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10-25-2003, 08:18 PM
As someone ready to place an order on an '04 M3, the decision about SMG has been the most difficult decision for me. Just watched Speed channel and saw that the ONLY complaint they had on their longterm Z4 test was the SMG. They stated that in aggressive pedal-down acceleration the SMG was enjoyable, but that for everyday driving SMG was slow and awkward. I know everyone here says that SMG takes some practice, but I felt the same way on a test drive. SMG was WAY slow in a downshift from 2nd to 1st (like 2 seconds, or at least felt like 2 seconds). Not trying to be inflammatory, but I think SMG is just a fad, or at least a transitional passage for something much better. Not an M3 owner yet so I have no clout here, but feel free to flame away anyway.


10-25-2003, 08:20 PM
To the best of our knowledge, the Z4's SMG and the one on the M3 share approximately 0 parts. Different gearbox, different clutch, different SMG actuators, different computer, different team that developed it (Siemens/Sachs/BMW-M made the M3's, while the Z4's is from Magneti Marinelli)
StoneWalk, Ventura California
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10-25-2003, 08:27 PM
But it seems that the complaints that they had seemed to ring true just from my short experience during the M3 SMG test drive.

10-25-2003, 08:35 PM
Richardson, Texas
2002 M3 Coupe - Alpine White/Black Leather/SMG/Custom Stereo

10-25-2003, 08:36 PM
to learn how it too has its little tricks and nuances that you will learn, and that only comes from driving it for awhile...


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10-25-2003, 08:38 PM
Does anyone know why they went with a different company venture for the Z4 SMG? Were they unhappy with the results of the M3 system?

10-25-2003, 08:40 PM
Richardson, Texas
2002 M3 Coupe - Alpine White/Black Leather/SMG/Custom Stereo

10-25-2003, 08:43 PM
So besides the price, how's it different?

10-25-2003, 08:48 PM
these are some of the differences I remember at this moment:

1) Z4 made in Italy (if I remember correctly). M3 made in Germany and tied VERY closely with M division during develoopment.

2) Z4 has two modes (normal and sport). M3 has 11 modes (6 in manual and 5 in auto).

3) M3 system is twice as fast (80ms vs. 150ms, if I remember correctly).

4) Z4 system's paddles work both ways (push and pull to downshift and up-shift with the same paddle, on either side). M3 only works by puling towards driver and left side is for down and right side for upshift.

Richardson, Texas
2002 M3 Coupe - Alpine White/Black Leather/SMG/Custom Stereo

10-25-2003, 08:55 PM
That's why I love reading this board... so much great info. Thanks. I think that SMG is more like The Democratic party- THEY know what's right for you. Manual is more Old Party- You do it yourself and enjoy your own success! Just my opinion.

10-25-2003, 09:03 PM
If you are worried, go with the stick. The m3 6 speed gear box is the best made. I love the way mine shifts. Great gearing, nice linkage, can do super fast shifting.

I have had my 01 cab for 2 years, drive LA traffic everyday and I never no regrets getting the manual.

The SMG is nice too. Just decide what you want and go for it. If you are looking for an auto type car, you cannot beat the SMG. I heard the new M5 may only come in SMG. It is not just a fad, it is an evolution.

10-25-2003, 09:07 PM
while I'd never choose SMG over my stick (personal thing) - I would have a very hard time saying anything really great about the getrag d in our cars..... go drive an S2K or Miata and then see if your opinion of how great the stick in M3's holds...<br><br><br><br><a href=""><img src="" border=0></a><br><br>

10-25-2003, 09:08 PM

I'm new to this board, but I think I can lend an objective opinion, as I have only had my SMG M3 for less than a week now.

Like you, I vascilated back and forth on the SMG. I finally decided on getting it.

I find the SMG mimics my driving habits almost eactly, without the clutch. Even in the automatic mode, the SMG shifts nicely, although I have to say that I need to leave the DriveLogic selector at the top of the setting.

In SMG shift mode, the unit shfits beautifully in all DriveLogic modes. I find that it will shift normally just like a clutch at low RPM and at hight RPMs. Frankly the unit performs better than I expected and I can comfortably say that I dont think I will miss a clutch pedal because the car drives so much like a clutch car. I dont plan on tracking my car either. I'm sold!


