In the name of increased efficiency, and quite possibly playing the game of automotive one-upmanship, luxury automakers such as Mercedes Benz, BMW and Lexus have been adding more and more gear ratios to their automatic transmissions. By allowing a computer to choose the most appropriate ratio for any given scenario, the vehicle's engine is required to only make as much power as absolutely necessary, potentially saving fuel in the process. ZF, one of the largest transmission makers in the world, claims that their new 8-speed unit boasts an efficiency increase of eleven percent over its older 6-speed unit. The transmission giant has just developed a new modification, though, which could increase the overall vehicle efficiency even further. By adding a hydraulic impulse storage unit, the new ZF unit can support stop/start functionality, which they claim can result in an additional five percent reduction in fuel consumption.

[Source: Just-Auto - sub. req'd.]

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