The great cog war of the 2010s may involve cars with as many gears as our first Schwinn. But let's not get ahead of ourselves — we're still on eight. Last year, Toyota broke the seven-speed threshold with an eight box for its Lexus models. Now, BMW will soon be offering a new eight-speed automatic transmission — developed by tranny powerhouse ZF — in its 7-Series as early as 2009. Benefits of the additional gears include more closely matching engine speed with gearing, faster shift speed and better mileage. Boy, we can't wait for those 21-speed "mountain" cars of the future.

ZF developing new 8-speed auto for BMW [Motor Authority]

Detroit Auto Show: Lexus IS-F Hits Early; New Lexus Flagship Hybrid Unveiled; Carmakers Push Toward Eight-Speed Transmissions [internal]