New Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger First To Get 8-Speed Automatic

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Plans for an eight-speed transmission at Chrysler have been known since last summer, but we have a few new details from the first drive launch of the 2011 Chrysler 300. The ZF-built unit will first appear in the revamped 300 and the 2011 Dodge Charger , and it will feature some distinguishing elements from other ZF eight-speed gearboxes.

The eight-speed auto won't arrive until later this year, and it's not yet clear if the cars that get it will wear 2011 or 2012 model-year designations.

Both Audi and BMW use ZF-built eight-speeds, but the Chrysler unit will use an Audi-style lever-type shifter in the center console rather than the multi-position joystick-type found in BMW applications. That's sure to be a welcome feature for drivers everywhere, evading a learning curve that benefits only a small space savings in the center console--space which is not at a premium in either the 300 or the Charger.

The eight-speed auto will benefit the Chrysler and Dodge cars just as it does the Germans: with better low-end acceleration, better top-end fuel economy, and smoother driving throughout the rev range.

For more on the 2011 Chrysler 300, be sure to read Marty Padgett's review from the model launch at TheCarConnection.

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Comments (4)
  1. These look great, lets hope Marchione does not ruin it for Chrysler by forcing Fiat junk in their showrrooms. And leave Jeep alone.

  2. So far Fiat has done nothing more than turning Chrysler junk into viable cars. I never thought it'd happen but I guess pigs do fly...
    Bill - 500 is considered one of the most reliable cars in Europe; Fiat also owns Lancia, Alfa, Maserati, and Ferrari, so it's not a bad crowd to be in... I really hope they take more of those "junky" ideas out of the brands and infuse Chrysler with them.

  3. Hey, my alternate personality is at it again! Yes, I do agree that these are great vehicles already and the addition of the 8 speeds make them world class by anyones evaluation standards.
    Worry not JKD- this Bill Burke- does NOT think Fiat makes junk, far from it. The platforms and technology being provided to Chrysler will make their new mid-size and compact designs also world class.
    My only gripe JKD is calling Chrysler cars "junk". I own a 05 Grand Cherokee, a 06 Crossfire and reciently a 07 Pacifica. These are outstanding vehicles for the most part, totally reliable and in my experience as an actual owner, NOT junk, far from it.

  4. Does anyone know when this tranny will make its way to the Jeep Grand Cherokee?

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