Four-speed transmissions were replaced by five-speeds, then six, seven and now the eight-speed gearbox is king of the hill for automakers. Amazingly, eight gears might be a thing of the past, as Mercedes-Benz is working on a nine-speed transmission for its high-output, large-displacement engines.
But why stop at nine? Why not jump the gun to ten? The Mercedes engineers believe that nine ratios is the most a gearbox could handle. They even added that they feel it is the most a customer can handle as well. This nine-speed automatic will offer more than just an extra gear. Automatic transmissions are lighter, more reliable, less complex, and cheaper to manufacture than the dual clutch transmissions even though the dual clutch trannys can typically shift faster and are more fuel efficient than automatics.
Of course, we don’t know this for sure since Mercedes is keeping their press mouth shut for the time being. We’ll keep you posted on any other developments we find.