The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera. The Toyota Supra. The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. The BMW M5. The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. The Rolls-Royce Phantom. Though these cars are all different, there's one thing they (and many other cars) have in common: ZF's 8HP eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission.
First introduced in 2008, ZF's eight-speed gearbox has come to occupy the transmission tunnels of countless new cars, from big American trucks to compact hatchbacks and ultra-luxurious grand tourers. In some cases, it's even replaced dual-clutch transmissions. ZF in 2017 alone, according to our colleagues at Car and Driver. How has the 8HP come to conquer the market? Well, it's very good at a lot of things.
As Jason Fenske of says in his latest video above, the ZF eight-speed has been engineered to fulfill many different roles in a single, compact package. It can be quiet and well-behaved in a Ram 1500, or wildly responsive on track while bolted into a new M5. It can be used as a transaxle, like it is with every new Aston Martin, or sit right behind the engine, like in the Giulia. It's also not any bigger than the company's last-gen transmissions, despite having more forward gears. That means companies like Dodge don't have to design an entirely new chassis with a bigger tunnel to fit a new, bigger gearbox. It's also lighter than your average dual-clutch, broadening the performance appeal. It truly checks all the boxes.