• Feb 14, 2011
2011 Dodge Charger - Click above for high-res image gallery

Chrysler's LX platform cars will pick up a new eight-speed automatic transmission made by ZF for the 2012 model year. The Dodge Charger, Challenger and Chrysler 300 will benefit mightily from the new transmission that will eventually replace the older five-speed unit that's currently available.

Allpar reports that a reliable source within Chrysler has disclosed that the new transmission will first become available in 2012 Dodge Charger and 2012 Chryler 300 models powered by the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. 2012 Dodge Challenger SE models hang on to the five-speed for a little longer still.
The reason for rolling the new transmission out this way may be to suss out any problems while backing up a less-powerful engine. It may also be that the fuel economy improvement will be larger with the V6, and yet another theory suggests that the engineering and software work for the V6 and eight-speed link-up was further along. It stands to reason that sales of V6 models outstrip Hemi-powered LX cars, and bringing the transmission to market behind the highest-volume powerplant is going to make the biggest CAFE impact. Whatever the reason, the new automatic gearbox is a leapfrog move that further re-modernizes the redesigned LX range.



Photos copyright ©2011 Drew Phillips / AOL

[Source: Allpar]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 36 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Will be interesting to see what the Lancia versions get in the EU.
      • 3 Years Ago
      ZF is a global automotive parts supplier, just because Chrysler is using their part doesn't make their car any less American. ZF supplies to virtually every automaker all over the world and they design excellent components. Kudos to Chrysler.

      • 3 Years Ago
      We welcome the decision of Chrysler embracing the best available technology into their bread and butter cars!
        • 3 Years Ago
        I understand they can't roll out the 8-speed that fast until they start producing it in house, but for the trucks and SUVs with the Hemi, I don't understand why they didn't consider bringing back a lighter duty version of the 68RFE to bridge the gap. As a reminder, it was basically the same as the 545RFE, but had slightly modified gearing (and some other modifications for heavy duty applications, which wouldn't be needed). The gearing was much more typical of a true 6-speed. I agree with you about the 545RFE being more like a 4-speed with those closely spaced OD gears.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysler_RFE_transmission

        • 3 Years Ago
        The Charger and 300 for 2011 are already excellent. Once they get these transmissions, the critics won't have anything left to complain about.
        http://www.epinions.com/review/2011_Dodge_Charger_epi/content_539334839940

        I made a video of the Charger in fact:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWj6VNf4OEU
        • 3 Years Ago
        Not just the Charger/300, but a lot of Chrysler vehicles beg for a modern, fast shifting, and efficient 8 speed.

        The Hemi Ram with 390hp consistantly lags behind GM and Ford, not because of the engine, but the ancient 545RFE that's a 3 speed with 2 overdrives. With a close ratio 8 speed, and 200ms shift times, the Ram will be much more competitive in towing tests.
      • 3 Years Ago
      no challenger 8-speed? that sucks. I have a challenger with a 5 speed and V6 and was looking forward to an 8-speed. Guess I will have to go with a V6 charger next time instead.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good luck to Chrysler for the work they have ahead of themselves. Seems like they're on the right track, though it also seems a bit premature to tell how they're doing so far. And the eight-speed transmission is right on time; it's replacing some pretty archaic hardware.

      -R
      • 3 Years Ago
      The only issue may be people may wait to buy the V8 now that they know the 5A will be replaced soon by an 8A. I know it would be a serious consideration of mine.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Tribute:

        That's a good point, but I don't think most buyers (especially of the V6 model) will know that the 8AT is coming. It's not like the salesperson is going to tell them. This is kind of like when the new G37s came out... they still had the craptacular 5AT. People bought them by the boatload even though the 7AT was only a half a year away. It's also similar to what happened with the latest Mustang revamp, when the new powerplants were a year out.
        • 3 Years Ago
        V6 first, so you might be waiting a while for the 8 speed in the V8. Good call though, as it sounds like they're more confident in their production ability and less so on the durability in the bigger engines. In the end, probably better to test more on a setup that will probably abuse the transmission more.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I was under the impression that it was (relatively) common knowledge that BMW uses the ZF 8-speed in the 760Li. Will it be the exact same model? No, probably because you don't need a transmission rated for a twin turbo V12 to back up a naturally aspirated V6. It will most likely be one of the lighter duty ones (I believe there are 3-4 variations of the 8-speed, all based on torque capacity).
        • 3 Years Ago
        Same here. I can't imagine there would too many problems with the 8-speed, though, seeing as it is almost the same as the one used by BMW in the 760Li.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Imported from DETROIT, umm, no make that Germany. Oh well, what does it matter, Dodge is now a Fiat.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Lets get specific: The entire platform/running gear is cloned from the W211 E-Class by Mercedes-Benz. Not to mention the current (722.6) 5 speed auto.

        I wonder if Chrysler didnt want the (722.9) 7 speed from Mercedes or just wanted to end the transmission sharing...
        • 3 Years Ago
        Fiat's from Italy.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Where do you thunk ZF is from? But yeah, imported from Italy sounds good, too.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Haub, no, not the W211. The rear suspension shares its origins with the W210 E-class.
        • 3 Years Ago
        ZF makes products in America too, I have relatives that work at a ZF plant.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm really curious to actually see the mileage numbers
        • 3 Years Ago
        I'd say 20/30
        • 3 Years Ago
        The 300 is rumored to get 30 miles per gallon according to Olivier Francois, CEO of the Chrysler brand.

        Thats pretty impressive considering other vehicles like the BMW 5-Series and MB E-Class have less horsepower.

        People may continue the bashing, but they are no doubt heading in the right direction.
        Oh, and the Pentastar V6 is getting Multi-air, and a hybrid version.
      • 3 Years Ago
      More, more, more!!

      Seriously though, while I'm skeptical of the real world gains are obviously superior to a modern 6 speed, I'm glad seeing Chrysler pushing themselves. ZF is a well respected OEM supplier and just watching Chrysler really making an effort to advance themselves from an engineering stand point (not just relying on design and bold advertising) is a nice step in the right direction. So despite the initial "Too many gears, overkill, etc." reaction, when it comes down to it, I can't argue with a company that wants to progress.
      • 3 Years Ago
      And the Chrysler snowball continues to gain size and momentum. I like what Ive seen from them lately. Lets hope it continues!
      • 3 Years Ago
      they better have multi-air dsg by 2013 then
      • 3 Years Ago
      The front end still looks horrible to me...but hey thats just me.
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