• Feb 2nd 2009 at 6:32PM
  • 31
Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2009 BMW 750i

In the fierce competition between luxury automakers, every detail is a potential battlefield, including the number of forward ratios in an automatic transmission. Mercedes-Benz struck first with its seven-speed automatic, which prompted eight-speed responses from Lexus, along with BMW, Audi and even Hyundai. These slushboxes are packed with technology and can either rifle off extremely fast up- and downshifts or coddle their occupants with velvety smooth transitions.

The newest front, though, replaces the traditional torque converter with a set of clutches that hand off gearchanges from one to the next in a fraction of a second. While these new dual-clutch gearboxes are a performance home run, they are still more costly and complex than their more traditional automatic brethren, so it's not surprising to hear that the famous Bavarian automaker is sticking with the tried-and-true autobox in its volume sellers, for now at least.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Honestly, it's not surprising at all. This is the company who brought us SMG and who's not doing so hot right now, certainly not flush with cash like VAG, so it makes sense they'd be taking whatever route they can to maximize declining profits. The complexity argument, from the company who brought us IDrive, doesn't make a whole lot of sense, especially given their complementary maintenance cycles. I’ve driven the IS-F, it’s the fastest slush box I’ve had the fortune of flogging around a track, I’ll never prefer a traditional auto to DSG, it’s slow, the hunting for gears is more noticeable, and it’s just not meant for spirited driving the way DSG is (yes I realize lots of torque Mercedes boats have slush boxes, I don’t track ‘em).

      All in all, BMW customers won't care, they purchase badge first.r
      • 6 Years Ago
      6 speed is perfect. 7 speed is a bit over the top. 8 is just unnecessary. But what ever they say about quicker shifting, the good old stick still gives a better driving experience.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm going to build a 9-speed automatic and put it in a Kia Rio. Just to screw everyone up.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This makes me wonder why Honda can't come up with an automatic transmission for Acura that has more than 5 speeds. It's pretty pathetic. No wonder Toyota considers Hyundai to be a bigger threat than Honda.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If an engine makes any kind of torque at all, a 6 speed is more than enough for most applications... especially in a "normal" car. The BMW M5 & M6 have a 7 speed DSG, but lets keep in mind that they're capable of going 200+ mph (with no limiter). A car that tops out at 155 with 8 ratios is just ludicrous. The only reason to add more gears beyond 6, or 7... or friggin' 8, is if the top speed increases considerably or BMW and Benz start putting inline 4's in their 5,000lb luxury sedans.

      CVT? It's just not enough fun IMO. Most CVT's would be incapable of handling the power of a twin-turbo V8, that's why you only see them mated to tiny engines. They also don't have much better mileage than a good old fashioned manual in most cars. Having said that, yes... CVT's are absolutely the future.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Not DSG, SMG sorry. Got my acronyms mixed up for a second.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Germans are german.
        The new Jaguar V8 would be perfect with the new ZF 8 speed automatic.
        The supercharged 5.0 V8 (503hp@6000-6500, 461ft-lbs@2500-5500) could pull a top gear of 50mph per 1K,
        The non supercharged 5.0 V8 (380hp@6500, 380ft-lbs@3500) could pull 40mph
        The new Jaguar diesel V6 could also pull 50mph per 1K

        No one ever said top speed must be in top gear.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The M3 uses DSG the M5 and M6 don't.
        The reason for the 8 speeds is increased fuel economy, not outright performance.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The problem I have with 6-7-8 speed gearboxes is that the drop-off between gears is very small, and it basically feels like a CVT. Good for economy and acceleration, but does not give the satisfying feeling of winding out the gears. Might as well just use a CVT.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Somewhat off topic but i found a bunch of info on this site www.dctfacts.com on Dual Clutch Transmissions.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Looks who trying to match Lexus.....

      Lexus has really made a mark.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The 8 speed automatic in the LS is really a 4 speed automatic. The compounding is much better than what Chrysler tried in the 62TE.
        (torque converter lockup at 75mph)

        Look at 2,4,6,8th gears, and reverse
        2.724, 1.464, 1, 0.685 R 2.176
        If Toyota wants to put this into the Tundra, they will have to get a second shorter reverse gear. They probably don't because the 6 speed auto is heavy duty enough to withstand the 5.7 supercharged.
        1,3,5,7: 4.596, 1.863, 1.231, 0.824

        We will see how the Hyundai 8 speed auto rates, and if Chrysler's '8 speed' & GM's even materialize.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Auto, paddle shifters and any other non clutch OVER a manual transmission.

      A manual is only good on track....and thats not saying much because some auto boxs are just as good ( IS-F ). The trans in the IS-F is so good a manual would only make the performance worse. It was also name the best auto box.paddle shifter in the world.
      • 6 Years Ago

      not "trip"tronic.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ok... what about a really good CVT with user selectable ratios... if u are a fuel economy nut... that is a pure CVT if u want to put down some rubber then u set it up as a 4 speed... if u are a normal human u set it up with 5 forward...
      • 6 Years Ago
      These gear wars are incredibly idiotic. Everyone should stick with the 6 speed gearbox. When you're driving in the city with a 7 speed or an 8 speed, the rev meter and the gearbox are CONSTANTLY working and its INCREDIBLY annoying. I bet a couple of years from now we're going to see the 10 speed gearbox, possibly from Lexus. So stupid. It's taking out the fun from driving.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Competition is ALWAYS good!

        • 6 Years Ago
        "When you're driving in the city with a 7 speed or an 8 speed, the rev meter and the gearbox are CONSTANTLY"

        I've owned a few DSG cars, none have be haved in this fashion. CVT cars on the other hand, very much so. What 7 or 8 speed slush box did you find acting this way? Make and Model would help.
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