GERMANY: ZF developing nine-speed autobox for transverse use
ZF nine-speeder is for transverse installation
ZF is developing a nine-speed automatic transmission for transverse engine installation as used by about 80% of passenger cars worldwide. It will be produced in Greenville, South Carolina, US.
"With its nine-speed automatic transmission for vehicles with transverse installed engines, ZF will once again establish a benchmark in terms of fuel consumption. Compared to today's standard six-speed automatic transmissions for front-transverse design, ZF's new nine-speed automatic transmission clearly improves both driving performance and fuel economy. The modern shock absorber systems in the torque converter, which make a rapid lockup of the converter clutch possible, also mean better fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions," the supplier said.
As with its eight-speed automatic transmission for longitudinal installation, the new nine-speed front-transverse transmission "ensures that the extremely short response and shifting times are clearly below the threshold of perception. This means that double shifts and direct multiple gearshifts are also made possible. Therefore, the new transmission system is equipped with the same 'sporty genes' as its eight-speed automatic transmission predecessors; in conjunction with the excellent shift comfort characteristics, they guarantee ultimate driving satisfaction".
This development confirms ZF’s position as the leading transmissions supplier; the idea of six or seven speed transmissions for mainstream volume cars may have seen unlikely a couple of decades ago, so the introduction of a nine-speed unit symbolises how far things have moved. The pressure to cut fuel emissions is one of the drivers behind the increase in the number of speeds, but such a development also allows the car companies concerned an additional marketing message or edge to help in their sales efforts.