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Old 10-01-2013, 11:15 AM   #1
Bernie@Fanatics
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Sporty drivers should shun manuals, says BMW

The maxim that real drivers shift gears manually is outdated, with automatics now better for both sports driving and economy according to the proponents of 'sheer driving pleasure': BMW.

shunmanual

It used to be the case, that the manual gear box was the way to go for more sporty/performance driving. You had control of what gear the car was in and fuel mileage would even be better if you shifted efficiently. Auto boxes were clumsy and never seemed to be in the gear you wanted. They were great for stop and go traffic though, just put it in gear and relax.

"In the past if you want to be sporty and fuel-efficient, go for a manual one, and the auto was for comfort. And now it is the other way around," BMW's head of production for large vehicles Peter Wolf told Carsguide in an interview.* "You're faster with an automatic, you have less fuel consumption, If you go to a race track ... with a manual shifted car and an automatic, you are faster with an automatic."

Over the years automatics have been improving steadily. Automatics today offer precisely controlled shifts that are lightning fast, giving quicker acceleration. Fuel mileage even improved with automatics, making them a better choice with todays fuel prices. These improvements have helped automatics chip away at the manual gearbox market. Many cars that were available in manual shift, are no longer. Even iconic cars like the Porsche 911 GT3 are no longer available with a manual gear box!

One of icons of manual gearboxes, the (Porsche) 911 GT3, is no longer offered with a manual gearbox. And I think it was not an easy decision for Porsche to make that way either. They got of course a lot of (media) criticised them for that. The PDK in that one is so good, that even a really good driver could not shift faster manually ... the driving fun would not be more with a manual gearbox."

I got a taste of this driving the new M6 and 4 Series. I'm still amazed how well those gearboxes work and you can focus more on your driving. It would still be a tough decision between the manual and auto though. What are your thoughts on the pull away from manual gearboxes? Which do you prefer and why?

Source: carsguide.com.au
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Old 10-01-2013, 05:43 PM   #2
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I personally think that I would have a manual. For driving around in a sports car, a manual seems more fun, it keeps you awake on longer drives. Plus, it's tradition to get a sporty car with a manual transmission, and along with that, automatics are looked down upon by anyone in the car world. Especially automatic sports cars. Naturally, if you are a member at VIR and you make money by racing, the double clutch automatic transmission might be a smarter idea. Another thing about the automatics that would be a downside (this isn't official, but): It's probably more expensive to maintain a double clutch automatic transmission, it may not last as long as a manual does, and people definitely have said that the city driving is absolute torture in the automatic DCT cars.

That's just my two cents. Personally, I'd like to have a car like an E92 M3 in a manual, but something like a Ferrari 360CS in the DCT.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:49 PM   #3
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With all due respect, Peter Wolf is wrong

Professional racing drivers can go ahead and shun manuals, because milliseconds matter to them.

Most "sporty drivers" don't go after every millisecond, they don't come anywhere close to their car's limits. They weren't taught to do so, and they cant do so on the street. Most of them probably will never go to a trackday let alone a competitive racing event. They rather want to enjoy several moments of active driving, moments when they are involved with their car. And the manual makes that experience all the more involving.

I consider myself a "sporty driver" that likes to enjoy a few involving moments with my car. When I was buying my car I had the choice of getting an e46 330i, C5 A6, and an e39 540i rather than my current car. I stuck with a lowly 323i because unlike those three, it had 3 pedals.

Yes, a modern DCT can cut fractions of a second to 60, quartermile, Nurburgring laptimes etc...
but that all wont matter for the average joe blow "sporty driver"

I can understand those who purchase the automatic because they cant drive stick, have a difficult stop & go commute etc..
but when some joe blow bases their decision to go automatic solely on the fact that it shifts in ____ milliseconds allowing you to cut ___ seconds off the quartermile, thats not car enthusiasm thats just unsubstantiated d*ck measuring

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Old 10-03-2013, 10:02 PM   #4
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Sporty drivers should shun manuals, says BMW

This is the reason I have one SMG car and one Manual. So I can rotate as I want.

Yes SMG makes you feel like a pro and at WOT is much funner than manual. But on a twisty road or scenic route the manual just feels more complete.

In a manual you feel like it's just you and the road. While the car bows to your commands and hangs on for the ride.

In smg you feel like it's the car and the road while you're hanging on for the ride.

That being said if you're really pushing the car SMG hands down gets my choice. Manual is more of an art and enjoyment now. Kind of like seeing a classic car. You admire it regardless how slow it is in today's world.


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Old 10-03-2013, 11:45 PM   #5
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Re: Sporty drivers should shun manuals, says BMW

I have driven the e46 m3 in both manual and smg (and a ton of other 5 or 6mt cars) and honestly I prefer to have the manual over anything. As mentioned, I feel more connected to the car and its just a sensation to drive manual over an smg imo.

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Old 10-04-2013, 12:06 AM   #6
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Sporty drivers should shun manuals, says BMW

So this guy basically says: "shun manuals. Autos can now shift faster. You can't shift faster than an auto so guess what, an auto is way more fun.

I'm pretty sure he doesn't exactly understand what fun is. Fun cannot be measured. It's something you feel. And there's no feel in an auto.

