Chrysler Rumored To Equip SRT8s 8-speed Transmissions
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8 speeds? Why not just skip to the CVT?If a six-speed transmission is good, surely an eight-speed is better, right? The ZF Group, a German engineering firm that’s been building a designing transmissions for nearly a century, announced their intention to put to market one of the first eight-speed automatic transmissions.
And now, the rumor mill is buzzing that Chrysler may utilize the ZF unit in their line of commercial trucks and high performance SRT8 cars. Chrysler will reportedly begin purchasing the transmissions in 2010, while the Chrysler In Trans Plant in Kokomo, Indiana, undergoes tooling updates to accommodate installation of the new unit. The ZF transmission will also be sold to other manufacturers, including BMW and Audi, and should help put Dodge’s diesel-powered offerings back on the map and give the SRT8 line of automobiles a real boost.
The eight-speed ZF unit was designed primarily to minimize fuel consumption, while maximizing performance. According to ZF, it delivers a six-percent fuel saving over their six-speed transmission and 14-percent over the five-speed. It also requires no additional installation space than the six-speed model.
The new ZF automatic transmission generation is an entirely new concept that sports four planetary gear sets and five shift elements. Because only two shift elements are opened in each gear, it leads to substantially less drag losses and also touts a higher total ratio spread.
As well, the power-to-weight ratio of the new eight-speed unit is higher and transmits a higher input torque than the six-speed, offering a surefire boost in performance. Additionally, it has been designed in such a way as to serve as a modular system where the torque converter can be replaced with new clutches or removed completely in favor of an integrated clutch.