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Report: Mercedes-Benz Working On Nine-Speed Automatic

 
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Mercedes-Benz automatic transmission

Mercedes-Benz automatic transmission

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Yes, you read that title correctly. According to latest reports coming out of the UK Mercedes-Benz is looking to one-up the competition with the release of a nine-speed automatic gearbox. The automaker is reportedly in the process of designing the new gearbox, which it plans to use for its large-capacity engines.

The information comes from a senior source at Mercedes-Benz who revealed to Autocar that the new gearbox design will offer significant improvements to fuel economy and CO2 emissions. Closest rivals Audi, BMW and Lexus already use eight-speed gearboxes, and some even have faster shifting dual clutch units.

If dual clutch transmissions can shift faster than automatics, and have also been shown to be more fuel efficient, than why would an automaker like Mercedes-Benz go to the trouble to design a new nine-speed automatic? That’s because conventional automatics have some clear advantages over dual clutch units; they tend to be lighter, more reliable, less complex and cheaper to manufacture.

Simply adding an extra gear is no easy task, however, and Mercedes-Benz is unlikely to go further with anymore gears. According to the source, nine ratios are the maximum that is technically possible, as well as being the most that customers will be able to cope with.

Of course, all this remains speculation as Mercedes-Benz is yet to confirm any of the details.

[Autocar]



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Comments (7)
  1. ohh geez when will it end... if there gonna go wild on the amount of gears they should just make one big gear for complete smoothness =]
     
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  2. On the current 7-speed box, I vote for another overdrive gear above 5th and one more between 3rd and 4th.
     
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  3. This seems a bit excessive ... does 9 really add any benefits ... especially when compared to the up-front cost?
     
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  4. In related news, Mercedes-Benz is now transitioning from automatic gearboxes to CVTs as a way to increase fuel economy and reduce emissions. After all, who in their right mind would enjoy actually hearing the engine run through its rev range? True driving enjoyment is getting 10% fuel economy, everybody knows that.
     
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  5. Maybe it's going to be an option later to the SLS but I doubt it.
     
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  6. gojira: the benefits of a 9 speed are 3-fold, reduced emissions, improved fuel mileage and a heightened sense that the car has effortless power to the driver. A nine speed allows the engine to operate in its most efficient and relatively narrow, RPM range.
    To CamaroFan's point, a significant segment of the buyers of luxury cars don't want to hear or feel the engine. In addition they don't want crisp, quick gear changes, they want the tranny to slip softly into the next gear so as not to disturb the driver and passengers in their isolated reverie.
     
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  7. Ha! My bicycle will STILL have more gears! This is getting ridiculous; I remember when a "performance" car had a 5-speed manual, and Mercedes' automatic had 4 gears. How much smoother can a 9 speed be than an 8 speed? Will the drivers actually notice the difference? Why not build an engine with a wider torque curve, rather than more gears to compensate for an engine with a narrow one?
     
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