It took me a long time to get used to the shift in the E46 manuals, they were horrible. Rubbery, inaccurate, lacking in feel, notchy and with a sharp juddery clutch. On a car with 80,000km! I dealt with it because I love BMW's but my old Mazda was much nicer to row through the gears.... Luckily my E34 535i has a lovely shift on it, despite slightly worn synchro's and 270,000km.
But seriously, the guy has a point, don't start attacking his man hood. This is an autotragic love thread so keep your archaic driver-shifter effort-bound 'manual' transmission love away from here.
As to my Steptronic, I bought it because they never sold manual 330i's over here. I refused to buy a couple because they're kinda gay and also expensive, so I got stuck with a FANTASTIC automatic gearbox. Best I've ever driven and after seeing how strong they can be even on the track, I'm going to shell out $500 to have it serviced instead of swapping to manual. Already got one of those.
- I've taken it on the track and never even found a need to use manual gears, the sports mode is perfect!
- The normal drive mode is also beautifully economical, keeps it in nice and high gears when I accelerate gently!
- I LOVE the engine braking function, I use my brakes half as much down hills, I just gently touch them and it'll downshift and hold speed! GREAT feature. Took a while to get used to helping it change back up when I hit the bottom of the hill (it used to get stuck in the lower gear for a bit) but I'm good with it now.
Complaints though (here's to being hypocritical!):-
- Takes off in second gear, sometimes leaves me stranded as it realises it needs to shift down into first, whilst I've already got heavy throttle on. Jerky, annoying and dangerous. Cure is to put it into sports mode, but still annoying.
- The normal drive mode needs to learn to down shift as you slow down earlier, it constantly realises it needs a lower gear too late and down-shifts at silly times. Cure is sports mode.
- When in sports mode, despite no throttle load, it will hold lower gears indefinitely for no particular reason. I mean, five or six seconds for track or sports work makes sense but the way it is is kind of annoying...
- The adaptive shift resets nearly every time you turn the car on, how are you supposed to learn, it's like trying to teach a goldfish how to sit!?
Apparently the sprint booster is a fantastic upgrade for the worst feature of the entire car. That STUPID throttle. But why does it have to cost $300!? SO much money for SO little!?