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