A nine-speed automatic transmission introduced in Germany in the Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec is likely to reach the local E-Class range in 2014.
As reported by the UK’s Autocar, Mercedes-Benz quietly replaced the current seven-speed auto with the new 9G-Tronic gearbox as standard equipment in the 185kW/620Nm twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 diesel-powered E350 BlueTec.
The report says the manufacturer’s German language website configurator lists the new in-house-manufactured transmission as reducing combined cycle fuel consumption in the model from 5.5L/100km to 5.3 L/100km. Emissions from CO2 are also said to fall from 144g/km to 138g/km.
While the new gearbox’s two additional ratios and further refinement of stop-start technology lead to improved efficiency, the report says the E350 BlueTec’sofficial 0-100km/h time remains at 6.6 seconds.
The nine-speed transmission will reportedly be available as an option in the UK from 2014, and is also expected to take over from the seven-speed unit across the facelifted E-Class range in Australia in late 2014.
Whether the gearbox features in other models such as the new S-Class will depend on which powertrains the transmission can support, but given it will likely transfer the E300 BlueTec Hybrid’s combined diesel-electric output of 169kW and 780Nm, its flexibility seems assured.
Another E-Class update reported by Autocar includes the E220 BlueEfficiency Edition trading its six-speed auto for the 7G-Tronic unit to the benefit of fuel consumption and CO2 figures, as well as EU6 emission compliance.
A new E200 NGD (Natural Gas Drive) model has also been introduced, powered by the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine from the B200 NGD. With 113kW and 270Nm, the E200 NGD hits 100km/h in a claimed 10.4 seconds while using an equivalent of 6.3L/100km on the combined cycle.