- The 2015 Dodge Charger and Challenger models equipped with Hemi V8 engines will come standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
- First introduced in 2012, the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic is now available on a number of Chrysler models.
- Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne told Edmunds that the latest version, designed to handle the Hemi V8, is "the beefiest TorqueFlite ever."
Built by Chrysler under license from German engineering firm ZF Friedrichshafen AG, the TorqueFlite 8HP45/845RE was introduced in 2012 on the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 models fitted with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine.
Since then, versions have made their way onto a number of other rear-drive, AWD and 4WD models, including the Dodge Durango, Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee, mated to V6, V8 and Chrysler EcoDiesel engines.
Eric Mayne, a Chrysler spokesman told Edmunds that the eight-speed TorqueFlite will come standard on 2015 Dodge Chargers and Challengers, "along with other upgrades — such as a new 7-inch, thin-film transistor (TFT) instrument cluster."
Mayne said all Chargers — both V6 and V8 models — will be equipped with the latest 8HP90 TorqueFlite (no manual is offered), along with all V6 Pentastar-outfitted Challengers. He said that he expects about 60 percent of Hemi-powered Challengers to be ordered with the automatic.
According to Chrysler, more than 1 million vehicles worldwide are equipped with the TorqueFlite eight-speed tranny. The company says that over their lifetimes, these vehicles are projected to save more than 700 gallons of fuel compared to similar models with five- or six-speed automatics, a combined savings of approximately $2.5 billion in fuel costs.
Meanwhile, GM and Ford are collaborating on nine- and 10-speed gearboxes that could be in production within the next two years. Volkswagen has a 10-speed automatic in development that reportedly could make its way into several models, including the 2015 Passat.
So how many gears will automakers give us in the quest for increased fuel economy and reduced emissions?
Mayne told Edmunds: "The number of gears is secondary to the efficiency levels afforded by an automatic transmission. We measure efficiency according to performance and the inherent benefits of a transmission's design. The nine-speed automatic that is a class exclusive in both the new Chrysler 200 and Jeep Cherokee, is lighter and — thanks to its nested gear sets — more compact than a conventional six-speed automatic."
And it's not just about efficiency. As Mayne explained: "In the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, the eight-speed improves shift quality — a specific customer request. And while shift quality also was a major consideration in the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, torque accommodation was essential. Accordingly, the new 8HP90 is the beefiest TorqueFlite ever."
Edmunds says: How many gears is enough? Stay tuned.