BMW has started the production of the 5 Series with the second generation of popular automatic gearbox, the eight-speed ZF 8HP. Called 8HP50, the new gearbox will be first seen in the BMW 520d variant and will eventually be used in all other cars from different manufacturers.
Since the start of its production in 2009, the ZF 8HP eight-speed automatic is being used by a number of premium car manufacturers like Audi, BMW, Bentley, Chrysler, Jaguar and Rolls-Royce among others. The new ZF 8HP50 promises improvement in efficiency and emission figures by upto three per cent. ZF says that the gearbox has been designed to satisfy the requirements of modern engines. The advanced torsional vibration dampers, as the name suggests, reduce the vibrations.
The new unit has also cut down on the internal transmission losses and optimised gearsets, which in itself has aided the efficiency by one per cent. With the new gearbox, the coasting function, which disconnects the gearbox from the engine to prevent unwanted engine braking, can now be activated at speeds upto 160kmph. The new ZF 8HP50 has been designed to handle upto 500Nm of torque, and ZF says that its successor, the ZF 8HP75, will be capable of handling upto 750Nm of torque.
A growing number of manufacturers have turned to developing gearbox technology and increasing the ratios to boost efficiency and lowering emissions of an engine, without compromising on performance. The emission norms have been growing stringent every passing day, forcing car makers to come up with new ideas to improve their products’ efficiency and emission figures, while maintaining respectable performance.
Speaking about the new gearbox and the company’s association with BMW, Dr. Jürgen Greiner, the head of passenger car transmission development at ZF Friedrichshafen AG said, "Our longstanding customer BMW is impressively demonstrating how to successfully make vehicles more efficient yet more dynamic at the same time. Therefore, we are particularly delighted that the premium manufacturer is the first OEM to rely on the second generation of our 8-speed automatic transmission that is also ground-breaking. Through many further developments, we have made the 8HP significantly even more efficient compared to the predecessor transmission– up to three percent in total."