In the ever-changing technological landscape of today’s world, it doesn’t seem all too surprising when a certain company releases a new breakthrough that’s being considered a game changer.

In the world of auto transmissions, ZF is the unquestioned leader in the industry, having supplied for a number of esteemed brands including Audi, Bentley, BMW, Range Rover, and Rolls-Royce. As a matter of fact, the company’s eight-speed automatic transmission is currently being used in a lot of rear-wheel drive models from the aforementioned brands. With an eight-speed transmission already in play, ZF decided to up the ante by releasing the world’s very first nine-speed automatic transmission for passenger vehicles. Equipped with a transversely mounted engine, the nine-speed gearbox is similar to the eight-speed version with the biggest exception being that the former is best suited for front-wheel drive cars because of its capacity to increase the car’s fuel economy.

ZF’s new nine-speed transmission uses electronic controls to select the right gear depending on certain road conditions, eliminating situations where a car is subjected to unnecessary stepping and constant shifting.

ZF President and CEO, Hans-Georg Harter said that the company’s new nine-speed transmission is designed to improve the car’s overall efficiency. “ZF’s new nine-speed enables significant fuel economy improvements.” He said. “It delivers excellent performance characteristics for front-wheel drive vehicles.”

Despite complete details still being kept under wraps, ZF’s nine-speed transmission is being pegged for a production date of 2012 where it will be built at the company’s new manufacturing plant in South Carolina.

UPDATE 06/09/11: ZF has finally pulled the covers off of their ground-breaking new nine-speed automatic transmission. Called the ’9HP’, the new transmission has been promoted as boasting of a 16% improvement in fuel efficiency compared to the standard six-speed automatic transmissions out on the market these days. On top of that, the gearbox is in tune and adaptable to new technological systems, including engine start/stop systems, hybrid powertrains, and all-wheel drive systems. The flip side to this, however, is that with the new transmission can only be used on engines with torque outputs from 206 to 354 lb/ft of torque.


What do you think?
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  (453) posted on 06.29.2011

One thing that I am concerned of with this thing is that it needs to be mated to a particularly good engine in order for it to be really useful. And I have yet such an engine out there.

  (714) posted on 06.16.2011

Yeah, I think they are actually well aware of that. So they would have probably tweaked this one so that it would have faster shift times in between gears.

  (401) posted on 06.15.2011

One thing that I am a bit worried about with this kind of transmissions is that the gear change speed is somewhat a bit slow. But I think ZF has already figured that one out.

  (596) posted on 06.14.2011

Yeah, me too. I am very curious about how they were actually able to develop this one. At first, I though that a higher transmission would be hard to make, but they have done it.

  (334) posted on 06.14.2011

Hmm, have they announced which brands will be using this one? Considering that this one works only with cars below the 400 hp mark, it would be well suited for compact vehicles.

  (592) posted on 06.14.2011

Wow! Its a true step forward for the industry of car transmission and part alike. I think releasing this to the public can give it more improvements. It will be criticized then I’m sure the next step is upgrading it.

  (412) posted on 06.13.2011

Hmm, those specs on the transmission do look promising. But the only disappointment on this one is the rather limited engine range. But they would probably work on that one later on.

  (630) posted on 06.13.2011

Wow!.. What a great invention! A nine-speed automatic transmission? I feel very curious how they come-up with this kind of machines. Whoever invented this machines, I may say that he/she had a very amazing mind!Thumbs up to him!

  (528) posted on 06.13.2011

IMO, the only bad part of having a automatic suspension is that it takes away the fun driving experience. I’m a bit skeptical about this issue. However, in the lighter side this engine would probably give an impressive performances!

  (387) posted on 03.14.2011

It would also be a good idea if they can come up with an aftermarket version of it. That surely let a lot of us to make use of it.

  (399) posted on 03.11.2011

I hope that many car manufacturers do take this one on. It will certainly be very useful, especially for cars wanting to have more speed.

  (387) posted on 03.10.2011

Wow, a nine speed transmission. That would certainly take your car a long way out. But then again, you do need to have a fairly good engine to make the most out of this one.

  (158) posted on 01.20.2011

agreed, though you dont lose revs when you change with the ZF. I have the ZF 6 speed with paddles, it launches in second normally and pretty much only shifts down if you give it a mighty boot or change manually.

  (745) posted on 01.20.2011

It has smart computers controlling the shift points that allow it to shift up or down two or more gears at a time. In that way, it can provide the economy benefits, while also being smooth, and also acting as a normal 6 or 7spd ‘box when it needs to.

  (702) posted on 01.19.2011

the best example of the transmission is the Mazda 3, the engine is quite good powerful enough to reach 210KPH, good torque, but the transmission box . it’s not a highspeed one, it only has a 4 speed so the fuel efficiency doesn’t add up, low torque due to transmission, 20 degree slope will surely rev your engine up to 4RPM with a speed of 40-60Khp.

  (807) posted on 01.19.2011

dang for sure this transmission is a highspeed one, with those gears expect it to me more fuel efficient due to the Low Revving, but i wish this is also a high torque one.

  (142) posted on 01.19.2011

That will probably switch gears unnoticed. Its gonna be manufactured in my state!

  (65) posted on 01.19.2011

Yeah, as if they will ever show detailed mechanics of a new product. It’s enough that they cannot protect the intellectual property with the patents... now you want a 3d of it? smiley

  (111) posted on 01.19.2011

Very nice! I bet the interesting stuff to see it’s inside!

  (151) posted on 01.19.2011

Good thing it’s automatic.... imagine how it would of been 9 speed manual loool

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