The fight against emissions and fuel consumption means too may forward ratios are never enough, and Mercedes-Benz is reportedly the latest to squeeze another gear into one of its automatic transmissions.
A patent application by the German carmaker, unearthed by Auto Guide, has attempted to lock in the “8G-Tronic” name, which would accompany the company’s existing 9G- and 7G-Tronic transmissions.
As the name suggests, the transmission would most likely be an eight-speed automatic, in the same way that the 7G and 9G also indicate the number of gears available to the driver.
Whether Benz wants to slot the eight-speeder into its range or use it to replace the 7G transmission is unclear. As mentioned, the never-ending chase for lower emissions may force Benz’s hand and the seven-speed auto’s days may be numbered.
An eight-speed auto could also bring plenty of Mercedes models into line with the remaining pair from Germany’s ‘big three’ - BMW and Audi.
Look for new eight-speed autos in the A-, B-, CLA- and GLA-Class ranges, and maybe others, should the new transmission come to be.
Of course, Mercedes may simply be looking to protect the 8G-Tronic name in case it decides to use the tag in the future. Time will tell.