The original Land Rover had a 4-speed gearbox from the Rover P3. The upcoming Land Rovers will have a 9-speed automatic they developed together with ZF. It's clever and all, but I'm just wondering where will it end?
The 9HP transmission debuting at the Geneva Motor Show is far more advanced than the six-speed it's replacing. The current transmission makes downshifts sequentially, while the new one has a skip-shift function for better performance. There's also a "Fast-Off" mode that measures the rate of throttle release, anticipates further requests for high power, then holds the gear if necessary. Sounds like you don't need to press the "Sport" button anymore.
The lowest ratio in the 9HP is lower than the existing six-speed, which is great for off-road use or towing, while the higher top gear improves efficiency and reduces noise when cruising. Despite the extra three gear ratios, it is only 0.24 inches longer and actually weighs 16.5 lbs less than the outgoing box, thanks to a new vane-type pump, two dog clutches and a nested gear set. Designed for transverse applications, the ZF 9HP will be built in South Carolina.
I keep waiting for an 8-speed manual...
Photo credit: Land Rover and ZF