2012 Hyundai EquusEnlarge Photo
If eight speeds are good, then ten speeds must be better, so Hyundai has begun development of a ten-speed automatic transmission for future version of its Genesis and Equus luxury cars. Automotive News (subscription required) reports that the ten-speed transmissions could debut in Hyundai's luxury cars as early as 2014.
The benefits of added gear ratios are easy to see; they yield more seamless acceleration while boosting fuel economy and reducing emissions. As Nelson Ireson points out on Motor Authority, however, the transmission wars will ultimately yield diminishing returns, and there’s no real evidence that a ten-speed gearbox will yield a noticeably smoother ride than an eight or nine-speed transmission. Sometimes, more isn't better, it's just more.
Hyundai’s announcement also verifies that the Korean automaker will continue in-house powertrain development, instead of farming the business out to third-party suppliers. Doing so allows Hyundai to keep tighter reins on both quality and production costs, two areas where Hyundai has excelled in recent years.