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      11-28-2009, 08:52 PM   #1
Driver72
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8 speed automatic transmission likely to replace current 6 speed AT across BMW range

gets a write up in the January 2010 issue of Car and Driver (page 36)

Now I'll admit, the reason I didn't get a 2010 BMW 335i coupe to replace my last 335i coupe was two fold:

1. BMW didn't give the 2010 335i Coupe the LCI treatment like they should of.
2. BMW didn't put the DCT in the 335i for 2010 like they did in Europe for 2009.

But to be honest with you, that may not matter after reading this article about the 8 speed ZF tranny that's HIGHLY likely going to go into the next 335i, replacing the current ZF 6 speed auto.

INFO FROM THE C&D ARTICLE:
  • This is the same tranny that's in the new 760Li as well as 5 series GT (and Rolls Royce's and Bentley's as well).
  • It's the same weight (200 lbs) as the current 6AT, and has an optional wet multiplate clutch pack like the new E63 AMG, or an electric motor instead of the torque converter.
  • It's said to offer up to 25% better fuel economy than the 6AT when optioned with the electric motor instead of the torque converter.
  • The new 8HP as it's called, is also 6% more efficient than the 6AT (and nearly as efficient as their own dual clutch tranny) which means, even more power to the ground, better performance and better fuel economy from just that alone.
  • The coolest part....it can handle up to 738 lbs-ft of torque. So absolutely NO worries about tranny failure when it comes to modding.

The ONLY drawback it seems is that it's 8 speeds. Which has always seemed ridiculous to me, and a complaint testers of the Lexus IS-F have had. Too many damn gears to have to paddle shift and keep track of. 6 or most 7 gears would still be sufficient and they could of made it just as strong, but 20-30 lbs less in weight that way too. Other than that, seems like this 8 speed auto is going to be a winner!
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      11-28-2009, 09:15 PM   #2
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I drove the E63 with the 7 sp version at the Petit le Mans last month. If it is the same transmission with one extra gear, you will be very pleased with it's performance. I found the unit VERY responsive and enjoyable. No interuption in power, just go, go, go.

The entire car was a real peach. Of course, for $90, it should be...

Regards,
John
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      11-29-2009, 12:14 AM   #3
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All that technology sounds great, but must it really go hand in hand with 8 speeds? It just seems like too many. Granted that may have been the reaction when the first 6 speeds came out, but still...
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      11-29-2009, 12:42 AM   #4
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8 Fooking speeds. Geez... they should have put their money into a CVT setup instead.
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      11-29-2009, 08:49 AM   #5
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i think 8 is overkill!
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      11-29-2009, 11:49 AM   #6
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Regarding CVT's I don't think they are strong enough.
And as stated in the OP, I agree, I think 8 speeds are too much.
When manuals and autos were 4 speeds, having a 5 speed was a revelation. Then when 6 speed autos AND manuals came out, it made sense for better acceleration AND better gas mileage.

Then Mercedes (I think they were first) brought us the 7 speed auto.
Personally, I don't know of too many people who thought, "awesome, 7 speeds, that's going to make a HUGE difference and is welcomed."
Mercedes skipped 6 speeds. And there 7 speed autos DID improve performance and gas mileage in their vehicle line. But would it of improved performance and gas mileage if they would of gone from a 6 speed to a 7 speed? I'm not so convinced.

Lexus wanted to upstage MB by going to the 8 speed auto.
And I don't think I've read a single review of it, where testers were rejoicing over having 8 speeds. Quite the contrary, where they've felt it too much.

So too me, nobody has "rejoiced" adding additional gears since 6 speeds have become common.

It just makes for too many gears.
4 underdriven gears
1 slightly overdriven gear (.90)
1 significantly overdriven gear (like .75) for highway crusing

I personally think that's perfect.

So IF I was to of had a say in the new ZF 8 speed auto, I would of made ALL the advancements they made with it, and all the robustness of it, and made it a new 7 speed auto AT MOST, and possibly just made it a better 6 speed auto. And in doing so, they probably could of made it 20-30 lbs lighter (since they made the new 8 speed the same weight of the current 6 speed).
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      11-29-2009, 12:15 PM   #7
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BTW this is a great gearbox, much better than other autos and one could argue that it makes the likes of the DCT redundant. It shifts in less than 80ms.
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      11-29-2009, 03:20 PM   #8
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why
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      11-29-2009, 03:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jibaholic101 View Post
why
really, it is simple - fuel economy in this new world is king; lower emissions, lower energy consumption, lower costs, etc. so, yeah BMW for leading the charge and I wish this new transmission was in my 2010 X5 35d
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      11-29-2009, 03:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Driver72 View Post
Regarding CVT's I don't think they are strong enough.
And as stated in the OP, I agree, I think 8 speeds are too much.
When manuals and autos were 4 speeds, having a 5 speed was a revelation. Then when 6 speed autos AND manuals came out, it made sense for better acceleration AND better gas mileage.

