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03-24-2002, 09:24 AM
I have heard a lot of great things about SMG recently on this board and viewed the info on the BMW international site with videos (which are great and have good images of the TiSi(my color) I hadn't seen before). I am now considering changing from manual to the SMG as I am still at Status 112 and am a week 15 build. Problem is I am really used to a manual and enjoy shifting the car especially when using a friend's 1998 M3. For those with SMG was it a big change? and is it easy to learn to use? Admittedly, the site above seemed like it was a little confusing with a somewhat steeper learning curve.

03-24-2002, 09:27 AM

03-24-2002, 09:38 AM

03-24-2002, 09:43 AM
Not confusing at all.

By the time I had taken delivery, I had already read enough about it on this board (and the .PDF owner's manual available in the Owner's Circle) to know how to operate it.

Granted, I've never driven a true manual, so I don't know what I'm missing :->

No regrets or problems with SMG II.

2002 TiSi SMG II
1840 miles

03-24-2002, 09:57 AM

03-24-2002, 10:01 AM

03-24-2002, 10:03 AM

03-24-2002, 10:15 AM
I placed an order 2 weeks ago for an 2003 M3. My dealer had a SMG in stock that someone could not purchase so I was able to give it a test drive. Yesterday, another dealer in town had a 6 speed that had just arrived that the buyer cancelled out and did not buy. I gave it a test drive. Without a doubt, the 6 speed is my choice. The SMG is probably okay if you are the type of person that likes an automatic transmission in your car. The 6 speed is best choice for all around driving of this fine automobile.

03-24-2002, 10:33 AM

03-24-2002, 10:47 AM
I also have a 93 325i and 2000 540i/6. My wife wanted one car without a clutch. I am still not sure that I like the SMA. I tend to drive my two older cars the most.

03-24-2002, 11:06 AM

03-24-2002, 11:11 AM
I drove them both too, got the SMG. It FEELS like a stick shift, just no clutch, and this is great. I actually have felt like I had to clutch it at a stop, then remembered I didnt have to. Downshifting is 10x better this way, and you can shift so much smoother when you really have to do it this way. Plus in S5/S6 the shifts are faster than you ever could do in a 6 speed, and smoother too. Dont forget the fact that you are stuck in traffic, and dont have to ride the clutch for an hour...

Adrian, NJ
03-24-2002, 11:14 AM
control,much more fun,no problems - smg will be excelent in a year or to when they going to eliminate all those small problems I've read about here on this forum. Go for 6 speed you will be happy.Thanks

03-24-2002, 11:15 AM
Having never driven the SMG I can't quantify an opinion on it. But the 6 speed is great.
It would be nice not to screw up a shift, especially at driving schools. That and traffic jams. But I don't see many of them in my ride to work.
6 speed for me.


M3 Cabrio
03-24-2002, 11:41 AM
I still think the AutoSMG is for those who don't know how to drive a manual.

My opinion only.

M3 Cabrio
03-24-2002, 11:43 AM

03-24-2002, 11:49 AM
I ordered stick. I think the SMG shines on the track from what I've read here. But I plan on NEVER tracking my M - just can't take a chance of making a major blunder.

03-24-2002, 11:50 AM
...SMG II is the best thing I ever had on a car.

12'000 miles and counting


BG in NJ
03-24-2002, 11:56 AM

03-24-2002, 11:59 AM
I had never driven the M3 with SMG. I have driven several cars with "speed shifters" but was not impressed because they were so slow to shift. To me, the speed shifter option on some of the Mercedes models and BMW as well are for people that are not comfortable with manual transmissions or are older drivers that want to feel a little nostalgic now and then. Like John C., My "second" cars have always been manual cars. I was concerned about losing the sportiness of the manual shifter.

On Friday afternoon, I took delivery of my TiSi MS w/SMG and this thing is a blast. I have only used S5 so far, I don't know why they even have S1 thru S4. The upshifts are incredibly fast and the learning curve on this technology is very minimal. No regrets!

I did test drive a 2002 manual M3 and have to say that I did find that the shift throws feel somewhat loose and longer than my '97 993 TT. I think Porsche has BMW beat on that aspect for now. The throws in the 911 are shorter and tighter....IMO. A friend of mine recently got a 360 F1 Modena Spider (which I haven't driven yet) and we are going to compare the shift speed between the Ferrari F1 and my BMW SMG. I think I have read the BMW shifts a little faster than the Ferrari....we'll see.

And yes, the M3 has automatic mode....ho hum. What can I say, it's an automatic....great for rush hour, bumper to bumper...that's it. Either way you can't go wrong. It all depends on what you are looking for in a sports car. The M3 is a great car. It has a tight ride, looks great, and even has a trunk for us golfers.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

M3 Cabrio
03-24-2002, 12:03 PM

M3 Cabrio
03-24-2002, 12:04 PM

M3 Cabrio
03-24-2002, 12:05 PM

03-24-2002, 12:15 PM
Yes, I notice this on downshifting but was looking for it because of all the stuff I've read about it on this board. I don't get it. It's's a sports car. Ever been to a Formula One race and heard R. Schumi or Montoya downshift from 120+ mph? Talk about clunking. Now, if there is grinding and banging that sounds like Big might have a problem. However, it's going to clunk goes with the technology, get over it.

