The ZF nine-speed automatic transmission is designed for transverse applications, i.e. cars based on front-wheel-drive architectures. The nine-speed-equipped Range Rover Evoque will be one of the first models to get the transmission when it goes on display next week at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and will hopefully arrive in showrooms before the year is out.
The new transmission, code-named the ZF 9HP, is one of the most advanced transmissions ever used on a production car, and it’s likely to be one of the most fuel efficient too.
Land Rover hasn’t released any numbers just yet, but says the transmission should offer significant improvements in economy and emission levels compared to the current six-speed ‘box fitted to the Range Rover Evoque.
A higher top gear will definitely improve highway numbers, while at the other end of the spectrum a new low gear should improve performance during towing or slow, off-road driving. In addition, the transmission’s smaller ratio steps should translate to improved response during brisk driving. There's even a 'skip-shift' function that allows gears to be skipped for quicker changes.
There is also a computer-controlled system that can learn to match the driver’s own shift pattern. This allows it to automatically sharpen up when the driver's heavy on the throttle, and then switch back to a more economical mode when the situation demands.
If that wasn’t enough, Land Rover tells us that the transmission is similar in size to the six-speed unit it replaces, but 7.5 kg lighter. Expect the ZF 9HP transmission to be announced for more models shortly.