BMW will focus on eight-speed automatic transmissions

BMW claims the ZF eight-speed automatic can compete with dual-clutch transmissions on shift times

BMW claims the ZF eight-speed automatic can compete with dual-clutch transmissions on shift times

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BMW will soon be offering a new eight-speed automatic transmission developed by ZF that is set to appear first in the 7-series flagship saloon. The new transmission is said to be both more fuel-efficient and cheaper to manufacture than the current six-speed unit, and its performance is also claimed to be comparable with the more advanced seven-speed dual-clutch unit launched last year in the M3.

Speaking with Automotive News, BMW development chief Klaus Draeger said the luxury carmaker plans to focus on automatic transmissions instead of dual-clutch units for its high-volume models.

“The eight-speed automatic that we developed with ZF can compete with dual-clutch transmissions on shifting times, but it’s lighter and more efficient and has cost advantages,” he revealed. “The incompatibility with high engine-speed designs is a disadvantage, however.”

Draeger went on to explain that dual-clutch transmissions are complex, expensive and heavy, especially for cars with longitudinally mounted engines and RWD.

ZF’s new eight-speed auto, meanwhile, has been designed for both RWD and AWD cars and will appear in several BMW and Audi models later this year. The extra cogs have the added benefit of improved fuel economy because the gearbox can better match engine speeds with the right gear since there’s more to choose from. To further enhance fuel-economy, the new ZF gearbox will also have an engine stop-start feature.

Using BMW’s own vehicle test data, ZF has found that the transmissions achieves a fuel economy benefit of 3% for gasoline engines and 6% for diesel engines over its current six-speed auto. Both the first and second generation gearboxes will be built at ZF’s Saarbrucken plant in Germany with half of these earmarked for use in BMW vehicles.
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Comments (6)
  1. “when it comes to the number of speeds, we will not be left behind by the competition.”

    How lame is that? ZF, compete with the dual-clutch if you can!
    Make the transmission lighter if you can.
    Ah, you cannot... Then just add one more gear, that easy, cheap and almost useless.

    "Both fuel consumption and shift quality between the two technologies are comparable, but standard autos suffer the prejudices of poor fuel consumption and slow shift-speeds."

    Lame again; make your mind about fuel consumption.

    Dual clutch (DSG and others) will completely eliminate this antiquated torque converter based technology. Wake up BMW, Lexus and ZF!

  2. What no 10 or 11 speed?

  3. why that many its ***! not needed

  4. azlan, if it proves to be similarly reliable and offers better performance then why not?

    This reliability is the only thing that gets me worried but at least it's an auto and you could likely get it repaired at most mechanics.

    Imagine taking a dual-clutch jobbie down to the local workshop. As cars get more complicated customers are only going to get more shafted as we'll all be forced to take them to expensive dealer style service stations for maintenance and repair.

  5. ^
    Well if i owned a transmission with dual clutches or more than 6 gears. Then chances are it's probaly a pretty high end vehicle. And i probaly would let the dealer repair it even if it costs double the price. I still take my honda accord to the dealer to repair it even though my warranty is over.

  6. justinhk2000, I don't know where you live but where I do dealers charge a fortune for non-warranty repairs compared to non-franchise mechanics. I wouldnt be happy at all to pay double the price but that's just me.

    Dual-clutch gearboxes are becoming much more common, especially in VW cars, and my fear is owners of second hand cars like in 5 or 6 years.

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