According to GM’s online order guide, the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu will be debuting GM’s new nine-speed automatic transmission. Though not all Malibu’s will gain the extra gears. Apparently only the Malibu Premier will have the nine-speed, while the rest of the Malibu lineup will retain today’s six-speed fare.
Today the all-new Malibu Premier features GM’s eight-speed automatic, so technically the car is only gaining one gear. However, the story here is in the debut of the new nine-speed transmission itself. This is the unit that was co-developed between GM and Ford Motor Company, an alliance that began back in 2013. The ten-speed automatic featured in the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor and 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was also co-developed between the two Detroit automakers.
GM has deployed this strategy with new transmissions in the past. Back in 2008 the Malibu LTZ launched GM’s six-speed automatic. The company tends to leverage this trickle-down approach to accommodate the ramp-up of production of the new transmission.
In addition to the new transmission, Malibu Premier will see its final drive ratio change from 3.08 to 2.89. It is unknown what impact the new transmission will have on fuel economy ratings, however a slight boost can likely be expected.