If you study the sleek, shark-looking supercar above, you’d think that it’d have absolutely nothing in common with an early 2000s Mercedes-Benz sedan like I’ve got, save for maybe the three-pointed star they both wear. But, as it turns out, the Mercedes SLR McLaren shares an extremely vital part of its makeup with my humble daily, which basically means I’m God now.
In the early 2000s, when Chrysler was still part of Daimler, Mercedes was putting its five-speed automatic transmission, called the 5G-Tronic or the 722.6, into most of its cars.
Highly versatile, it was found in S-Classes (including the V12 models), E-Classes, C-Classes (heyo!), the SLs, SLKs, CLs, CLKs, G-Classes, a bunch of Chrysler products, like Dodges and Jeeps, Jaguars, the 996 Porsche 911 and Sprinter vans.
It’s found in my car, a 2002 Mercedes-Benz C32 AMG. I’d always wanted a sixth gear because I figured the gas mileage could be better, but after looking into this transmission, I’m actually pretty happy about it. In addition to being widely used, it was also massively overbuilt. Some estimates claimed that it could withstand a torque capacity of close to 800 lb-ft.
This came into play when the Mercedes SLR McLaren’s engineers were designing it. The SLR McLaren was noticeably different from its contemporary, the Carrera GT, because it opted for an automatic transmission instead of a manual.
In an interview with Jalopnik, a McLaren engineer said that an automatic was their primary choice because a manual transmission just couldn’t handle the torque produced by the 5.4-liter supercharged V8, which made 617 horsepower and 575 lb-ft of torque. Even by 2018 standards, that’s very impressive.
So, Mercedes dropped the 5G-Tronic into the iconic collaboration between itself and the famed British automaker. It was the more durable choice, even though by that point Mercedes had also started rolling out the 7G-Tronic 722.9 seven-speed transmission.
Mercedes gave the SLR’s five-speed the special AMG Speedshift R operating mode, which meant that drivers had the option of choosing between three manual modes.
The subsequent Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series also benefited from the five-speed. Its twin-turbocharged, 6.0-liter V12 engine produced a staggering 738 lb-ft of torque and it needed an transmission that could handle all of that power.
Eventually, Mercedes made the transition over to using the seven-speed automatic and then to the nine-speed after that, but it took a while to do so. The 5G-Tronic was too reliable and economical to give up so quickly, and it was actually used all the way up to the JK-generation Jeep Wrangler.
The point I’m trying to make is this is a godly transmission that was put into godly cars and that, by extension, makes me God. Exciting news!