• Mercedes says new 9-speed automatic is coming
  • Benefits fuel economy, reduces cabin noise
  • Mercedes hasn't announced which model receives the transmission first

Mercedes-Benz has officially announced plans to install a 9-speed automatic transmission in its upcoming models. The brand recently revealed several details about the transmission, dubbed 9G-TRONIC, ahead of its official launch.

According to Mercedes, 9G-TRONIC offers several benefits over today's 7-speed automatic. One is fuel economy. With nine gears, the new transmission can cruise at a lower engine speed than a 7-speed transmission. The brand hasn't announced what fuel economy benefits it expects from the 9-speed, but we wouldn't be surprised if it offered vehicles a few more miles per gallon.

The new transmission also benefits gas mileage in another way. Despite adding two extra gears, the 9-speed has the same dimensions as the 7-speed -- and a lower overall weight. That means Mercedes models using the 9-speed won't gain weight -- or require extra engineering -- to accommodate the new gearbox.

Another benefit of the 9-speed is reduced cabin noise. Thanks to its nine gears, cars equipped with the new transmission can cruise at just 1,350 rpm when going 75 miles per hour. Mercedes says that should translate to a 4-decibel reduction in cabin noise.

While Mercedes has not announced which U.S. model will first receive the 9-speed transmission, the automaker says European drivers already can order it in the E350 BlueTEC sedan and station wagon. While the E350 BlueTEC sedan is offered here, American versions don't have the new transmission yet.

But when it does arrive stateside, the transmission will likely be the first 9-speed unit available in a production car. It won't have that title for long, however, as several other models -- including the upcoming Jeep Cherokee and the Range Rover Evoque -- reportedly are being updated to a 9-speed automatic soon.

What it means to you: As you consider your next luxury car, remember that the fuel-saving 9-speed automatic from Mercedes-Benz may be available not far in the future.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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