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Mercedes officially announces new nine-speed gearbox

by Drew Johnson

Mercedes has officially launched a new nine-speed transmission.

One day after it quietly appeared on the company's German Web site, Mercedes-Benz has released full details for its new 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic gearbox.

The new nine-speed unit, which uses a conventional torque converter, is now available as standard in Mercedes' European-spec E350 BlueTEC sedan and wagon. Mercedes says the nine-speed delivers better fuel economy and fewer emissions than the seven-speed unit it replaces.

Despite having two more cogs than its predecessor, the 9G-TRONIC is the same size as Mercedes' 7G unit. The 9G is lighter than the outgoing seven-speed.

Thanks to its two extra gears, the E350 BlueTEC can loaf along at just 1,350rpm at 75mph. As a result, cabin noise has been reduced by up to 4 decibels.

Mercedes hasn't announced where the 9G-TRONIC might land next, but the unit is designed to handle up to 737 lb-ft of torque, so pretty much any vehicle in the Mercedes lineup would be fair game.

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