I just got my new issue of Motortrend, which had a great article on the 2001 M3. One thing they mentioned was that for 2002 it might be offered with the F1 style shifter paddle, clutchless transmission (similar to what is offered in some of the Ferrari models).Any strong opinions out there on the shifter paddle method versus a real stick? Does anyone feel it isn't real driving if you don't have to work the clutch? To me, the shifter paddle idea is pretty slick, especially, since it shifts more quickly than is possible with a conventional manual...HoosierBean
Any strong opinions out there on the shifter paddle method versus a real stick? ===*===Paddles are très cool. I'm in favor of me driving any production car so equipped. Drive by wire is fine with me too. But since I don't commute anymore I'll keep the paid for Honda for trips to the grocery, shopping etc. But yeah, paddles are très cool. Raggmopp
HoosierBean asked:Any strong opinions out there on the shifter paddle method versus a real stick? Does anyone feel it isn't real driving if you don't have to work the clutch? To me, the shifter paddle idea is pretty slick, especially, since it shifts more quickly than is possible with a conventional manual...Josh responds:Both my and my wife's cars are manuals. I've driven my mom's car using the "autostick" a couple of times and it's just kind of weird. Maybe it would be different for someone who's never driven a stick before, but it's just not the same without the clutch (but then, my left foot's into the floorboards all the time when I drive an automatic).It's not that it's not "real driving" in my opinion (whatever that is), it's just not for me.Josh out.
The benefit of a manual transmision is to simultaneously make the engine do one thing and driveline do another. This requires a mechanical disconnect.I haven't driven any paddle/auostick setups, but it seems to me that some do not truly disengage motor from wheels. If my hack science is correct, then I would tend to categorize autosticks as gadgets for posers who cannot deal with, much less take advantage of, a clutch.I'll not suggest that Ferrari and Porsche are creating cars for the gold chain crowd, but I doubt the Dodge Intrepid Autostick will let me match engine revs to wheel speed on a two-gear downshift.As far as the new M3 engine needing warmup time; I've not heard that. Any true race car, from a Formula Vee to a Honda/Reynard, does need to be brought up to temperature before it's ready for business.
No doubt, paddles are cool. It did take Ferrari a cuple of years to perfect the system in the F355 F1, but I'll bet BMW comes up with a pretty system.Any advance word on price for the new M3?
5SpeedThe "autostick" in my wife's Acura TL is essentially useless (and counterintuitive since you pull back for upshifts). You are obviously correct in that you cannot disengage the engine from the driveline to blip the throttle to match revs to roadspeed - which the Ferrari system does automatically, like in their real F1 cars. Simply another marketing tool in my opinion. I haven't read any tests where an autostick application is any faster than simply leaving it in "D". It merely gives the illusion of control.I live near the mountains and I'll take the 5 speed manual in my Prelude over the automatic in any more powerful car for fun driving any day.
Any true race car, from a Formula Vee to a Honda/Reynard, does need to be brought up to temperature before it's ready for business. ===*===I do not wish to ride a stubborn race horse. The fact that the designers/builders feel that I am incapable of warming my steed sufficiently prior to asking it to perform smacks of the ultimate in Teutonic arrogance. Meow 'em, I'll shop elsewhere.Raggmopp
Is this system going to be really like the F1 system? Modern F1 cars do have a clutch paddle. This paddle is used during starts and pit stops. It also prevents the car from stalling during an incident on the track. It is not used during shifting on the track. If the M3 uses this paddle then you would have a clutch on the wheel along with an upshift and downshift paddle. They could make it an active clutch where it must be activated the same way the current floor clutches are. This would be a cool way to shift, although it may be beyond the average persons ability. But then again I don't think the M3 is made for the average driver.
