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According to a recent report, Mercedes is developing a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Dubbed 9G-Tronic, the gearbox will offer improved fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions compared to the seven-speed 7G-Tronic. It will be used on large displacement engines and possibly debut on the redesigned 2012 S-Class.

Going forward, Mercedes apparently believes nine gears is the maximum number of ratios that are technically possible. More importantly, the company thinks consumers won't accept a ten-speed unit.

As you may recall, the 7G-Tronic was the first seven-speed automatic transmission when it was introduced in 2003. In recent years, it has been outclassed by the new 8-speed ZF transmission used by Audi and BMW.

Gallery: Mercedes developing 9-speed automatic transmission - 9G-Tronic

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