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3-Series (E46, E90) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1999 to Current. Models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318Ci, BMW 320i, BMW 323i, BMW 325i, BMW 330i, BMW 328 Ci, BMW 328i, BMW 325i/xi, BMW 330Ci, BMW 320d, BMW 330d, BMW 335d.

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#1 (permalink) Old 05-18-2004, 09:59 PM
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I'm getting ready to buy a 330i and I need some advice on choosing manual or SMG
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#2 (permalink) Old 05-18-2004, 10:19 PM
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Can you drive a manual? Do you enjoy driving a manual? ...also I've heard that the SMG on the 3 series may not be the most advanced/has limited modes and does not necissarily shift smoothly...anyway - manual is the most fun!

<span style='color:gray'>Current rides:</span>
<span style='color:red'>2004 BMW 330i Sedan - Performance Package - Imola red - Alcantara, moonroof, cold weather, Bi-Xenons, silver cube trim</span>
<span style='color:blue'>2001 Audi S4 Avant - Nogaro Blue with Alcantara seating - APR chipped, lowered and otherwise modded</span>
<span style='colorurple'>1964 1/2 Mustang Convertable - Vintage Burgundy - 289 4 barrel V8 - 51K original miles - unrestored &amp; near mint</span>
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#3 (permalink) Old 05-19-2004, 12:20 AM
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When I bought my 330Ci I struggled with the same debate. Fortunately, I had an experienced hot rodder where I worked and I talked to him about it. He told me that the clutchless manual would be the better option because I would go through a clutch a lot faster than the auto tranny and that I still had the shifting option with the auto. The auto will last the life of the car while the manual will incur maint. cost. Based on his advice I picked the auto.

My experience thus far?? Pleased...not overwhelmed, but pleased. Sport mode is great. The manual mode does protect the engine, but it still lets you hold the gear well into red line. I miss the locomotion of a stick, and you have to let up on the gas a bit for a smooth shift in manual mode. Otherwise no major complaints. It is a smart tranny and will pick gears basedon your driving style...sometimes it surprises me how smart it really is.

BUT this all just my opinion.

2003 330Ci Midnight Sapphire Black
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#4 (permalink) Old 05-19-2004, 11:57 AM
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I have owned 3 maual cars in the past 14 years and none of them have ever had a problem with the clutch wearing out. If you know how to drive one it should last for a really long time. If you are passionate about driving and being completely in control of all aspects of your vehicle, get a manual. If you want a cruiser for traffic maybe get the auto.

n I don't know anything about the BMW SMG but I found in my wifes old A4 that the tiptronic shifter option was fun (yet unltimately a novelty) for the first 2 times I drove it and then I found myself always in automatic which was over-driven like hell, the thing was between 1 and 2000 rpms. You had to stomp on the gas to get the thing to drive in any spirited fashion, which it was capable of. With my manual in the Bimmer I seldom shift past 3rd and can stay in 4th on the highway in regular driving conditions (65mph and below) without running the RPMs obnoxiously high. I guess I just prefer the manual. Having a clutch is the way to go. IMO the SMG/ paddle shifters/ tiptronic/ whatever were meant for Indy cars, not German road cars. Also, no one will ever question your decision of getting a stick, not that you should care what anyone else thinks about your car. I say get the manual. Unless you have long commutes of stop and go.
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#5 (permalink) Old 05-19-2004, 01:43 PM
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regular amnual has my vote.

smg does shift faster than me (and likely you), but this is good for track not street. and the feel of bmw manual is excellen, best tranny in the business (only honda comes close imho).
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