Honda has revealed a new 10-speed automatic transmission, to be used in its large-sized front-wheel drive vehicles. It is seen as something of a surprise move, given the existing relationship with ZF for supply of its 9-speed FWD automatic.

The deal with ZF had been seen by many as a tacit acceptance by Honda that its own transmission development could not keep pace with developments offered by the independent specialists. Honda’s unveiling of the 10-speed FWD transmission represents a world first.

The new 10-speed from Honda can handle up to 370Nm of  torque and looks destined for Honda V6-engine FWD models, potentially displacing the ZF 9-speed as the transmission option. The gearbox features four planetary gears, a ratio spread of 10.1 (1st 5.34, 10th 0.53 and the last of four overdrive gears) and direct shift capability (meaning downshifts and upshifts do not have to be sequential for both rapid acceleration and better fuel economy).

Compared with Honda’s existing 6-speed automatic the company claims the following main benefits:

  • 14% better accelerative performance
  • 30% quicker shift response times
  • At least 6% better fuel economy
  • Engine downspeeding of at least 26% at cruise, enabled by a high-attenuation, low-inertia torque converter