Then Mercedes (I think they were first) brought us the 7 speed auto.
Personally, I don't know of too many people who thought, "awesome, 7 speeds, that's going to make a HUGE difference and is welcomed."
Mercedes skipped 6 speeds. And there 7 speed autos DID improve performance and gas mileage in their vehicle line. But would it of improved performance and gas mileage if they would of gone from a 6 speed to a 7 speed? I'm not so convinced.

Lexus wanted to upstage MB by going to the 8 speed auto.
And I don't think I've read a single review of it, where testers were rejoicing over having 8 speeds. Quite the contrary, where they've felt it too much.

So too me, nobody has "rejoiced" adding additional gears since 6 speeds have become common.

It just makes for too many gears.
4 underdriven gears
1 slightly overdriven gear (.90)
1 significantly overdriven gear (like .75) for highway crusing

I personally think that's perfect.

So IF I was to of had a say in the new ZF 8 speed auto, I would of made ALL the advancements they made with it, and all the robustness of it, and made it a new 7 speed auto AT MOST, and possibly just made it a better 6 speed auto. And in doing so, they probably could of made it 20-30 lbs lighter (since they made the new 8 speed the same weight of the current 6 speed).
Driver72 makes some good points. I still think 8 speeds can be a very good thing, but it boils down to what ratios you choose.
Its been a while, but if I remember right, the Lexus box had too many overdrive gears, so they couldn't be used effectively in sporty driving. However, if you read the reviews of the new Porsche 7-speed Dual Clutch, magazines hail it's perfection of using most of the gears in short ratios and one tall gear.
With an eight speed tranny, it can allow several different personalities in one box. In regular drive, most BMW's start out in 2nd, for FE and cruising. DS is first gear. With this logic, you can expand that concept to have different strokes for different folks.

Bottom line, eight speed can allow for a lot more options, IF the ratios are right and software is programmed right.
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      11-29-2009, 04:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maswastage View Post
All that technology sounds great, but must it really go hand in hand with 8 speeds? It just seems like too many. Granted that may have been the reaction when the first 6 speeds came out, but still...
I agree
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      11-29-2009, 04:30 PM   #12
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I love C&D- they make something that was talked about in August seem groundbreaking months later!

BMW will have 8 speed autos across the line (replacing 6 speeds) by MY2013 (2012). This was announced back in August by ZF and BMW. Basically by time the next generation 3 comes to market every BMW model will be 8 speed.

They can build the 8 speed lighter and as cheap in the same space- improves emissions and fuel economy 2-3 percent.

Having driven this 8 speed a good deal (several k miles) I can tell you it works as advertised, no hunting and pecking, it can skip gears and with the regenerative braking it is good for a few miles per tank.

* Something you will not read in C&D is that this 8 speed will also be the first AUTOMATIC with start/stop technology and will allow BMW to use stop/start in cars of larger displacement (not just 4 cylinders) and in an automatic... This will be announced formally in the Spring.*
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      11-29-2009, 04:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mapezzul View Post
I love C&D- they make something that was talked about in August seem groundbreaking months later!

BMW will have 8 speed autos across the line (replacing 6 speeds) by MY2013 (2012). This was announced back in August by ZF and BMW. Basically by time the next generation 3 comes to market every BMW model will be 8 speed.

They can build the 8 speed lighter and as cheap in the same space- improves emissions and fuel economy 2-3 percent.

Having driven this 8 speed a good deal (several k miles) I can tell you it works as advertised, no hunting and pecking, it can skip gears and with the regenerative braking it is good for a few miles per tank.

* Something you will not read in C&D is that this 8 speed will also be the first AUTOMATIC with start/stop technology and will allow BMW to use stop/start in cars of larger displacement (not just 4 cylinders) and in an automatic... This will be announced formally in the Spring.*
Agreed on all points
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      11-29-2009, 04:53 PM   #14
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So when will we see 8 speed manuals?

lol
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      11-29-2009, 05:08 PM   #15
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If the transmission is great, then i wouldn't mind the extra gears. Also, the more fuel economy they get out of the transmission, the less they will have to get out of the engine.
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      11-29-2009, 05:11 PM   #16
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Rumor is that a strengthened version of this 8-speed automatic will be the replacement of M-DCT/SMG in the next M5 with the X6 M and X5 M engine was as well. With all the issues in M-DCT and SMGs, BMW is going back to auto slushboxes for M cars. Besides, M-DCT is not strong enough to handle the low end torque anyways.