Hey guyz. Mp3s download WAY faster than it takes to go to the store and buy a vinyl. That means they sounds loads better lol.
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Old 10-07-2013, 01:48 PM   #7
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This goes back to the whole companies only focusing on Nurburgring track times thing
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:37 AM   #8
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The mountain bike/downhill industry is going through the same thing. For 30 years those bikes have used 26" tires, small, nimble, flick-able and fun. Now the industry wants to sell everyone another bike with 29" wheels. They go on and on about test and trials that show how they roll over things easier, keep their speed and are faster. BUT like BMW they get milliseconds of lap time confused with fun.

I recently choose an '03 330i MT 5spd over an '04 330i SMG as a daily driver. It felt like a lot of the driving fun was taken away from me with the SMG. Sure it was fun to come screaming in to a corner, break hard and just push a paddle to have the car down shift perfectly before you enter the corner then accelerate through, however it doesn't come close to the feeling of doing a heel-toe while stomping on the clutch, matching the rev's on the down shift and then entering and accelerating through.

My 2 cents
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:54 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ANREC330 View Post
This is the reason I have one SMG car and one Manual. So I can rotate as I want.

Yes SMG makes you feel like a pro and at WOT is much funner than manual. But on a twisty road or scenic route the manual just feels more complete.

In a manual you feel like it's just you and the road. While the car bows to your commands and hangs on for the ride.

In smg you feel like it's the car and the road while you're hanging on for the ride.

That being said if you're really pushing the car SMG hands down gets my choice. Manual is more of an art and enjoyment now. Kind of like seeing a classic car. You admire it regardless how slow it is in today's world.


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I agree with this. I havent been able to compare an automatic to a manual on the track but in my opinion the manual is way more fun. I would much rather take my car around a track then have a car take me around the track.
I feel like switching everything over to Auto will take the skill away from the drivers and add to the awesomeness of the car. GREAT for the car companies, maybe not so much for the drivers. IF I was a pro driver, I would attempt to master a manual for the track so I could say I was a better driver, not that my car was working better.
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:52 AM   #10
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I'm very impressed with the versatility of these newer gearboxes. Fingertip shifts with a damn near instant response can easily be enjoyed in real world driving as well.

That being said, I hope BMW keeps a manual as an option for their models. It's been a cornerstone to their image for so long, and while that image is/has been evolving, I see value in retaining part of the old for those who still enjoy it.

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Old 10-10-2013, 11:37 AM   #11
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Sporty drivers should shun manuals, says BMW

The new auto trans are awesome no question. However at the end of the day I could care less about the milliseconds I save because with a manual I feel involved in my driving. I enjoy it.

My next car will be a manual and so forth unless every manufacturer ditches them. Odds are on my side I would think. If BMW stops offering manuals then I might not be driving one regardless of how much I love them.

Launch control is a bit more fun....just brainlessly mash the gas rather than careful feathering of clutch and gas....but still love me some manual gearboxes.


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Old 10-10-2013, 06:51 PM   #12
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I'm teaching my girl how to drive my 5spd and she get so excited when she doesn't stall the car. I can't imagine that same parking lot shenanigans if I was trying to teach her SMG. mostly because it wouldn't happen.
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:38 PM   #13
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LONG LIVE THE MANUAL TRANSMISSION! I don't care how smooth a dual clutch auto is, it will NEVER compare to the sensory overload you get when you've executed the perfect heel/toe downshift on your own. The problem nowadays is that newer car buyers, for the most part, regard cars as TRANSPORTATION. Thus, they just want to get from A to B as easy a possible. Today's carmakers know this, which is why the manual transmission is slowly going the way of the dinosaur. In fact, there seems to be a trend with city planners to eliminate cars altogether in major metropolitan area (such as DC). All this is connected to carmakers trying to appeal to newer car buyers, and keep them in the showrooms. Therefore, it all starts with the transmissions. But it doesn't stop there, as cars will soon do the driving for you as well...this is just the tip of the iceberg.
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Old 10-15-2013, 05:27 PM   #14
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nothing is greater than the feeling of banging in the gear when you master a perfect rev-match downshift. I would perfer an automated manual for daily driving because I do get annoyed at manuel on the streets.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:50 PM   #15
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I agree that a dsg transmission is an impressive piece but i cant imagine ever choosing one for a dedicated driver's car? you are chasing lap times then sure but but if the point is interacting with a car and making it perform the best you can then a semi auto just removes a layer of interface and skill. There will be the equivalent of a heads up "apex finder" at some point no doubt and it will be faster too and will also take more from driver skill. When anyone can sit in a sports car and mash the throttle and turn the same lap times why not just strap yourself in to a roller coaster and enjoy the ride. Progress is progress but the fact remains that abs, launch control, auto boxes depreciate driver skill and narrow the gap between a skilled driver and one who is less so. I've spent a lifetime lusting after the hardcore 911 offerings so the new gt3 pains me me. As sure as its a faster car than a base 911 it's also less of a driver's car.
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:11 PM   #16
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The purpose of DCT (and traction control and torque-vectoring technologies in general) should be to make the car more capable for the driver to exploit, not to drive the car more effectively for the driver.

The dual-clutch auto, in this context, is in a grey area. I'll stick with the manual for now and focus on its mechanical benefits - lighter, probably more reliable, and that it gives the driver infinite choices in clutch-cog manipulation, not an array of programmed functions
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