The Range Rover Evoque will become the first production car with a nine-speed automatic when the new transmission debuts at the Geneva Motor Show.
In recent years the pursuit of improved efficiency coupled with quick responses and a smooth ride has seen carmakers ditch the five-speed manual en masse in favor of seven- and eight-speed automatic transmissions. Now Land Rover is set to fit a ZF-developed nine-speed auto-box to all all-wheel-drive versions of the 2014 Range Rover Evoque in place of its current six-speed, making it the first production car to offer that many forward gears in a transmission.
The new gearbox is 6mm longer but 7.5 kg lighter than the outgoing transmission. Offering improvements in economy and responsiveness, as well as a reduction in noise at high cruising speeds, the new 9-speed's very long top gear will help with improvements in overall economy, while a shorter bottom gear will improve the Evoque's off-road grunt. The new 9-speed also comes with a "skip-shift" function, which enables gears to be skipped under heavy braking or rapid acceleration. It can also adapt to different driving styles, sensing when urgent shifts are needed or when a more relaxed shifting style is in order.