It will debut as part of the next-generation 7-Series sedan. It will help the German luxury car maker compete with the Lexus LS460, which debuted last month with an eight-speed gearbox. The new IS-F sports sedan also uses the transmission.
Lexus developed its transmission in response to Mercedes' seven-speed auto, which was launched in late 2003. In 2001, the first six-speed automatic debuted in the BMW 7-Series.
BMW isn't the only automaker getting on the eight-speed bandwagon. General Motors is expected to market an eight-speed automatic, as evidenced by trademark filings uncovered in September. The transmission will likely be used by Cadillac, and possibly Buick.