We have heard from reliable sources that BMW along with ZF have been developing the newest 8 speed transmission to also work with Stop/Start. Stop/Start is a technology developed to allow the engine to turn off automatically when the car is stopped for a period of time (at a traffic light) and the engine will turn back on when the accelerator is depressed.
Currently, this technology has been reserved for 4 cylinder engines coupled with a manual transmission in markets outside the US. This new offering would allow the use of Stop/Start in vehicles with larger displacements and of course in different markets that prefer the automatic.
Earlier in the year we learned that BMW will be transitioning its current lineup of 6 speed autos to 8 speeds by model year 2013. The 8 speed debuted in the 760Li and will be featured in the 5 GT as well as the 5 series this spring. There has been no set date as to when this new feature will make it ‘s debut but one can expect it first in the 7 Series hybrid this spring and other models after.