If you thought gearboxes fitted with seven-speeds had a few too many, hold on to your hats: starting this fall, 2012 300s and Dodge Chargers equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar VVT V6 engine will now have no less than 8 gears to choose from. Thank the heavens it’s an automatic.
The new transmission, dubbed the 845RE, is manufactured by German specialists ZF. ZF is known to do hi-tech transmissions for a variety of Audi, BMW, Bentley, Range Rover, and Rolls Royce models. Though the transmission will be initially supplied by ZF, Chrysler says that they will take over development of the eight-speed rower in their Kokomo, Indiana transmission plant sometime in the future.
The slick new transmission is slated to replace most of the five-speeds - which is an older version of a Mercedes-Benz designed transmission - in Chrysler’s lineup including V8s.
There are several reasons to move to an automatic eight-speed transmission, primarily fuel economy. Being able to keep the revs lower for a longer period of time will result in better - around 15% better - combined highway and city driving.
The 845RE is a fully electronic transmission that includes software featuring adaptive shifting characteristics depending on variables such as engine torque gradients, kick down, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, hill detection, friction detection, and downshift detection.
Chrysler hasn’t said much about performance upgrades that are in line with the new transmission, but we suspect that the new eight-speed will also keep you within torque band longer if you so choose to floor it. Of course, if the new transmission makes it to the V8 Chargers, we don’t have to convince you to floor it.