& AUBURN HILLS, MI– BMW and Audi are looking to
ZF Friedrichshafen AG, a worldwide supplier of driveline and chassis technology, to develop eight-speed transmissions as early as 2009, according to www.motortrend.com. And due to longer gear ratios, its unit will offer 14 percent better fuel economy than a regular five-speed auto.
Due to cost, the eight-speed will only be offered in top-line models at first, but should make its way across each automaker’s lineup as it becomes more affordable. BMW is supposedly readying the unit for its new 7 Series in 2010, and will add it to the X6 SAC as well. Speculation is that Audi could make the transmission available in the A8 and Q7 SUV by 2009, as well as Ingolstadt’s answer to the Mercedes CLS, the new A7 four-door coupe, Motor Trend reported.