Eight Is Enough


While several vehicle manufacturers offer sedans with merely five-speed transmissions, the new BMW 760i is being equipped with an eight-speed automatic, the first application of the transmission from ZF Group. According to ZF, the eight-speed improves fuel economy by 6% compared with its own second-generation ZF six-speed transmission, and a significant 14% over five-speeds. Another interesting characteristic of the ZF eight-speed: It is engineered so that it can be adapted for use in hybrid systems by simply putting an electric motor where the torque converter is otherwise located. When used in a mild hybrid setup, there is an additional 15% fuel savings that can be realized.

In addition to the transmission, ZF has other systems on the 760i. There is technology sourced from ZF Sachs, CDC2e, or what BMW calls “Dynamic Damping Control.” This system features two electronically adjustable proportional valves per damper that individually regulate damping characteristics depending on the road conditions, and it also is used to improve body roll characteristics.

Also, there is a speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering system from ZF Lenksysteme, which is a joint venture between ZF Friedrichshafen AG and Robert Bosch GmbH. ness models to do so. A spokesman says privacy concerned motorists would be able to switch off the system if they didn’t care to share their data.