10-25-2003, 09:12 PM
the two...

although....SMG can be manipulated to do what you want it to do as well...

same way you drive a stick, it can be replicated with smg....<br>

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10-25-2003, 09:13 PM
gear box...well hate is quite a strong word :) Let's say...there is a big room for the improvement.<br>

"Try not. Do, or do not. There is no 'try.'" Yoda
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'02 M3, 6Spd
Boston, MA

10-25-2003, 09:31 PM
B2000 pickup that shifted faster....went through 2 tranny input shafts and 4 clutches in ~4 years...but hey!<br><img src= height=98 width=152>

10-25-2003, 10:01 PM

10-25-2003, 10:12 PM
At a very high level, the idea was for the M3's SMG to have a serious performance and track focus, while the mainstream gearbox (Z4, 3'er, 5'er etc) is intended for somewhat more pedestrian duty.

Thus different marching orders were given to the two different teams. M3 SMG went for record fast shifts, lots of special modes and features, interesting bits of track logic, etc. The Z4 gearbox was supposed to be simpler to operate, smoother, and hopefully more cost effective.

Interestingly, the M3's box appears to actually shift as smoothly or more so than the Z4's and it has had fewer teething problems.

The usual complaint about SMG gearboxes in general is that the power is interrupted during the shift. This is especially critical in A-mode where the driver is not cueing the shifts and thus he can be caught unexpectedly without power for a moment when the gearbox decided to go to the next gear. By having faster shifts, the M3's box actually reduces the duration of the power interruption which eases the concern somewhat.

But understand that the SMG is vastly better in manual "S" mode than it is at pretending to be an automatic in "A" mode.
StoneWalk, Ventura California
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10-25-2003, 10:37 PM
interesting deal. This happened to be a customers car from my dealer.
One of the tech's took me out in it. Only drove it a few blocks and I didn't "lean" on it for a second. Not my car, enough said.
Didn't have a chance to form any strong opinions, but I was very impressed in the S modes.
The A modes stunk, but who really cares? As you and others have said, you either don't use them at all or in situations where it's appropriate. Heavy traffic, phone etc. Don't see who could lose with that as an option.
Again, I only got to drive it a little bit, but thought it was amazing. Anybody who would ever refer to that as anything similar to an automatic wouldn't be too bright.
I'm probably going to remain a conventional manual guy, but that's based on habit and history as much as anything.
Like someone else posted, I don't like seeing BMW milk and devalue the SMG "name" by assigning it to every cheap, spin off.

10-25-2003, 11:34 PM
Well, my other gearbox is in a supercharged '94 Mustang cobra. The motor is fully built with high flow heads and the gearbox is a cobra spec. T5. I have a B&M ripper shifter on it. I think the M3 gearbox is way better and I can shift it faster than the T5 even with the short through shifter. The synchros in the M3 gearbox are really good. The synchros in the T5 stink, even when it was new.

Anyway, I am comparing it to an american car, so, maybe thats why I think it is so good.

10-25-2003, 11:43 PM
furious with manual transmissions to worry about the forbidden BMW-very-easy-downshift to second in an emergency situation to slow the M3 down. This process mechanically overrevs (shreds) the interference engine. This 1/4 inch movement in the right hand could cost the driver from $4K to $20K with no help from warranty or insurance. Sounds like great fun when under pressure. You can run into a tree but tough-sh## if you happen to downshift into second at speeds over 70 m/h even to avoid a major accident or even killing someone.

10-26-2003, 12:29 AM
I do not have enough time to write a detailed report but I can tell you that I like mine. It only shifts slowly for 2 to 1 gear at slow speeds. If you shift when the car travels a little faster, you will see that the downshift happens faster and is smoother.

If you prefer to downshift at a slow speeds, you will quickly learn to anticipate how much time the box will take to downshift and will adjust accordingly.

IMO the only reason to buy the regular 6 speed is to save a bit of money. At least 95% of the SMG users love it.

10-26-2003, 12:52 AM
it is indeed a piece of crap<br><br><br><br><a href=""><img src="" border=0></a><br><br>

10-26-2003, 02:34 AM

10-26-2003, 02:38 AM
StoneWalk, Ventura California
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10-26-2003, 02:53 AM
StoneWalk, Ventura California
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10-26-2003, 11:39 AM
Several weeks ago we had a Cleveland meet where one of the guys had a SMG car. I had previously driven a SMG, but it was on the road in rather mundane conditions.

This drive was on a very twisty route, and I will have to admit, I liked it a lot. The down shifts were slower in the SMG car (in S6) than my own shifts with my 6 speed, but they were always perfect, mine are not always spot on (close though).

I won't say I enjoyed it more then my 6-speed - but it was lots of fun, and changes the driving experience. The 6 is more technical - the SMG is easier, no doubt.

I guess IMO as a 6 guy, I don't think you can go wrong - they are both fun to drive.

My next M may be a SMG - but again, this isn't a daily driver for me.

Keith<br><img src="">

Go Buckeyes!

10-26-2003, 10:25 PM
<HR width=512><B>CBsaksiri</B> Sunnyvale, CA
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