Here is my two cents on the trannys
2011 laredo E (My Mother's car) has the US built 5 speed it feels like it is set up to shift to the the next highest gear as soon as possible.
2012 Laredo X (My car) has the german built 5 speed it feel more like it holds the lowers gears at lower speed and feels like it downshift faster than the 2011 US built tranny when decelerating.
Now for the 8 speed.
I have looked at operating diagram of the 8 speed tranny and my biggest maintenance worry is the chain driven pump. I can forsee long term issues with having to change the chain, sprocket or both.
I would feel more comfortable with knowing what types of alloy the chain and sprocket are made out of. (I guess it just looks too simple and frail, knowing that an automatic tranny is still heavily reliant on fluid pressure I am look for a more stout build up of a key component)
With that said the 8 speed will transform the perfomance of the WK2 because it will provide for lower gear ratios when needed and that is what is going to improve the acceleration times and overall driveability of the WK2 and with any luck with will also get auto-stick functionality as well.
Don't let the promise of progress deter you from enjoying the 5 speed tranny WK2
Coming from a 2004 VW Touareg with the 6 speed tranny the difference I see is the 5 speed doesn't have the Lower 1st and 2nd gears set up.
You can buy a Jeep with a 5 speed tranny that has been in service since 1997 and proven, or take your chances with a newish 8 speed that will have some teething issues because it is so radically different and still not fully deployed throughout differnt automobiles.
Last edited by Jeep_addicted; 01-05-2012 at 07:17 AM.