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Mercedes E-Class first with nine-speed auto

Nine lives: European versions of the new Benz E-Class get a groundbreaking nine-speed automatic.

Australia waits as Mercedes 9G-Tronic gearbox debuts on E350 V6 diesel, for starters

29 Jul 2013

MERCEDES-BENZ has introduced a groundbreaking new nine-speed automatic transmission on the E-Class in Europe ahead of its introduction across a wide range of models sold in Australia and abroad in the near future.

The German luxury car-maker is initially offering the 9G-Tronic transmission in the E350 BlueTec sedan and wagon, which supersedes the previous seven-speed auto – still in service across other model lines – and combines with its 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine.

However, Mercedes has confirmed the in-house-developed 9G-Tronic, which is suitable for rear-wheel-drive and AWD applications as well as hybrid and plug-in hybrid drive systems, “will be used in almost all model series and engines in the coming years”.

It is capable of handling up to 1000Nm of torque, indicating it will also feature on high-performance engines built in conjunction with AMG.

The 9G-Tronic’s introduction on the E-Class makes it a world-first application of a nine-speed automatic in a rear-wheel-drive sedan.

It is not, however, the first nine-speed auto in the industry, with ZF having already developed a self-shifting gearbox with this many ratios for brands including Land Rover and Jeep.

Mercedes says the 185kW/620Nm E350 BlueTec with 9G-Tronic can return NEDC combined-cycle fuel economy of 5.3 litres per 100km (Estate: 5.5L/100km) and CO2 emissions of 138 grams per kilometres (Estate: 144g/km).

According to the car-maker, a broad gear ratio spread, shorter shift reaction times and lower engine speeds reduce fuel consumption, while lightweight and compact construction means the new transmission requires no more space than its predecessor.

As well as improved fuel efficiency, the new transmission is reported to increase passenger comfort with smoother gear changes and reduced interior and exterior engine noise.

A new transmission control system allows several gears to be jumped when downshifting to allow optimum engine speed and power to be reached quickly when required.

Mercedes Benz Australia has not yet confirmed the E350 BlueTec for Australia, but senior manager of corporate communications David McCarthy said that he was hopeful the variant will be introduced and was confident the 9G-Tronic will appear in other models in time.

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