News : Range Rover Evoque gets nine-speeds


Land Rover is to show the first passenger car to be fitted with a nine-speed gearbox at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. The automatic gearbox, developed by ZF, will be fitted initially to the Range Rover Evoque, and should offer improved economy, reduced emissions and a quieter ride.

It also has the benefit of offering a lower ratio first gear – useful when setting off on inclines, on low grip surfaces or when towing trailers or caravans. Unlike most automatic gearboxes it can ‘skip’ gears – it might shift from sixth to fourth directly, which makes for more responsive throttle response and easier overtaking.

Land Rover already uses the ZF eight-speed gearbox and it’s both smooth, responsive and refined. Despite having three more gear ratios, the nine-speed ZF transmission is only 6mm longer than the six-speed gearbox it’s to replace, and it weighs 7.5kg less. It should be fitted to Range Rover Evoques and other Range Rover models from 2014.

Keith Adams


  1. With all these JLR announcements these days, it seems like they are going for world domination. I wish them every success.

  2. Why not just have a toughened CVT transmission?? 9 speeds is getting a bit silly…. especially when, even with the latest programming, they can’t make their minds as to which gear to select half the time…..

  3. @ Eezee – I agree, is there really a need for all the increasing complexity? what on earth is wrong with the gearboxes out there already. Cars are going to become throw away, not through cheapness, but simply because they will become completely uneconomically unrepairable.And your right, the number of modern Auto’s i’ve been in that seem to constantly scream through their gear range is, frankly, horrible to hear and offputting.

  4. All you need is the ECU on this gearbox to have a fart, and you are staring at a £10k repair bill. Guaranteed to go wrong within minutes of the manufacturers warranty expiry. How about this eh? a clutch pedal and a stick you select yourself?

  5. This is mental.

    Just wait until it is a tad out of warranty and then the bills will start.

    Is it a “sealed for life” box just to cause the hapless consumer more pain?

    I quite like choosing which gear to select and using a clutch….far less likely to make me cry

    Frankie your last post about another British product is more class. you have brought a smile to my face. The one that laughs last laughs longest.

    An ex of mine had a freelander, diesel auto, the gearbox died at 76K and she was quoted min £5500 to sort on a £5000 car.

    She did the decent thing and chopped it in against a Beemer, and forgot to tell the main stealer its many problems

    She will only drive a manual now!!!

    Now the all electric defender would also be the farmers best mate too!

  6. Thats just 3 more gears to go wrong, and as for all this synchromesh nonsense, all you need is a crash box and know how to double declutch. That even works in the snow.

  7. Nine speeds?! Is there really the need?

    Someone is bound to be working on a ten speed already – even if it’s just to reach a nice round number.

    On a more general note – I think the complexity of cars is just becoming too much. This makes them economically unviable as they get older. As motoring costs increase in other areas (fuel, insurance etc) would it not be a good idea to develop a simpler, cheaper to maintain car?

  8. Imagine if this goes wrong, which judging with Land Rover’s past reputation it might, then here come huge bills and if the car is getting on and it happens, an owner who can’t afford to fix it, then the car is scrapped. Surely six speeds is enough for any car.

  9. Just how many gears does a box need? I’m looking forward to upgrading my 3-speed 3500 to the 4-speed ex-Disco ZF lurking in my garage. That’ll be a pleasing upgrade, but surely by the time we’re moving from eight to nine we’re well into the territory of diminishing returns? The five in my 75 auto do a grand job of keeping the engine on song. I feel that gearboxes are becoming a bit like razor blades in that all these extra ratios make a great talking/selling point, but the practical benefits may be dubious. I guess my final opinion will have to wait until I’ve driven something with seven, eight or nine gears. I’ve only managed six so far.

  10. My first few cars had twice as many cylinders as gears – a ratio that is becoming ever more difficult to maintain !!!

  11. It is silly and pointless. This box will be up and down ratios on slight inclines, thus adding wear, and chewing up fuel. it’s just another excuse to jack up the price, and give me a manual gearbox any day, especially in bad weather

  12. everything is getting too complicated in cars these days my sd1 has only 3 speeds in its gm box always been geared well, even that used to be searching for the right gear when i used to tow with it.
    imagine this on the second hand market in 20 years time when things start to play up plus the cost to repair. wow.
    i bet bmw bring one out next with 10 gears lust to beat em..

