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Christmas has come a year early - and by "Christmas" we mean availability of the eight-speed automatic transmission in the 2015 Corvette Stingray; it was was suspected that the General Motors 8L90 gearbox first announced for the Corvette Z06 might not make it into the standard C7 until 2016. The eight-speed automatic with a torque converter has been retuned for the lighter torque load of the C7, but it's built on the same bones as the equipment that goes in the Z06.

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For the 2011 model year, many of Audi's B8 platform vehicles with all-wheel-drive will join the Q7 in getting a new eight-speed automatic transmission. The quattro-equipped A4 sedan, A5 coupe and Q5 crossover with the 2.0-liter TFSI inline-four will all swap a six-speed for the new transmission. The front-wheel-drive and V6-engined Audis will retain the continuously variable transmissions or six-speed automatics they currently use. The ZF transmission will allow a wider total ratio spread for lo

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2010 Audi A5 – Click above for high-res image gallery

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How many gears are enough? While it seems that six-speed automatic transmissions are just now becoming the de facto standard in most circles, Mercedes-Benz has been working with seven ratios for a while now and Lexus did its German rival one better by designing its own eight-speed. Not content to sit idle while other marques earn bragging rights, Audi and BMW have recently utilized eight-speeders of their own for their latest flagship models.

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How many gears are enough? While it seems that six-speed automatic transmissions are just now becoming the de facto standard in most circles, Mercedes-Benz has been working with seven ratios for a while now and Lexus did its German rival one better by designing its own eight-speed. Not content to sit idle while other marques earn bragging rights, Audi and BMW have recently utilized eight-speeders of their own for their latest flagship models.

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Hyundai is making a serious run at such stalwart luxury marques as Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and BMW with the Genesis sedan. The Korean automaker is already competing directly with those established players using its current range of engines and transmissions, with the 4.6-liter V8 being mated to the same 6-speed ZF automatic tranny that sees duty in various Bimmers and Jaguars. Sometime around 2010, Hyundai will have a new 8-speed automatic ready for public consumption that being developing in-house

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As the need for fuel efficiency and the desire for power continue on unabated, automakers are looking for more ways to increase the performance of their powertrains. Many times, we focus in on the engine as it holds the most promise for huge efficiency gains. There's more to eking out the best mileage possible, though, including making transmission adjustments. Mercedes-Benz has moved forward with seven gear ratios and Lexus has upped the ante with an eight-speed unit. BMW looks ready to follow

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Are transmissions a new battlefront in the war for customers amongst high end brands? Mercedes has been doing seven ratios for a little while, and Lexus has a new 8-cogger on offer, too. BMW's not content to be trailing with just 6 speeds, so the new 7-series (F01) will reportedly ship with an 8-speed automatic transmission. If high fuel prices and tightening emissions and consumption requirements manage to snuff out our recent horsepower battles, gear ratios are all we'll have left.

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