News: Mercedes-Benz to Introduce 9-Speed Automatic on 2014 E-Class Models

2014 mercedes-benz e-class

It seems just a short while ago when the auto world was in awe of Lexus’ ¬†groundbreaking 8-speed automatic in their LS flagship sedan. Fast forward just a few years, and 8-speeds have become the industry standard, providing both fuel economy and performance for customers. The “gear wars” are slated to continue, however, after Mercedes-Benz announced this week that the European-spec 2014 E350 Bluetec will come standard with a 9-speed automatic unit.

Built by the famed transmission maker ZF, the newest transmission in the Mercedes lineup is called the 9G-Tronic, and it represents the first 9-speed auto available on the mass market. ¬†Although the 9-speed 2014 Jeep Cherokee and Range Rover Evoque are not far behind. ¬†Though the 9G-Tronic unit leaves the E350 Bluetec’s 0-60 time untouched at 6.6 seconds, it significantly affects fuel economy over the 7-speed unit–city numbers jump from 34.1 to 36.7 MPG, and highway numbers increase from 42.8 to 44.4 MPG thanks to the extra gear ratios.

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Mercedes executives were very shy about the announcement of the new transmission. The development was officially denied until this past weekend, when the 9G-Tronic unit appeared on the Mercedes website as an E-class option for the German market. The modest announcement was most likely to keep unnecessary hype and press at bay.

The 9G-Tronic unit is currently available only on the European-spec E350 Bluetec with the 3.0-liter diesel, but not on any North American Mercedes products. However, with other 9-speed autos from other European makers (namely, Land Rover) soon on their way to the US, expect the 9G-Tronic unit to be available within the next year on much of the Mercedes-Benz lineup.

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Take a look at the TFLcar.com video of this year’s debut of the 5 new 2014 E-class models.