Just to clear something up, the AT has 8 gears. 1-6 are "drive" geas, 7 and 8 are
"over drive" for lower rpm cruising and better MPG.
If you put the trans in "sport" mode it does not change the gear ratios.
Sport trans mode seeks to use the first 6 drive gears for sporty driving. Sport mode will shift to 7th but you have to be at highway speed and cruising. 8th will come but only after 100mph when cruising.
Sport trans mode makes sense, and the trans logic is pretty darn good.
The OP and I are simply not pleased with the trans when drivers mode is set to "sport", as it will also set the trans "D" mode to sport.
My guess is that BMW was attempting a one button solution, instead of having the driver select sport driver mode and then move the lever to the left/sport DS mode.
I don't agree that that was the best way to implement this.
As the OP stated, just because you want the firmer more BMW like steering, and the quicker throttle response, that doesn't also mean you don't want 7th and 8th gear at typical highway speeds, in order to get lower rpm cruising and better MPG.
The best solution to all of this, and to make all drivers happy, BMW should allow the driver to check off which items he wants for "comfort" and "sport" mode.
The DH pkg gives some additional settings, but those too are a take it of leave it setting. Customization of these things would be very easy for BMW to implement, just takes a bit of programming.