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12-03-2001, 06:57 AM
Picked up my baby on Saturday (TiSilver/Black SMG Coupe, 19" wheels)...a premature delivery it certainly was not!

1. Problem with rear bumper - the gap between the rear bumper and the car main body panel is even along the rear side of the car. However, along the last two inches where the bumper finishes off, the gap is uneven and the resultant finishing is just ridiculously poor. It's so bloody obvious that I am just surprised the dealership didn't pick up on it during the prep. Normally I would have been furious but I guess I must be mellowing out in my old age. Anyway, the dealer is going to ring me today to book me in to get it sorted though during the pickup he suggested they sort it during the first service.

2. Drove about 40 miles with SMG over the weekend. Found it to be fantastic at higher speeds but for city driving at low speeds I found it somewhat frustrating (probably need to get used to it a bit more). Anyway, here are my first impressions of SMG:

3. The shift paddles behind the steering rotate with the steering. This makes it near impossible to change gears whilst turning, but I suppose you could use the shift stick if you really needed to do that. I guess I'll just have to get rid of my bad driving habit and ensure I'm in correct gear before turning!

4. For turning, it seemed I needed to turn the wheel a lot more. eg. at a right angle turn I found myself turning the wheel at least 180 degrees, is this normal? This with the problem mentioned in 3 above made it somewhat frustrating turning at junctions. I suppose this is something I'll just learn to adapt to.

5. Driving in modes S1 to S3 I found a noticeable lag in shifting going from first gear to second gear. I wasn't exactly flooring the pedal to avoid revving over 5000rpm break-in limit but even at 2500-3000rpm in 2nd gear I would have expected the car to go quickly. This resulted in slow starts for me at traffic lights etc. but as soon as you go from 3rd to 4th the acceleration is just great. Will try driving in higher S modes to see how that goes. Anyway, I can easily see myself sticking to just one driving mode and never ever using the other modes ever again once I find my comfortable mode.

6. Had a quick spell on the motorway (M25). Picking up the speed in 4th from 50mph to 80mph was incredibly quick and effortless as you'd expect. It felt very safe in joining the busy motorway and that's without really trying.

7. Having opted for the sunroof option I wish I hadn't now. In normal seating position I do find my hairline touching the roof (no I don't have a Marge Simpson hairdo). You have to push the seat back a bit where the roof curvature gives you just that bit more room. In any case, leaning forwards results in your head bumping the sun visors.

8. Rear view visibility is very poor and I'm glad the uk car comes standard with PDC. You really couldn't see a small child immediately behind the car. The passenger mirror tilt on reverse gear is a nice touch.

9. Having parked the baby in the garage I realised my garage is not that big as I thought it was. Sure, I can get the M3 in/out with slight difficulty (until I get used to its width etc) but I certainly learnt that I would have a hell of a time gettting the M5 in there. Just a thought to consider for those deciding between getting an M3 or an M5.

10. The sat nav seems quite easy to use but I'm disappointed that you cannot just enter the postcode. However, it does keep an address book so you can quickly retrieve previously stored destinations. You can also retrieve the previous ten or so destinations.

11. With the 16:9 widescreen it's great that you can split the screen - one half showing the map and the other showing the direction.

12. The Channel 5 reception is better than my domestic tv!

13. With the HK upgrade the sound seemed good enough for what I would expect in a car but I didn't really play music that much as I was too busy getting acquainted with SMG.

14. The 6 cd magazine is a bit fiddly to open to put your discs in but then again I'd never used one before.

WHEELS (19")
15. To be honest I can't tell whether my car has got 18" or 19" wheels though I know it's the latter judging by the state of my bank balance. I guess I'd have to park next to a car with 18" to really
convince myself that the extra money was worth it.

16. Having driven the M3 over the weekend I couldn't help noticing how crap the roads in south London really are. Maybe, I was feeling this even more so because of the 19" wheels?

17. It's annoying that the speed cameras around my area are at 30mph and 50mph and because the
speedome goes in steps of 20 eg, 20, 40, 60 etc, you have to look just that bit more carefully at the
speedo to check you're within the limit as the 30 and 50mph are simply marked with a dot.

18. Overall, I'm quite happy with the car - I was extremely nervous at first especially seen as I'd never driven an SMG but I soon gained confidence. The salesman was great at explaining the SMG functionaility though I'd read the manual beforehand (thanks to the guy on this forum who'd scanned it in).

19. At this stage, I think the SMG is overpiced, even at the new UK price of 2100. Because of my frustrations highlighted above my current mood is that I'm indifferent between manual and SMG. Having said that, I am quietly confident that the SMG will win me over.

20. The car really does looks stunning. I wasn't expecting any attention but I easily spotted several jaw-dropping stares
(including the chap on the M25 who spent most of his time looking over his shoulder at the car instead of keeping his eye on the road ahead!).