But then again I don't think the M3 is made for the average driver. ===*===No, it's made for a driver who evidently can't read a temperature gauge.Raggmopp
absmith asks "Any advance word on price for the new M3?"It is supposed to sticker under $50k, although the limited production may result in dealer gouging like the S2000.TMFMcLaren writes "Is this system going to be really like the F1 system?"I'm not a mechanic or expert by any means, but from what I have read about the system on the Ferrari 360 Modena, my impression is that it is exactly like the F1 system as you described it. I would assume with BMW's heritage and the M3 that it will be a true F1 style system.Raggmopp writes "No, it's made for a driver who evidently can't read a temperature gauge."Speaking of temperature, may I say "simmer down now"?!? (kidding of course, I'm just a BMW-phile) Again, this is just my understanding and could be incorrect, but I believe the M3 is using a system similar to the M5's to limit the redline revs of a cold engine. However, it is not based on water temperature as is the typical temperature gauge. Rather, it is based on a separate internal gauge that measures the engine oil temperature.HoosierBean
Call me old fashioned, but I've been driving a standard since I was 16, and I know I would miss the clutch.That's my two cents....-Hipkiddo
Rather, it is based on a separate internal gauge that measures the engine oil temperature.===*===Pay no attention to my rants, 'tis merely one of my hobbies. Stupid car should have an oil temp gauge anyway. I'm a big proponent of early warning via gauges instead of having a light come on that informs you a critical componant is now toast. And especially a car in the M3 class, the thing should not even be offered with an automatic tranny IMHBO.Raggmopp
I just got my new issue of Motortrend, which had a great article on the 2001 M3. One thing they mentioned was that for 2002 it might be offered with the F1 style shifter paddle, clutchless transmission (similar to what is offered in some of the Ferrari models).BMW offered this as an option on the E36 M3 in Europe. They called it the Sequential Manual Gearbox.Any strong opinions out there on the shifter paddle method versus a real stick? Does anyone feel it isn't real driving if you don't have to work the clutch? To me, the shifter paddle idea is pretty slick, especially, since it shifts more quickly than is possible with a conventional manual...First, you need to separate automatic transmissions with manual shifting gizmos (Tiptronic, Autostick, Speedshift, etc.) from manual transmissions that basically have robots clutching and rev-matching for you. I'll call the first group Automatics With Marketing Doodads, and I'll call the second group SMGs.Automatics with Marketing Doodads suck, just like other automatics. (Add standard disclaimers for towing, people missing a limb, people who only drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic, etc.) They still use a torque converter rather than real metal-to-metal gears, so they still rob torque like other automatics. That means less performance and lower gas mileage. Most don't even really offer full manual control. I've driven an Audi A6 with a Tiptronic, and an Acura TL with Speedshift, and both were very frustrating in manual mode. They shift up at redline without permission, won't let you shift up at if RPMs are too low, etc. As far as I'm concerned, if it's in manual mode, it should do exactly what the driver asks, with the exception of refusing to downshift if doing so would overrev the engine. Otherwise you might as well just put it in 'D', which 99% of the drivers of these cars do 99% of the time.SMGs are awesome, at least in theory. They feature real metal-to-metal gears, not torque-robbing balls of goo. They can shift faster than a human can. They can do rev-matched heel-and-toe downshifts like a pro race car driver, except even more consistently. And they're easier and safer to shift than a conventional manual, since you don't need to fiddle with a clutch pedal or take a hand off the wheel to shift. And they can keep you from downloading into second instead of fourth at 100 mph and blowing an engine. I'm a Real Man, and I only buy cars with manual transmissions, but I can admit that it's possible to design a SMG that's better at shifting than I am in every respect.In practice, SMGs have had problems. First, some of them shift too harshly, and others shift too slowly. Ever ridden with a drag racer trying to shift as quickly as possible? That's what I've been told the Ferrari F1 shifter is like. The BMW SMG, OTOH, was supposed to be too slow and gentle. SMGs on non-race cars really need separate Sport (shift quickly) and Comfort (shift smoothly) settings. Second, they're expensive. The one on the F355 is a five-figure option. (Granted, on a six-figure car.) The BMW version on the Euro E36 M3 was about a $3000 option. Third, the paddles usually don't move with the steering wheel, because that would make them even more expensive, so it's hard to shift in turns. Fourth, they're really complex newfangled devices, which most likely means lower reliability and more costly repairs.I believe that most sports cars will offer SMGs within a few years, and they'll be the best option for most drivers. Whether they'll succeed in the mass market is another question. Joe Sixpack can't tell an Automatic with Marketing Gimmicks from an SMG. So it's all about cost. If new technology ever makes SMGs as cheap as automatics, then they'll take over because they're more efficient than automatics. Then again, maybe CVTs or electric hybrids will obsolete the conventional automatic transmission first.Here's a review of the previous BMW SMG:http://www.bubbaclub.com/rob/SMG/smgRT.htm
I do not wish to ride a stubborn race horse. The fact that the designers/builders feel that I am incapable of warming my steed sufficiently prior to asking it to perform smacks of the ultimate in Teutonic arrogance. Meow 'em, I'll shop elsewhere.That's your choice.As someone who buys used cars, I like this feature a whole lot. I wouldn't think to bring a cold engine near redline regardless, so it won't affect me one bit. But it's one less stupid thing I have to worry about the previous owner of a car I might want to buy having done.I know there are purists who hate all rev limiters on principle, but until I'm rich enough to replace $15000 engines on a whim, I'd like my cars with rather than without. Once you accept a rev limiter than kicks in at redline, then having that redline move down a bit when the engine is cold isn't much of an additional burden. Besides, the M3 has gobs of torque. You don't need to bring it anywhere near redline much, except on the track.
have to worry about the previous owner of a car I might want to buy having done.===*===Well you've got me there. I never factored that into the equation but it makes perfect sense if one is buying used. In fact if I was buying an M3 used I'd certainly appreciate that feature. Still would like an oil pressure/temp gauge though.Raggmopp
dripton,Thanks for the great info on SMGs! That was much more informative than anything I have read in the auto mags I get.HoosierBeanWho would kill for the new M3, paddles, standard, or any other transmission they want to put in it.
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