ZF Develops World's First 9-Speed Automatic Transmission for Front-Drive Vehicles

Most of us drive cars with a 5 or 6-speed transmission, though there are already cars with 8-speed transmissions on the road like the all-new Audi A8. A South Carolina based ZF has taken the transmission development to a new level, with the world’s first 9-speed automatic transmission for vehicles equipped with a transversely mounted engine.

“Already a leader in technically advanced, fuel-saving multi-speed transmissions for rear-drive vehicles, ZF’s new 9-speed enables significant fuel economy improvements and delivers excellent performance characteristics for front-wheel-drive vehicles,” said Hans-Georg Harter, ZF’s President and CEO.

Compared to conventional 6-speed automatic transmissions for front-drive platforms, ZF’s new 9-speed automatic transmission enhances driving performance and fuel economy. An advanced shock absorber system in the torque converter, for example, allows rapid lock up of the converter clutch, enabling greater fuel economy and lower carbon dioxide emissions.

Similar to ZF’s 8-speed automatic transmission used in rear-drive platforms, the new 9-speed delivers extremely short response and shifting times that are below the threshold of perception. That means double shifts and direct multiple gearshifts occur without the driver or passenger noticing.

Sophisticated electronic controls select the right gear for the driving conditions, eliminating unnecessary “stepping” – or constant shifting. In this regard, the 9-speed carries the same precise, sporty attributes found in ZF’s transmissions for rear-drive vehicles, including excellent shift characteristics, immediate response to input and exceptional smoothness.


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