Land Rover is introducing the world's first nine-speed gearbox into its range, and the first model to benefit is the hugely successful Evoque crossover. The nine-speeder is not only lighter than the six-speed auto it replaces, but also cuts fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, and is claimed to improve refinement too. Here's the full tech spec...
Whyever would a Land Rover need a nine-speed transmission?
Oddly, it will actually make the Evoque perform better off-road. The super-short first gear is designed for steep gradients or crawling over rough terrain, and helps the Evoque tow heavy loads too. And, it's claimed, the shorter first few gears also improve acceleration.
Will relentless changing up and down the nine-speed 'box become an irritiation? No, says Land Rover: the 9HF ZF gearbox is said to perform gearchanges 'below the threshold of perception'. And like the eight-speed auto in the new Bentley Continental GT and Flying Spur, the nine-speed ZF box can 'block-shift' ratios, rather than always going up and down the 'box sequentially. Being able to skip several gears means you reach higher gears quicker when cruising, and drop down to the lower ratios more smoothly when you demand a swift overtake.
So, the nine-speed's more refined, and better off-road, but will it save me money?
If it does the numbers Land Rover reckons, then yes. Land Rover claims the 9HF transmission cuts fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 10%. The new transmission is also 6kg lighter than the old six-speeder.
The nine-speed Range Rover Evoque will be officially unveiled at next week's 2013 Geneva motor show, and production will start later this year.