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Nearly 10 years ago, Ford and General Motors joined forces to develop a 10-speed automatic transmission. It’s a dramatic departure from the automatics of old. Then again, modern automatics, DCTs, and CVTs are quite the evolution from the clutch-less box you would have found in a late-1960s Chevy Camaro.

Ford Motor Company and General Motors jointly developed the 10-speed transmission for greater performance and efficiency

It’s not every day that you get a collaboration between GM and Ford. After all, the brands are natural rivals. However, the two titans did reach across the rift to engineer the 10-speed automatic. The target: each company would engineer a unique unit to improve on the six-speed autos in previous models. 

From a performance standpoint, Ford’s 10R80 transmission made the brand’s pony car much quicker. For instance, the pre-facelift S550 Mustang GT and its six-speed automatic would motivate the pony car to 60 mph in around 4.3 seconds. Quick, yes. Sub-4.0-second? No. 

A Ford 10R80 10-speed transmission.
10R80 | Ford

However, once Ford introduced a more responsive, quicker-shifting 10-speed automatic to the post-update Mustang GT, the 0-60 times changed. It was the first time a factory S550 Mustang GT hit 60 mph in under 4.0 seconds. 

What’s more, Chevy says that the Camaro ZL1’s transmission will shift up to 36 percent quicker than a PDK. That’s high praise; the PDK, or “Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe,” is one of the gold standards among industry dual-clutch boxes.

While a fixed-ratio, 10-speed automatic transmission won’t match the fuel economy of a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the units promote efficiency without sacrificing comfort or performance. 

Of course, Ford and Chevy aren’t the only companies with a bunch of gears

Car enthusiasts will take note of the fact that fewer and fewer popular vehicles offer six-speed autos. For instance, the Nissan Z employs a nine-speed unit in place of a more traditional six-speed auto. 

Further, the oft-referenced Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat packs an eight-speed ZF 8HP, a capable unit among autos. Beyond performance cars, car shoppers will find ZF 8HPs in much of Stellantis’ offerings, BMWs, Jaguars, and Land Rovers.