The GM Propulsion Systems folks (née Powertrain—they’re now ready for warp drives or whatever comes next) sort of “soft-launched” the nine-speed automatic they joint-developed with Ford at the Chevrolet Equinox introduction last September. This week an official coming-out party for the new tranny was staged, at which we learned a lot more about the transmission and even got a chance to take a spin in a 2017 Chevrolet Malibu 2.0-liter turbo equipped with the 9T50E.
- Relative to the Aisin Warner F8F45 eight-speed automatic fitted to 2016 Malibu 2.0Ts, GM Propulsion says the 9T50 improves fuel efficiency by 2 percent by allowing the engine to spend a bit more time in its efficiency sweet spot.
- GM claims the 9T50 spends between 13 and 52 percent of its time in ninth gear on the FTP and US06 tests that determine those EPA numbers.
- As the Dexron-VI transmission fluid heats up and expands, an active oil management system stores excess fluid in a tank on the side of the valve body to prevent any of the spinning parts from contacting the oil in the sump.
“My one request to the transmission team on hand was that they find a corner of one of the fuel-efficiency screens in the driver-information center to display the current gear.”