Automobile magazine just did their wrap-up of their long-term Charger SXT in the April issue and the 8 speed transmission wasn't exactly their favorite feature of the car. The biggest beef they had was it seemed geared too tall and was programmed to go for the highest gear possible. Obviously, that is for EPA numbers. They also remarked that the ZF unit in Audis and BMWs performed much better. As for the shifter, they didn't like it very much either. I remember when I test drove a V6 model last summer, I found the E-shifter tricky to use. Yeah, it's cool that it's all "by wire" once you get used to it, but there is something about being able to easily shift the old 5 speed in and out of park without looking at it(or the EVIC) or thinking about what button you have to push and how to pull it.
As for the cost of the NAG1, I too had read this is costing Chrysler serious cash as it is a holdout from the Daimler era. My guess is they really didn't have anything else to take it's place at the time so they really had no choice but to go with it. We'll see once the 8 speed sees use across the line-up, but right now I'm glad they stuck with the NAG1. Heck, they are putting it in the Jeep Wragler now so it must be a pretty robust unit!
2012 Charger R/T Max. Black on Black.