Chrysler First U.S. Automaker with 8-Speed Transmission

Starting soon, you can get the same ride as high-end cars like Bentley, BMW and Rolls Royce in a 2012 Dodge Charger and 2012 Chrysler 300.

Chrysler Group, in working with ZF, is the first U.S. automaker to offer an eight-speed automatic transmission — and in cars that are much more affordable. We’ll give you our side of the story immediately below, and you can check out what others have to say if you scroll down to the end.

Initially, the eight-speed, coupled with the 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar Engine is available in select Chrysler 300 and Dodge Chargers:

2012 Chrysler 300, 300S (V6) and 300 Limited
2012 Dodge Charger SE, SXT and R/T models, as well as the high-performance SRT8

The eight-speed transmission offers a number of cost-saving, energy-efficient, earth-friendly and comfy benefits, including several we call out below.

Four mile-per-gallon increase that pushes highway fuel economy to an EPA-rated 31 mpg for the 2012 Chrysler 300 and 2012 Dodge Charger. That’s up from 27 mpg highway with the 2011 models.

Transmission efficiency and wide ratio spread to provide the best possible fuel economy in city traffic: 19 mpg on the EPA city cycle for both, an increase of 5{20d67b5be50d140d1958cd8b1d7332144f6fd17c417f26079eff89c16c29bd67} over last year’s five speed automatic.

Emissions are cut by nearly 11{20d67b5be50d140d1958cd8b1d7332144f6fd17c417f26079eff89c16c29bd67}

Both vehicles benefit from nearly imperceptible gear changes due in part to very evenly spaced gear steps between each gear ratio.

Lower viscosity transmission fluid is used, which results in improved transmission efficiency and fuel economy improvements — especially during cold environments or vehicle start-up. The ZF eight-speed also is “fill for life” not requiring transmission fluid changes during normal driving conditions.

And, while the new eight-speed is an automatic, it does offer a little manual fun:

During more spirited driving conditions, sporty, quick shifts are possible as a result of multiple parameters through a Sport shift mode that requires simple driver input. At the rear of the shifter is a gate that allows for down- and up-shifting by the driver. Once the vehicle is in the Sport mode, the driver can use either the console-mounted shifter or a pair of paddle controls located on the steering wheel.

The eight-speed transmission offers drivers all the above while still giving you performance, including 292 horsepower, and an acceleration time of 0-to-60 mph in 7.2 seconds.