This month, we uncover five things about ZF's nine-speed gearbox - the first modern passenger car automatic transmission with nine gears
July 2014: Five things you didn't know about ZF's nine-speed gearbox PHOTO:

ZF is the first transmission manufacturer worldwide to develop a modern passenger car automatic transmission with nine gears. Here are five things you didn't know about it.

1. ZF has managed to cram four gear sets and six shift elements into a space just 363mm wide - typical of a front transverse layout, which involves squeezing the transmission in between the engine block and the front suspension.

2. With a net weight of 86kg (including oil), the gearbox can handle a maximum input torque of 480Nm. Compared with other six-speed transmissions in the same torque category, it is still considerably lighter.

3. As long as the driver allows it to, the gearbox's shifting strategy always keeps the engine speed as low as possible, which results in better fuel efficiency.

4. The sophisticated Electronic Control Unit (ECU) - developed and constructed by ZF entirely for the first time - adjusts the transmission's shifting behaviour to suit each individual's driving behaviour. Therefore, sensors gather huge amounts of information on current driving conditions and the driver's style.

5. Designed for vehicles with transverse engines and front or four-wheel drive, the ZF nine-speed automatic transmission can be installed in 75 percent of all cars worldwide.