German transmission specialist ZF has developed a
nine-speed automatic transmission
, primarily for use in vehicles with transversely-mounted engines, which tend to be front-wheel-drivers. ZF claims the new ‘box will significantly improve fuel economy, while continuing to deliver strong performance and excellent refinement.
One of the first vehicles to feature this nine-speed automatic will reportedly be the Range Rover Evoque from Land Rover. The Dodge Dart is expected to be another
is reporting that the popular compact crossover will get the transmission in a revised model due out around 2014.
The decision to upgrade the transmission, according to the report, is to solve the issue of poor fuel economy. EPA fuel economy ratings for the latest 2013 Range Rover Evoque are 20/28 mpg city/highway, though swapping its six-speed auto out for the new nine-speeder should improve fuel economy by as much as 16 percent.
In addition to the new transmission, there are claims Land Rover will expand the Range Rover Evoque lineup to include a new convertible model based on the concept we saw earlier this year
. Another model expected is a high-performance version
complete with a 300-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four.
Smaller and larger Range Rover Evoque models are also being considered as part of Land Rover’s plans to more than double
the number of models it offers by 2020. The Range Rover Evoque is a key model in Land Rover’s expansion plans as 80 percent of its buyers are new to the brand.