For a torquey low-revving engine lock-up torque converted automatic make much more sense than dual-clutch automatic transmission.
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      11-29-2009, 05:16 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 330CIZHP View Post
Rumor is that a strengthened version of this 8-speed automatic will be the replacement of M-DCT/SMG in the next M5 with the X6 M and X5 M engine was as well. With all the issues in M-DCT and SMGs, BMW is going back to auto slushboxes for M cars. Besides, M-DCT is not strong enough to handle the low end torque anyways.
Wink Wink

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      11-29-2009, 05:21 PM   #18
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Guys the 8 speed is needed in this day and age of cars that make max torque from 1400rpm. You can just ignore 7th and 8th which are overdrive and overdrive overdrive gears but it does not mean that they will be lacking in pulling power with the major low down torque found in todays cars.
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      11-29-2009, 07:17 PM   #19
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Ahhh, the death of the stick shift is imminent. MB was the first to kill off the manual, and now it seems BMW is following suit. Are there any old farts out there who are going to bemoan its passing?
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      11-29-2009, 07:21 PM   #20
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Notice in the 8 speed picture from the New 5 series (F10) press release:
1. The multiple disc lock-up clutch (far left) inside the torque converter.
2. The addition of the torque converter provides additional torque multiplication under acceleration.
3. There are two overdrive ratios.

This is from the BMW F10 Press release:

"Playing a supporting role: innovative new 8-speed automatic transmission.
All new BMW 5 Series models will feature an 8-speed automatic transmission, which brings smooth shifting, sportiness and efficiency to new levels of perfection. Compared to the exemplary 6-speed automatic offered in past BMW models, the 8-speed’s “taller” cruising gears make a significant contribution to reduced fuel consumption and emissions, as well as quietness. And its wider spread of ratios from lowest to highest gear enhances acceleration and response across the range of driving speeds.

Technically speaking, this new automatic’s attributes have been achieved via an innovative concept that provides the two additional ratios (7 and 8) with no increase in bulk or weight. In an arrangement not heretofore employed in an 8-speed automatic, four planetary gearsets and five clutch packs are controlled in a way that no more than two of the five clutch packs are freewheeling at any given time. The modest increase in the number of mechanical elements allows the new transmission to achieve unusually high efficiency: the so-called “gearing efficiency” is higher than 98% in all eight gears. In 6th gear, it’s highest of all because that is direct drive, with no gearing reduction at all. Combine this with reduced friction and the ability to keep the torque converter “locked up” more of the total driving time, and the transmission becomes very much a part of the new 5 Series’ overall efficiency concept.

Two additional gears mean threefold progress: quicker shifts, greater smoothness, enhanced efficiency.
The wider spread of ratios allows the engine to run at lower speeds, mainly in the “tallest” gear, 8th. Yet even with this wider spread, the steps between adjacent gears are reduced; in turn this means a stronger, smoother flow of power during acceleration.

And for the same reason, faster shifts are a further benefit because only one clutch pack is disengaged to shift up or down by one or two gears. On the other hand, downshifting more than two gears is accomplished as a direct shift. For example, a downshift from 8th to 2nd gear is made with only one clutch pack disengagement, and thus occurs without stepping down through the intermediate gears. Thus at one instant the driver can be enjoying the quiet, fuel-efficient low rpm of 8th gear, and in the next instant getting maximum acceleration.

Manual Transmissions: Continuing a BMW tradition
BMW continues as the only manufacturer to offer manual transmissions in the 5 Series’ competitive set, underlining the sporty nature of the car, as well as BMW’s commitment to driving enthusiasts.
The 535i and 550i Sedans will be offered with a 6-speed manual transmission in the United States, providing a level of driver involvement unique in the segment."



This looks like a great combination.
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      11-29-2009, 09:16 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeN5 View Post
Ahhh, the death of the stick shift is imminent. MB was the first to kill off the manual, and now it seems BMW is following suit.
As the press release says:

"Manual Transmissions: Continuing a BMW tradition
BMW continues as the only manufacturer to offer manual transmissions in the 5 Series’ competitive set, underlining the sporty nature of the car, as well as BMW’s commitment to driving enthusiasts.
The 535i and 550i Sedans will be offered with a 6-speed manual transmission in the United States, providing a level of driver involvement unique in the segment."

p.s. Could be possible with the M cars and BMW in general since it now stands for marketing. Porsche officially is committed to furthering the manual transmission with the under-development 7 speed manual transmission for the upcoming 911 in 2012 since 80% of the Porsche 911s sold are manual transmission. PDK and automatics make up a small portion so it ain't going anywhere.

Quote:
Are there any old lazy, driving-while-coffee sipping, farts out there who are going to celebrate its passing?
Fixed. Now it is politically correct.
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      11-30-2009, 12:02 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NC Audi View Post
I drove the E63 with the 7 sp version at the Petit le Mans last month. If it is the same transmission with one extra gear, you will be very pleased with it's performance. I found the unit VERY responsive and enjoyable. No interuption in power, just go, go, go.

The entire car was a real peach. Of course, for $90, it should be...

Regards,
John
The 7 spd auto on the Merc is the best auto I have driven. Very smooth. If bmw's is anything like that the transmission will be a huge success.
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