Recognizing the growth in demand for fuel-efficient diesel engines, Honda has announced plans to launch its first automatic transmission for a diesel engine early next year. The new gearbox is set to debut in the latest Accord Euro, and unfortunately the automatic diesel option is unlikely to arrive in the North American Acura TSX saloon anytime soon. Recent reports claimed that plans to introduce a diesel TSX were put on indefinite hold at Honda.

The company is instead hoping that by including an automatic in its i-DTEC turbodiesel engine in its Accord Euro model, the car will become more appealing to a new segment of customers overseas - particularly in the corporate market where an automatic transmission is favored along with the associated high mileage of diesel.

According to Honda, who only began making diesel engines in 2004, the automatic gearbox has been developed in-house as the firm didn't want to "compromise the performance" of its engine by mating it with a non-Honda transmission.

The new five-speed unit uses the same straight gate layout and paddle shift system as seen on the Accord Euro petrol automatic earlier this year. CO2 emissions are rated at 170g/km in the saloon variant and 173-174g/km for the Touring wagon depending on the model grade. Fuel economy, meanwhile, is rated at 44.1mpg (combined) for the saloon and 42.8mpg (combined) for the Tourer.

Top speed is 129mph for the sedan and 126mph for the wagon. Peak output is rated at 134hp (100kW) and 258lb-ft (350Nm) of torque. The new automatic diesel will go on sale in Europe from January of next year.