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Gearing up for a nine-speeder

With cycling there’s a clear rule: the more gears, the better your bike. At least that’s how it was when we were kids.

Now it seems car makers are following the same principle. To wit: German engineering company ZF has developed a nine-speed gear box for front-wheel drive passenger cars.

The gearbox is being developed in South Carolina and is set to be first used in a Chrysler model.

ZF say the new nine-speeder ‘delivers extremely short response and shifting times that are below the threshold of perception,’ and ‘enhances driving performance and fuel economy’.

ZF claim the gearbox automatically matches gears to driving conditions and eliminates the need for constant shifting. It’s set to deliver ‘excellent shift characteristics, immediate response to input and exceptional smoothness’ according to the firm.

Mercedes also have a nine-speed gearbox in development, only this is to be used for its rear-drive cars that have large capacity engines.

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