New Uses for the Nine-Speed
The news from GM is more than a bit exciting as the confirmation of the new Buick Regal TourX wagon is more than just confirmed. The CARB documents that confirm the approval of the powertrain offered for this new vehicle make it all but a realty. We’ll get a look at this new Regal in Michigan on April 4th, but until then there’s still something interesting going on with regards to the transmissions being used and the engine choices. While the main engine has been approved we’re not sure what else will be offered.
Right now it appears the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that can provide upwards of 250 horsepower is the main choice for the new Regal TourX. This car is expected to be offered with two different layouts, one a FWD version and the other an AWD model. The FWD versions of this car are expected to use the new nine-speed automatic 9T50 transmission that was developed jointly with Ford. The AWD models will use the Aisin AF50 eight-speed transmission that’s been part of the GM family for some time now. This may be a bit of an oddity, but it sounds like the direction that GM is planning to go with this new version of the Regal.
While GM has stated the in-house made transmission would save money the eight-speed will still be the choice for the AWD models. This seems strange since the nine-speed automatic is planned and will be built in the San Luis Potosi plant in Mexico. Once built, these transmissions will be shipped to the Opel facility in Germany to be installed in the Regal TourX models that will be brought to the US for sale. This makes the choice of the Aisin transmission an odd one, considering GM deleted it form the Malibu models in favor of the new 9T50.
There’s also a rumor that the new Regal will eventually add a V6 engine to the lineup. This will keep it in the same group as its direct competitors but we haven’t seen the 9T50 being used in any V6 engines to this point. There is also a rumor that a diesel engine could also be under consideration for some of the later models of the Regal, but the CARB documents didn’t contain any information regarding either of these engines which makes it seem like a rumor that may take some time to come true.
The new 9T50 transmission is expected to be used in at least ten models by GM before the end of this year, but so far this has only been announced in four models. Those four are the Chevrolet Cruze with the 1.6-liter diesel engine, the Chevrolet Equinox with the 2.0T engine, the Chevrolet Malibu with the 2.0T engine an d the GMC Terrain that uses the 1.5T engine. Neither Ford nor GM has said anything concrete about using this transmission with a V6 engine to date, but it certainly could be a possibility.
What the new Regal and new Regal TourX have under the hood when all is said and done is still up in the air, but if the Regal does gain a diesel engine it may be the same one used by Opel which is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that could use the 9T50 transmission. We’ll just have to wait and see what GM plans to do with the 9T50 and find out whether or not we’ll ever see a V6 with this transmission that’s built to be the best FWD transmission that’s ever been offered on the automotive market. As more information develops we’ll keep you posted regarding the developments.