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ZF Building Eight-Speed Automatic


 

 

ZF, supplier of transmissions to a wide swath of the luxury automakers, says it’s developed a new eight-speed automatic that could improve fuel economy in vehicles by six percent.

Eight-speed automatics are a new vanguard for the auto industry. Lexus announced its own eight-speed automatic for its new LS460 sedan, and Mercedes-Benz has offered a seven-speed automatic on much of its model range, but automatic gearboxes with more than six speeds are still relatively rare.

 

The new gearbox, ZF says, will boost fuel economy by six percent over a six-speed automatic in a similar application. Because of the gearbox’s compact packaging, it will fit in the same space as ZF’s own six-speeds. And the gearbox will also be able to handle more torque than its existing six-speed.

 

Most importantly, ZF says its new gearbox has been designed with hybrids and all-wheel drive applications in mind. Its modular design means that an integrated starting clutch can be swapped in for the torque converter, for example. And its hybrid integration can accommodate “all known hybrid functions,” ZF says.

 

There’s no word on which vehicle will debut the transmission.

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