  13. @ eezee…. CVTs are horrible I hate them. actually I hate Tiptronic too, just give me a bog standard auto with lock up clutches. that way I can easily limit the gear changes to a lower gear (3rd instead of 4th on an older gearbox) around town, and still have an automatic gearbox and still be able to keep the car at the speed I want. alex

  14. The people that buy Jags and Land Rovers new almost all want autos. If you do any city driving, or congested motorway driving, what would you realistically choose? My 12MY Disco has a ZF 8-Speed, so with the transfer box, that’s 16 forward gears. The main box shifts are seamless and there’s no hunting between gears. Manual selection is straight forward, if you’re so inclined. The only thing I’d change is the selector, where I’d rather have a lever in place of the Jag “knob-o-matic”.

    All the modern epicyclic boxes can skip shift, so I suspect this comment is a subtle dig at the DCT, also CVTs can be limited by the rate at which they can change ratio. Anyone have experience of the auto version of the Mark 1 BMW Mini auto, as this had a CVT, but was programmed to behave like a stepped auto.

  15. At last this terrible, old fashioned, slow changing Aisin box is thrown out of this beautiful car. I had a Freelander with the same six-speed auto gearbox from Aisin, that is in the Evoque, and I hated it every single day. If I wanted to accelerate, the automatic first was asking: Are you sure? Really? Then the car moved.

    Now I am driving a Discovery with the 8HP of ZF. What a difference!

  16. There is always the Defender for anyone looking for a simpler form of transport.

    In my eyes JLR are doing great. They are bringing out loads of very desirable new models that are a credit to the UK. In addition they directly employ nearly 25,000 people.

  17. @21 – Hear hear! Why all the whinging people? It’s a successful British designed and made car – isn’t this what the website’s all about? Leave the whinging for the Autocar forums…….

  18. I’m presuming that the ZF 9 speed is a development of the 8 speed so it may not be the reliability disaster everyone thinks it is. The ZF 8 speed is used in everything from all of JLR’s range to BMWs and even up to Bentley Continentals and the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. In America where autobox’s are pretty well universal rebuilds aren’t too expensive at circa $1500, the fact that the ZF 8 is used in so many vehicles means that it will probably be the cheapest and easiest to fix.

    • 10 years on the ZF 9 speed transaxle has proved itself to be every bit effective and reliable as the 8 speed and remains in production. The Germans do tend to know what they’re doing.

  19. @21 and @22 – no one is arguing they arent doing a sterling job for Britain and it’s workers, but this is also a car enthusiast site, and on this I think they over egging the pudding. There simply is no need for a gearbox to be so damn complex, it adds to the cost, complexity and repairability. As a car owner, this does not please me, especially as there are so many fine auto boxes already out there, and in their own cars – I just do not understand the need for it.

  20. @23 – $1500? so about £1000 – I don’t buy a car to have to spend £1000 on the bloomin gearbox? That’s ridiculous.

  21. @25 – Remember when you got your first bike? Chances are it either had 3 (Sturmey Archer) or 9 gears (derailleur). The brakes operated by 2 rubber blocks making contact with the rim. I bought brand new bike yesterday with 30 gears and hydraulic disc brakes – where this level of spec was once the exception, it’s now the norm. And all bike manufacturer’s have to offer comparable spec, or else they won’t compete in the marketplace. The same is true here with auto-boxes. Would you really spend £30k+ on a modern auto with 3/4 speeds, when the competition is offering 8/9??

  22. Automatic gearboxes are always going to divide opinion but as I am in stop-start traffic every day I can’t wait to ditch the manual and get a decent auto.

    For those complaining about the cost of auto-box rebuilds, time has moved on from the days of the Morris Marina – you want to try pricing up the cost of a dual-mass flywheel, clutch, clutch slave cylinder and starter motor in a modern manual setup. There really isn’t much difference in price, and I speak from bitter experience!

    I don’t think the fuel saving argument carries much weight anymore either…

  23. In reality a 9 speed box is no more complicated than a 6, 5 or 3 and wouldn’t cost any more to repair. Besides on modern manuals you need to drop the subframe out to change the clutch – and that’s before we get to DMFs… Can we stop whinging now?

  24. You DO NOT need 9 speeds, this is just like the stupid BHP war between Merc and BMW, my box has more than yours etc….And there is still the gap in fuel economy, and also the cost of auto vs manual, and in snow I know what I would rather have. The more ratios you add, the higher chance of it hunting up and down the box when you are trying to maintain a constant speed, and as I’ve already said, that will screw economy and add wear to the box. There is also the gap in CO emissions between manual & autos as well.

  25. @27, Simon H,

    With pushbikes generally the more gears the better (although 30 seems a lot- double the most I’ve ever had). The idea with bicycle gearing is that you maintain a cadence (ie a more-or-less fixed pedalling speed) and change the closely-ratioed gears accordingly. This is because the engine (the human rider) has an extremely limited rev band compared to an internal combustion engine.

