Lexus LS460 is the first car with an eight-speed gearbox. Then the IS-F that was launched at Detroit Auto Show has also an eight-speed gearbox. So it was about time for BMW to create a competition for that.

They are planning to develope g the transmission for market launch by 2009 or 2010, according to consultancy CSM Worldwide. That is about the time BMW is due to debut a new generation of its upper-premium 7 series.

For its eight-speed transmission, "ZF has made quite a few modifications to its six-speed transmission to improve fuel economy and reduce manufacturing costs," London-based CSM powertrain analyst Chris Guile told Automotive News Europe. The transmission almost certainly will go into upcoming BMW models, Guile said.

BMW spokesman Wieland Bruch said: "We are already working on the next generation of automatic transmissions, and when it comes to the number of speeds, we will not be left behind by the competition."

Source: Automotive News

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