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Motorsports & Track Forum
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Old 12-18-2016, 04:26 PM   #1
cwithbmw
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 210
My Ride: 2002 330Ci 2009 335i
Opinions on F30 M3s?

Hey fanatics,

Suddenly I'm entertaining the idea of getting a 2012-2015 M3.

I was curious if any of you fanatics own one and your thoughts on the differences between years of the F30 chassis.

Anything to know about and/or avoid when entering the purchasing talks?

I really wanted to get a 2016 M2, but you need to special order them from Germany so the MSRP goes through the roof.

Also: I want a manual, but; how has steptronic improved since my E46 steptronic?

Thanks guys.
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Old 12-25-2016, 06:38 PM   #2
Chris_PDX
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 7
My Ride: E92 + E46 M3s
Just FYI, the chassis designations got split starting in 2015 US model year. The E9x M3 ran into 2013 in the US under that platform. The F30 is the regular non-M chassis code now, starting in 2015 the M3 is now the F80, and the M4 is the F84.
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Old 12-29-2016, 04:42 AM   #3
ibimmer346
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: San Diego, CA
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My Ride: 2011 535i, 2002 M3
The 8-speed automatic transmission in the F30 non-M 3 series is much more advanced that the Steptronic from a non-M E46. The transmission is fabulous. They are both still based on a torque-converter, but the newer 8-speed has much better programming to give it a great sporty feel.

The F80 M3 automatic transmission is a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. A totally different design. It does not contain a torque-converter. Instead, it contains two sets of gears with computer-controlled clutches. When one set of gears is in first, the other set of gears is shifted to second. The transmission can move between the gear sets very quickly. Then first set of gears is shifted to 3 third, and the transmission shifts back to the first set of gears as the second set is shifted to 4, etc. It's much more complicated and expensive which is why the DCT option costs thousands of dollars. It drives more like a manual transmission, but with a computer controlled clutch. There's more lag going from a standing start compared to a torque-converter transmission. But once it gets going, the shifts are super-fast.

You don't have a choice. You either buy an M3 with the automatic option and get the DCT or you buy a non-M 3-series and get the more traditional 8-speed tranny. The 8-speed auto is a no-cost option in the U.S. The 7DCT costs several thousand dollars as an option on the M3.

Last edited by ibimmer346; 12-29-2016 at 04:44 AM.
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