AUBURN HILLS, MI – Chrysler’s new eight-speed transmission (mentioned earlier this year) will debut on the rear-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive V-6 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger models for 2012.
The automaker said the new technology will be mated to the 3.6L V-6 Pentastar engine and will boost mpg in the 300 and Charger by 4. Both models will get an EPA-rated fuel economy of 31 mpg highway, 19 city. The transmission’s wide ratio spread and improved efficiency boost city mileage by 5 percent when compared with the five-speed automatic, according to Chrysler.
In addition, Chrysler is making available all-wheel-drive variants of the transmission on both models for 2012, possible due to the transmission’s modular nature. The all-wheel drive system only engages when a driver needs it.
The automaker improved the new transmission’s shifting characteristics using adaptive shifting technology. Using software and electronics, the adaptive shifting process takes into account variables such as engine torque gradients, kick down, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, hills, friction, and downshift detection, for example, to determine shifting patterns.
Gear selection is controlled by a shift-by-wire system. The overall system shifts gears based on pedal position. The 300 and Charger will also have a Sport mode available, which allows a driver to use the console-mounted shifter or two paddle controls on the steering wheel. Sport mode shifts more quickly and increases engine rpm, boosting performance.
The Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds.
In terms of the transmission’s design, it weighs 3 kg more than the older five-speed automatic transmission. Its addition to the 300 and Charger didn’t require any structural changes in either vehicle. The new transmission has four gear sets and five shift elements (multi-disc clutches and brakes) inside. The smaller number of open shift elements reduces the drag loss that comes from multiple parts rotating against one another.
Chrysler also added lower viscosity transmission fluid, which results in improved efficiency and fuel economy, especially in cold weather and during start-up. The transmission is fill-for-life.