Land Rover will showcase in Geneva the Range Rover Evoque fitted with the world's first nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Developed by ZF, the 9HP transmission will serve as a replacement for the 6-speed variant available across the AWD versions of the Evoque. Land Rover says it will bring "significant improvements in real world fuel economy" and "corresponding reduction in CO2 emissions." Shift quality should also be improved thanks to closer ratios which will also reduce noise at higher speeds and improve acceleration response.
ZF's 9HP gearbox features a skip-shift function which will skip gears under fast deceleration or acceleration. Land Rover says the lowest ratio in this transmission is a lot lower than the current 6-speed auto and has been developed specifically for off-road use, towing and more difficult on-road conditions.
Towards the end of last year, ZF's CEO Stefan Sommer described the nine-speed automatic gearbox as the "natural limit" since adding more gears would increase weight and complexity that can't be offset by fuel economy gains.