on Range Rover Evoque at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. The nine-speed automatic will be built at ZF’s ‘Gray Court’ facility in South Carolina, USA. This transmission is built for transverse applications and represents the first nine-speed transmission built for regular consumer usage.
The Range Rover Evoque looks like it’s debuting the new transmission.
“Increasing the number of gear ratios from six to nine will help reduce emissions and improve efficiency. Smaller ratio steps also give improved response during acceleration, with improved shift quality and refinement. A higher top gear improves efficiency by lowering engine speed, which also improves comfort and reduces noise when cruising at highway speeds.
The 9HP is quite robust and complements the all-terrain capability expected of a Land Rover vehicle while delivering exceptionally high levels of refinement and efficiency. The lowest ratio in the 9HP is lower than the existing six-speed transmission and is designed for off-road use, towing, and on-road conditions like steep gradients.” – – Land Rover Media
Land Rover has struggled with fuel economy for quite some time. Their CAFE numbers are pretty high and there are only so many things you can do with off road vehicles for efficiency. Adding a ninth cog is a smart bet and we’ll see this type of transmission on many, if not all of their vehicles before long.
Regarding the gear ratios in the new nine-speed automatic transmission, Rover says, “The 9HP is masterfully packaged and despite the extra three gear ratios is only 0.24 inches (6mm) longer and actually weighs 16.5 lbs (7.5kg) less than the outgoing six-speed transmission. The compact packaging is achieved by using a number of innovative design features: A new compact hydraulic vane-type pump, two patented dog clutches replacing bulkier conventional clutch packs, and a nested gear set.”
That’s a lot of technology to pack into this new nine-speed transmission, it must have been terribly expensive.
Items like this, and fresh investment into lighter materials seem to be coming straight from the top. You have to give it up to the TATA ownership, they are making smart investments into the brand’s future.
Check out Roman’s video of the brand new Range Rover!
He had way too much fun on that trip…