Originally Posted by Mii
8-speed is for sport automatic. M3 is still being tested with 7-speed M-DCT. 8-speed is going to be trend given that Lexus LS460/600 and IS-F are using it. 8-speed also boosts fuel economy 6% more than 6-speed in similar application. The new ZF transmission has been designed with hybrid and all-wheel-drive in mind.
It won't be difficult for BMW to apply 8-speed M-DCT in future model, one clutch controls odd gears 1,3,5,7,R and other clutch controls even gears 2,4,6,8, looks fairly distributed from mechanical stand point.
I contend 8 speeds is too many for any manually-activated transmission. For an auto, fine, go 10, but if you have are expected to actuate the changes, 7 is about the limit until you are constantly flippin' levers.