Shortly after Lexus debuted its 8-speed automatic gearbox, rumors began flying about a rebuttal from Audi and BMW, which was no real surprise. Now, after some R & D time, Audi and BMW will both be seeing the 8-speed auto in the higher end realm of their production line.
The gearboxes will be designed and build by ZF Friedrichshafen out of Germany. The company has a long relationship with both BMW and Audi and will working closely with both manufacturers to tweak the design. No real details or specs have been released as of yet, but it should be very similar to the 6-speed automatic used in the Audi R8 or the BMW 7-Series.
Upping the number of forward gears has many benefits. From a performance aspect, the increase will reduce acceleration time and offer a more smooth transition between gears. It will also improve fuel efficiency which will in turn reduce greenhouse gases and save you some money. Tests currently being performed have yielded a fuel economy benefit of 3% for gasoline engines and 6% for diesel engines when compared to the current 6-speed. Not too bad.
Source : Auto Blog