And for those saying SMG is for people that don't know how to drive a manual.......really? Again, ever heard of Formula One?

Happy motoring.

M3 Cabrio
03-24-2002, 12:15 PM

M3 Cabrio
03-24-2002, 12:17 PM
I bought the M3 to have fun, not race.

To each his own, sorry to upset you.

03-24-2002, 12:52 PM
If you prefer to shift a 6 speed, after having learned as much about SMG as you already knew about a 6 speed, then that's great.

However, I question if a test drive (perhaps with a preconceived idea of what you wanted...c'mon, you can admit it!) is sufficient to understand the subtleties of SMG...

What I can state categorically is this: SMG is not -- emphasis on NOT-in any way a reasonable substitute for an auto trans with a torque converter! The fact that you make such an assertion disqualifies everything else you say!

SMG is NOT an auto trans, but it really isn't a regular 6 speed either! What it really is: a whole new way to interface with the vehicle in a VERY involved and VERY high performance way.

Personally, as a diehard manual trans driver for the past 25+ years, I was a bit concerned about "losing" some involvement. The amazing reality, for me and countless others, is that the interface of a clutch pedal isn't any more involving than an electronic actuation of the long as I can control all the subtleties of engaging it, meaning faster/slower, more aggressively and faster when needed, more relaxed when I'm around town.

As much as I have always loved shifting my own gears, I am having that much more fun doing it with more precision and speed and repeatibility now. As to the performance issues: I don't see Juan Pablo clamoring for a chance to actuate a clutch again!

03-24-2002, 01:11 PM
We all have other cars...i'm just answering the guy's question..IMO

03-24-2002, 01:31 PM
ja... I'm sorry, apparently you just didn't spend enough time with SMG II. Because a testdrive is not enough to understand what it is all about.

Your statement that SMG II is something for people who are looking for an automatic transmission is ridiculous. That is totally wrong and this is not even subjective.

Perhaps you should have a word with M GmbH about this ;-) They let you know what the real deal is.

Well, don't get me wrong: to each his own ! There's of course nothing wrong with your choice. However, you shouldn't give wrong info about SMG II here. SMG II is mainly for speed freaks and track maniacs and not at all for people who would like to have an automatic transmission. Interestingly I only see such statements on US boards... Apparently the average European deals better with the Sequential technology.


03-24-2002, 01:34 PM
you completely missed the point about SMG II. Sorry.


03-24-2002, 01:36 PM

03-24-2002, 01:45 PM

03-24-2002, 01:48 PM

03-24-2002, 04:47 PM
I can imagine the flames heading in my direction as I type. However, as the subject says, the SMG is truly an AUTOMATIC gearbox in a much truer sense than those horrible things with torque converters. This is because the gearbox has been developed to truly automate the manual gearshift, rather than turn it into a totally different animal as soon as the torque converter is added to the equation.

The SMG II pretty much takes the standard 6 speed and does the work for the driver, whilst still allowing full control and multiple programs, which makes it far more flexible and driver friendly than standard manual, whilst not sapping power or increasing fuel consumption.

Perhaps the NEW SMG II will get a new name, but I reckon that it's a whole paradigm shift and the SMG II should be called "automatic" as it truly is, whilst all the pretenders that call themselves automatic will have to have another name... some how I don't think straight "crap" will work as you pay more for auto on so many cars and "Sludge-o-matic" probably won't go down to well either... but you get my drift!

03-24-2002, 05:20 PM

03-24-2002, 06:42 PM
First, I have not yet driven an SMG. I tried to, but none of those who offered test drives felt I was worth answering an email. And I would have let them drive my M Roadster. :)

But I did order my M3 with SMG.

I have driven cars with clutches for over 30 years (my God, has it been that long?) and several hundred thousands of miles. I have also spent time on the track with manual transmissions with clutches.

I see SMG as a natural progression. It allows one to spend more time dealing with the other aspecs of driving, whether on the street or on the track. You still have full control over the situation (except for downshift overrevs, and I can do without that). You still decide when to upshift and how far to downshift. I see no way it "takes you out of the loop". If it does, you never were in the loop to begin with.

My feeling is those who cling to a pure manual box are deluding themselves in a way. If they truely want to be that in tune with their cars, no stereo, no power windows, no power door locks, no power steering (and unless you have driven a car with wide tires, quick ratio rack and pinon, you have NO idea of what you are talking about), and no other fancy gadgets. I will give you the A/c, but no nav. :)

But if that is your choice, great. That's why they make both. Even if your only reason is cost, fine. You have your choice and I have mine.

But I also look at WRC, F1, British Touring Car Championship, and every other form of racing that allows some form of sequential gearbox and paddle or button shifting, and see how they have embraced it. And how so many racing rules specifically prohibit it. I WANT it.

But to be fair, the M Roadster is NOT going away. And SMG in a roadster would be sacreledge. :) But I do appreciate the heated seats. :)

Overall, do what YOU want. Nobody on this board is you. Nobody will drive the way you drive. And nobody is paying your bills. And if all else fails, buy one, and if you don't like it, sell it and get another. :)

stranger--thrashing on their car. Goody4
03-24-2002, 07:45 PM

03-24-2002, 08:55 PM
In each case they were people fairly local who offered on the board to allow people to test drive their cars.

And I would have gladly taken them along. No thrashing intended, just a short drive to see SMG in action.

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