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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.

In the name of increased efficiency, and quite possibly playing the game of automotive one-upmanship, luxury automakers such as Mercedes Benz, BMW and Lexus have been adding more and more gear ratios to their automatic transmissions. By allowing a computer to choose the most appropriate ratio for any given scenario, the vehicle's engine is required to only make as much power as absolutely necessary, potentially saving fuel in the process. ZF, one of the largest transmission makers in the world,