21. Anyway, the above are just first impressions so take them with a pinch of salt. No doubt they'll change once I get better acquainted with my baby...actually more of a beast than a baby!

Keep you posted on further developments.

Jonathan F
12-03-2001, 07:06 AM
once you gain confidence with SMG you will leave it on S5. The lower modes especially s1-s3 do take an age and I just put it in S5 and left it there. I also found that a slight lift of the throttle will aid changes. SLIGHT being just !!!

As for channel 5 I hope you weren't planning on parking up on a Thursday night around 11 ish as that sort of thing is illegal :-)

12-03-2001, 07:28 AM
Yeah..I'll try S4 and S5 as I've grown out of S3.

As for the late night channel 5 scenario, I'm going to wait until I get a decent leather seat protector...don't want any dodgy stains affecting the resale value. :-)

Jonathan F
12-03-2001, 07:29 AM

Chins (UK)
12-03-2001, 08:38 AM

Like you I found the changes at first on the SMG hard to keep smooth. I do the same as Jonathan and lift off slightly just before/as I am changing gear. This does seem to make it smoother. Keeping your foot down is not as good IMHO on the road. On track just left my foot planted to the floor, and S5 selected (wow)

Found my car to be unhappy in 1st and 2nd when cold. Part throttle in 2nd at arround 3,000 produces some surging. My thoughts are petrol quality at the moment. Had to put in Regular unleaded. On Optimax I'm sure it was better.

Still find 1st to 2nd hard to shift smoothly. Happy to hear the secret.


12-03-2001, 08:55 AM

Tony B
12-03-2001, 09:41 AM
with the comments about:
- the bumper gap - I pointed this out to my dealer as soon as I saw the car. They reckon it is as it should be but I reckon the profile of the bumper is slightly different from that of the wing (where it flares) and that from some angles this shows up badly. Try looking at it from above and the shape is totally different around the last 1-2 inches
- SMG changes into 2nd are very slow, particularly with a cold gearbox, and having few miles on the clock makes this even worse. It does get better with more miles (I have 2300 now) - apparently 2nd gear is an acknowledged problem at BMW - whether SMG or manual

Tony B
12-03-2001, 10:09 AM
the speed of the gearchange is also influenced by the amount of throttle you are using. Wide open throttle changes will be quicker than light throttle changes. As most people who run-in new cars tend to change up at low revs and light throttle openings, you will then get the slowest changes...

Yeah, Channel 5 is great on mine too - pity about the crap programmes - although Top Gear (which now appears to be deceased on BBC2) is supposed to be coming back on 5 - will be called 5th Gear...

12-03-2001, 10:59 AM

12-03-2001, 11:14 AM
Your first impressions describe quite accurately what I'm
discovering. It's week #1 for me. The gap in the rear bumper
first appeared as if was wrecked and refitted but after closer
inspection it seems to be "normal". The SMG II has this terrible
lag so I've set it at 4 and 5. However at that level it's quite easy to
rev the engine beyond the 5500 RPM. The gearbox also clunks
every now and then whether you are in sequential or auto mode.
And yes BMW should have done a better job with the speedo and
tach. It's just too tiny to see when you're driving fast. Also the
dash is littered with tiny buttons everywhere and I accidentally
punched the sports setting while intending to hit the A/C recycle.
19" wheels are lovely. No regrets about that. TV reception is
surprisingly clear and powerful. Amazing. HK stereo is alright at
low to medium volumes but the Bose system on my ML320 is
better. Then again it's no big loss since you can always listen to
the M3's wonderful exhaust and engine sound instead. Steering
could use a bit more feel. A good benchmark would be a 964 or
993. Otherwise it's quick and accurate. M3 shows it's true color
when pushed hard and fast. In normal and relaxed driving it's not
much different from a 330ci with the M suspension and decent
set of tires.

12-03-2001, 01:05 PM
distance between one's lard arse and the head that matter. Even though you may be tall your seating height may be the same as someone less taller.

12-03-2001, 01:08 PM
keep me posted with how it oes with your dealership.
I showed mine to my salesman and the manager of the dealership and they both agreed it looked wrong.

Anyway, I'm taking the car in tomorrow morning for their techie
to have a look so I'll keep you posted with the outcome.

12-03-2001, 01:18 PM
I agree that there is no damage to rear bumper as the rest of seems good and the uneven gap shows no sign of damage. But, c'mon let's be realistic, it looks naff and purely a result of sloppy engineering - wake up BMW, what is going on?

12-03-2001, 01:21 PM

12-03-2001, 01:59 PM
...only S5 or S6 in a couple of days - trust me ;-)


12-03-2001, 02:31 PM

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