News of a new 8-speed automatic for rear-drive Chrysler vehicles has been floating around for a few months now, but it appears as though the American automaker has one more trick – or should we say one more gear – up its sleeve. At Chrysler’s recent dealer meeting (the first in three years) those in attendance heard about a new Viper and a host of other upcoming products. They were also told of a new 9-speed automatic transmission in the works. The new 9-speed auto-box is being built for front drive applications, although Marchionne did say that it will also be adaptable to AWD and hybrid setups. He gave no indication on when the unit would be available in a production model.
As for the 8-speed box, it is a version of the ZF 8-speed unit currently found on many BMW products and will first appear in rear-drive Chrysler products (like the 300C, Dodge Charger and Challenger) in 2012, significantly improving both fuel economy and acceleration.
The new 9-speed automatic would be suitable for AWD versions of cars like the Chrysler 300.