General Motors will introduce its new nine-speed automatic transmission on 10 models by the end of 2017, the automaker announced today. The Hydra-Matic 9T50, co-developed by Ford and GM, will make its debut on four Chevy-brand models, including the 2017 Malibu, through the end of next year.
The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu is the first bow-tie model to offer the nine-speed. The new transmission in the Malibu comes paired with a 2.0-liter turbo-four and increases fuel economy by 3 percent over the 2016 Malibu with the six-speed automatic. Other Chevy models destined to receive the new transmission include the 2017 Cruze Diesel and 2018 Equinox.
At this time, GM isn’t saying which other models will receive the transmission. But we do know the transverse nine-speed comes nicely packaged with all its gears in line with the crankshaft, as well as GM’s first selectable one-way clutch, which helps hold torque and conserves space.
The nine-speed has a wider 7.6:1 overall ratio, the difference between the first gear and the top gear, compared to the 6.0:1 ratio of the six-speed. A “deep” 4.69 first gear is said to boost off-the-line acceleration, while a “tall” 0.62 top gear is ideal for low-rpm highway driving.
Don’t get this unit confused with GM’s new 10-speed auto, which was also developed in conjunction with Ford. That transmission is used for the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 as well as the Ford F-150 EcoBoost 3.5 and Raptor. A whole host of other GM models are expected to receive the 10-speed by 2018, GM has said.