    Car engines, even modern diesels, are much more flexible. My feeling is that 9 gears seems a little excessive. I’ve read a road test on the smaller engined XF with 8 speeds, and the writer seemed to think that there were too many gears for that particular engine, with a lot of ‘hunting’ for the right gear.

    My experience, years ago, of the VAG autobox (4 speed I think) which had a ‘learning’ function that was supposed to adjust itself to your driving style. Trouble was, that my route took me from 30mph town driving, to a short empty dual carriageway, then to single carriageway, then through a village, then onto open road. It was entertaining confusing the gearbox which couldn’t ‘understand’ why my driving styles kept altering, and it was in a constant state of flux. It was probably the only fun thing about driving that early SEAT Toledo!

  26. Simon H – 27

    I remember going from a 3 speed Sturmey Archer to a ten speed derailleur push bike – I never even used all of the ten ratios. The range yes. 1at 5th and 10th yes. The inbetween ratios? Hardly, if ever. So why have nine in a car? As commented by Yorkie surely it will spend its entire time hunting for a better ratio.

  27. Simon H, Yorkie… I’m just wondering… does increasing the number of gears actually _decrease_ the likelihood of hunting? If a box wants to be somewhere between adjacent ratios, then the likelihood of this occuring should surely be less if there are more ratios.

    That’s not to say it’s a good idea 🙂

  28. My comment was not based in whether you would use, or even need all of the gears (I do, especially on my MTB), but that fashion and market forces have pushed car makers into upping the ante with each successive model, to give them an edge over the competition. Same with twin, even triple clutch DSGs in performance cars, or those silly paddle gearboxes – for those who want/need to have the latest thing, the manufacturers must offer them, or risk being left behind. I’m not saying 9 (or 30 gears) makes any sense, just that the tech’s there, the manufacturer’s fit it to give their car a USP, and the market moves on. Simple ‘progress’. Personally I prefer a 6-speed manual gearbox me’self! 😀

  29. @31 ‘The more ratios you add, the higher chance of it hunting up and down the box when you are trying to maintain a constant speed’ – is that not the same thing as maintaining cadence?

  30. The most important thing is that they are first with a 9 speed. Given that most brand conscious purchasers are mostly concerned with willy- waving, this will get them plenty of sales.

    And presumably it’s a better box than the one it replaces, so that’s a good thing.

    I like the first paragraph of the article “should offer improved economy, reduced emissions and a quieter ride”
    Surely that can be tested and proven?!


  31. Well, I’ve driven an XJ6 with a 3-speed Borg-Warner BW66, a Mazda Xedos with a Jatco 4-speeder, a Rover 75 with a Jatco 5-speeder, and now an XJ6 of 2003 with a ZF 6 speeder, plus the wife had a rOVER 100 .


  32. Seems I can’t edit once its up on-line.

    I was going to add: –

    Wife had a Rover 100 with a Van Doorne CVT, then a Rover 25 again with a CVT, and now a VW New Beetle with what I don’t know, but its 4-speed and has a torque converter.

    Of all of these gearboxes, the only one to fail was the CVT in the Rover 25, and then it was just a bearing and cost about £300 to fix.

    The only thing that worries me is the boxes are now all controlled electronically, and if the little electric valve thingies inside get it wrong, it’s goodbye gearbox !

  33. How many ratios does an auto have to have before it is actually a CVT? Nasty things. I think there’s a conspiracy afoot to subject us all to CVT by stealth.

  34. There seems to be a lot of ill-thought comments from the pipe-‘n-slipper Morris/Wolseley owners’ club or somesuch.

    Three or four speed autos just won’t do now. OEMs are getting absolutely clobbered on CO2 emmisions and JLR, due to the nature of the vehicles it currently has on sale, is in no position to nonchalantly disregard any possible advancement in transmission hardware. This is a ZF box that will soon be taken up by many OEMs, so what is LR meant to do? Stick with a 4 speed auto just to satisfy a few luddites? Those who critcise it for possibly hunting up & down wouldn’t have driven it, so wouldn’t know.

    These cars and their sales’ successes should be celebrated, not criticsed by people who have no more understanding of transmission & driveline than I do the Mandarin language.

  35. Having had a bit of a rethink about the amount of gears in an Ewok, the nine speeder makes more sense- especially on an Ewok or Freelander type SUV. Having an extra low gear could do away with the need to have a transfer box- saving weight and not really having too much of an adverse affect on off-roading, since these cars are unlikely to ever do anything more demanding than crossing the odd muddy field anyway.

  36. The explosion in gear ratio numbers is merely to increase the (already false) mpg figures (and reduce plant food emissions) on the daft industry standard mpg tests.

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