Chrysler’s new 8-speed automatic transmission coming to Charger, 300
The 2012 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans powered by the 292 horsepower Pentastar V6 and the new ZF 8-speed automatic transmission are expected to yield 19 miles per gallon around town (1mpg over the current V6 models with the 5-speed automatic transmission) and on the highway the new 8-speed transmission-equipped Charger and 300 will offer an impressive 31 miles per gallon – a 15% improvement over the 2011 models with the 5-speed gearbox. These specifications are for 2012 Charger and 300 models with rear wheel drive but after the initial launch, these new fuel-saving transmissions will also be offered with V6 all wheel drive models.
In the past, a transmission that would increase fuel economy measures by 15% without any change to the engine would have meant far less gearing thus less acceleration but thanks to the 8 available speeds, the 2012 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 can still provide strong low-end acceleration while having very low gearing to improve the MPGs. The 5-speed automatic transmission in the current V6 Charger and 300 have 5th gear as your overdrive gear with the first four gears set up to offer the best combination of acceleration while also trying to keep RPMs low. Acceleration is often hurt by the fact that the gearing needs to drop quickly as you get into the 3rd and 4th gear as you near the 5th gear (overdrive). However, with 8 speeds, the new ZF/Chrysler automatic transmission can offer more aggressive gearing through the first 5 gears with smaller steps between each gear to bolster acceleration while the 7th and 8th overdrive gears help the brawny sedans reach 31mpg on the highway.