The new transmission came about as part of a cooperative effort between Ford and General Motors. Ford took the engineering lead on the longitudinal 10-speed, which is designed for rear-wheel-drive applications, while GM led the development of a new lateral 9-speed for FWD vehicles. Both transmissions couple superior efficiency with higher performance, satisfying the requirements of the EPA and gearhead customers at the same time.
“The 10-speed has a greater ratio spread, which enables fuel economy in the upper gears while providing more torque multiplication in the lower gears,” says Ford Drivetrain Engineer Seth Goslowski. The F-150 Raptor’s transmission, which also finds itself in the 2017 Ford F-150 with 3.5-liter EcoBoost, was designed to fit within the same space as the F-150’s 6-speed auto and the base Camaro’s 8-speed. For that reason, and because any more speeds would increase complexity without much gain, Goslowski says we shouldn’t anticipate any more than 10 speeds in a passenger vehicle any time soon – at least not from Ford.
The Ford F-150 Raptor and Camaro ZL1 will have company soon enough in the 10-speed club; as The Detroit News reports, the new Lexus LC500 will have a similar 10-speed gearbox when it’s introduced this May, and Honda has even patented an 11-speed unit.