In 1997 Mercedes introduced the five speed auto gearbox. At those years, sending and receiving text message was a distinctive feature in mobile phones. And Walkman was still popular, actually nobody ever considered MP3 as a future threat at those years. Five speed auto was something really amazing and exciting at those years and Mercedes offered this technology nearly in whole model range starting from A-Class. At the same time, rest of the world were struggling with four speed auto. I know many people don’t care about one extra gear but that extra gear means, extra efficiency, better acceleration, less noise and low emission.
These good advantages of five speed auto gearbox stuck too much with Mercedes products. Walkman disappeared from the world, MP3 players are the most important gadget, mobile phones are capable of doing nearly everything. The world has changed but Mercedes insisted to use this old technology. But in 2003, they introduced 7 speed auto (7G Tronic) for V6 and V8 engines and the rest of the small engines left with pre-historic technology.
Now BMW, Audi and VW offers 8 speed auto. Yes, eight speed! This means, they have better fuel efficiency, better acceleration, less noise and less emission than equivalent Mercedes. Hopefully Mercedes realized this problem and introduced 7G Tronic Plus. The difference of Plus version is the capability of start/stop function in an auto gearbox. And they introduced in four cylinder new CLS. The CLS 250 CDi is a four cylinder engine which available in C and E classes and coupled with 7 speed new technology gearbox.