Does Mercedes Benz use manual transmission?

This article will answer the following questions: Does Mercedes Benz use manual transmission? What are the manual transmissions in Mercedes Benz? Is the Mercedes Manual gearbox better than the automatic gearbox?

Does Mercedes Benz use manual transmission?

Mercedes Benz uses manual transmission in very few models like the A-class and B class compact cars. However, the company is more focused on the electric drivetrain and Mercedes Benz will discontinue the manual gearbox completely by the end of 2014.

Mercedes Benz is planning to shift entirely to a fully electric drivetrain by 2040, to manufacture sustainable cars in future. Manual transmission is much smaller and simpler than Automatic transmission but the demand for cars with Manual transmission has been going down since 2012. Mercedes Benz engines are also developing more torque because of direct injection and forced air induction, manual gearbox simply cannot transfer the same level of torque and keep the overall production cost less. 

The last manual transmission used by Mercedes Benz was in the C class 2014 models with a 4 cylinders engine M271. After launching the fifth generation of the C class with model series W205 in 2014, Mercedes Benz no longer uses manual transmission from the C class onwards. 

The cost of the Mercedes Benz cars in the domestic, as well as international market, is very high so naturally, new customers want the comfort of automatic transmission. Only the base level models in the new generation cars like A, B, CLA, GLA manual transmission are mated with the 1.3-litre engine.

The 1.3 litres petrol engine is developed in a partnership with Nissan and Renault automobile companies. Mercedes Benz, Nissan and Renault use the M282 engine in most of their compact cars. The power developed by the small turbocharged engine is between 100- 150 horsepower and manual transmission can easily handle the torque up to 300 Nm.

In the diesel variants, OM654q is mounted transversely with a slightly modified timing case cover. The displacement of the OM654 is also 1.4 litres compared to 2.0 litres in its longitudinally mounted version in the C class. 

Mercedes Benz cars with a manual transmission are only popular amongst car enthusiasts, who want to feel more connected to the vehicle. In the 1970s, the AMG company before merging into Mercedes Benz sold specially manufactured manual transmissions for models like the SL, S class and the W124. Quite a lot of customers liked the Manual transmission but it remained a novelty and the manual transmission mode never outsold models with an automatic transmission.

What are the manual transmissions used in Mercedes Benz?

Mercedes Benz was never popular for its quality of manual transmissions. Initially, the company sold most of its manual transmission models in the domestic market. Mercedes Benz had only 5 different manual transmissions and the manual transmissions were identified by numbers 711/71X. The number for automatic transmission starts with 722. 

Following are the different manual transmissions used in Mercedes Benz

It is the first manual transmission used in the Mercedes 170 model series W136 that was produced between 130 -150. The 4-speed manual transmission was mated to an inline 4 cylinder engine which produced 37 bhp. The engine and transmission were mounted on rubber mounts which greatly improved the NVH levels of the W136 and it set a standard for comfort levels in Mercedes Benz.

Out of the 4 speeds, only the third and 4 gears had synchronizers, the first two gears did not use a synchromesh ring. Drivers had to use double-declutching and match the engine speeds before downshifting into the lower gears otherwise they risk causing permanent damage to the manual transmission

  • Manual transmission 711

The Mercedes Benz 4 speed 711 transmission was more modern and allowed for a smooth gear shift and higher power output. It was used in the 240 GD, 300GD and 28- GE, the bell housing if the transmission was cast in the lightweight alloys and there were 4 forward gears with one reverse gear.

Since the 711 was mostly utilised in the SUV class, there was no overdrive in the manual transmission.

  • Manual transmission 716/717

The 716 and 717 were 4 and 5-speed manual transmissions used in the W126, W124, W201 and later in some G wagon models. The 717 also had 5 forward gears and 5 gears were used as overdrive which reduced the overall fuel consumption. Both the transmissions were produced between 1980 -1999. 

All the gears had synchronised so there were no major problems in the gearbox. W126 was offered in a 4-speed automatic and 5-speed manual gearbox but in markets like the US, the only automatic gearbox was available. Few customers even decided to convert their automatic gearbox in W124 to a manual gearbox because of its reliability and low cost of maintenance.

  •  G56 manual transmission

The g56 manual transmission is a 6-speed gearbox specially designed to withstand high input torque. It was suitable for large capacity diesel engines and mostly used in pickup trucks and SUVs. The gear ratio of the G56 is more suitable for highway cruising. The G56 gearbox used an aluminium casing and all gears were synchronised, even the reverse gear. 

It was mostly manufactured in Brazil and originally intended to be used in light diesel pick-up trucks before Mercedes Benz started to use it in the G class.

The majority of the manual transmissions were manufactured by Getrag which was founded in 1935 in Germany. The 5 speed 717 manual transmission was also known as a dog-legged gearbox due to its shift pattern and position of reverse gear. Unlike the conventional shift pattern dog, the legged gearbox has a reverse gear in the position of the first gear.

Is the Mercedes Benz manual transmission better than the automatic transmission?

Mercedes Benz used 4-5 speed manual transmission in the passenger cars. Manual transmissions connected between the engine and the final drive had different gear ratios, the driver had to select the optimum gear according to the driving situation and keep the engine at the correct engine speed.

The clutch connected to the flywheel consists of a friction and pressure plate; the driver can engage and disengage the input shaft of the manual transmission from the output shaft of the engine. This reduces the strain on the gears and allows smooth gear shifts.

Different gears can be selected with the help of the shifter forks connected to the gear stick via various linkages and Bowden cables. Synchromesh rings ensure the speed of input to different gears is matched before the gears are engaged, this also protects damage to the transmission.

The transmission fluid capacity of the manual transmission is also significantly less than the automatic transmission as the size is small and fewer parts need lubrication. The automatic transmission uses a torque converter which takes up to 4 litres of transmission fluid. Therefore the cost of maintenance of the automatic transmission is very high.

There is an independent electro-hydraulic controller unit in the automatic transmission which controls solenoids on the hydraulic valve body. Depending on the speed of the input shaft, the control unit can pressurise different clutch packs to engage or brake different planetary gears in the automatic transmission housing and produce different gear ratios.

Although manual transmissions are smaller and much simpler in construction they simply cannot be used with engines producing a high level of torque. Automatic transmissions offer much more smooth gearshifts and reduce driving strain on the customers, especially in stop and go city traffic. 

Many modern automatic transmission has a crawl function built into them so that vehicle can be easily manoeuvred in tight spaces and Mercedes Benz also has paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. Customers can use the paddle shifters and control the gears like a manual transmission. Therefore, automatic transmissions are better than manual transmissions. 

Other articles about Mercedes Benz you may be interested in

What are the different classes of Mercedes Benz?

Which is more reliable, Mercedes or BMW?

Is it possible to buy a Mercedes From Germany?


Mercedes Benz sold very few models in the international markets with manual transmission and the demand for new models with manual transmission is not there. Mercedes Benz also manufactures great dual-clutch automatic transmissions which utilise the simplicity of manual transmission and comfort of automatic transmission.