Mercedes-Benz has revealed details of its new nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission this week, bound for Australian models in the coming year.
For now, the new transmission is available in just one model: the E 350 Bluetec, which is not available in Australia's newly streamlined E-Class range.
But, while a local return for the E 350 (it and the E 500 were replaced here by the E 400) is under consideration, we can expect the new shifter to replace the current 7G-tronic across the E-Class range in 2014.
News of the 9G-Tronic unit came earlier this year, when the carmaker confirmed the nine-speed transmission will feature across the recently revealed S-Class range.
The new transmission can be equipped in rear- and all-wheel-drive models, and Mercedes says it has also focused on hybrid and plug-in hybrid applications.
The 9G was developed primarily to improve fuel economy. In the case of the E 350, the broader gear ratio spread (9.15 from gears one to nine) sees revs sitting at around 1350rpm when cruising at 120km/h.
The carmaker also claims an improved fuel consumption rating of 5.3 l/100km, down from 5.5 l/100km with the 7G-tronic transmission.
The transmission also offers a manual mode for drivers seeking a more spirited drive, and Mercedes says it has optimised the unit for swift changes and gear jumping in acceleration and deceleration.
Mercedes is not the only carmaker boosting the number of gears in its top models, either.
Specialist ZF has already debuted its new nine-speed transmission, and confirmed customers include Land Rover, Chrysler and Honda.