Fiat Auto’s new Lancia Thema – the rebadged Chrysler 300 for Europe (exlcuding the UK) now reaching showrooms – is the latest model to use ZF’s eight-speed automatic transmission.

The supplier claims the new transmission, also used by an increasing number of European automakers, including Jaguar Land Rover’s 2012 Range Rover and Discovery model lines, reduces fuel consumption by up to 14% compared with a five-speeder.

The ZF’ box is fitted to Thema models with the V6 petrol engine.

ZF said the fuel efficiency gains are due to an “innovative gear set design” with four planetary gear sets and five shift elements. Since there are only two shift elements open per gear, the inner drag losses in the transmission are considerably reduced. Also a higher total spread of 7.05 reduces fuel consumption by lowering the speed level. The modern torsional vibration damper system in the torque converter, which allows for a rapid lock-up of the torque converter clutch, also has a positive impact on consumption and CO2 emissions.

The new transmission also has extremely short response and shift times below a perceivable threshold allowing double shifts and direct multiple shifts.

ZF also produces the Thema’s gear shift lever mechanism as well as a damper and leveling system for the cars which are built by Chrysler in North America.