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Old 06-02-2009, 09:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Help! How do you drive an AUTOMATIC?

Okay, I'm not really that dumb, but I do need some rudimentary info about driving a slushbox...

I've had manual transmissions in everything I've owned that I would ever drive fast and/or fun. I've only had autos in trucks, SUVs, etc.

I have an 1/8th mile track a few miles away and I'd like to take my 2006 330Ci Convert ZHP out for a run. I can drive the snot out of a manual, but this car is, unfortunately, a STEPTRONIC automatic. Good on some days, bad on others...depends on my mood I guess. It's growing on me.

1. How do I launch? Hold the brakes and release out at what RPM?
2. Use the STEPTRONIC or just put my right foot through the floorboard? If steptronic, what RPM is best to hit it (since it won't shift immediately I assume)
3. If not using steptronic, will it shift on its own or do I need to let up at 6800 for it to upshift?

(I know this all sounds extremely stupid for a 43 year old man to be asking, but I'm serious! I don't want to hurt my car, but I don't want to embarrass the good BMW name at the track either.)

Thanks. I'm leaving now. You can start laughing in 3...2...1.........
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Old 06-02-2009, 09:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Brake starts tend to heat stress the transmission fluid too much. For up sifting, you can use the steptronic to hold a gear if you think you may want it back quickly and to downshift a bit quicker than the auto mode will.
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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ok, so no power-braking. good info, thanks.

So basically for straight-line runs, the steptronic has no advantage over letting the tranny do its thing? I didn't know if there was a different "program" once you went to steptronic...again, I know close to nothing about automatics.

going back to my original post,
"3. If not using steptronic, will it shift on its own or do I need to let up at 6800 for it to upshift?"
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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It will shift on it's own; there's no need to let up. The main advantage to steptronic is the ability to delay upshifts momentarily. Other than that, in a straight line run, an auto will shift just fine. Even downshifts can be automatically managed if full throttle is expected; under the pedal, there is a kickdown switch. So in addition to being able to delay an upshift, the only other real benefit of steptronic is the ability to selectively downshift without using full throttle.
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Perfect, thanks!
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Does you transmission have a sports mode? I imagine this to be your best setting to use at the track, because it will delay upshifts. I think modern automatics do a pretty good job at finding the right gear at right about the right time, so I'd say just hit the gas pedal.
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Does you transmission have a sports mode? I imagine this to be your best setting to use at the track, because it will delay upshifts. I think modern automatics do a pretty good job at finding the right gear at right about the right time, so I'd say just hit the gas pedal.
No, it doesn't. Just "D", and then the steptronic. I agree, we'll see how she does...
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Old 06-03-2009, 12:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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No, it doesn't. Just "D", and then the steptronic. I agree, we'll see how she does...
I went and read the manual for my car and noticed something you may have missed. The car has three modes: D, SD, and M -- Drive, Sport Drive, and Manual, respectively.

To run in drive mode, just move the selector lever to D.
To run in SD, move the selector level to the left into the "S/M" position. "SD" should appear in the display panel.
To run in manual mode, once in S/M tap the selector level toward the + or - position. The display will show "M2," "M3," etc. depending on what gear you are on.

In short, for the track what you want is SD -- it loads the sport shifting program for the transmission. Just slide the lever from D to the left into the M/S position, WITHOUT tapping the lever forward or backward.

Have fun!
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Old 06-03-2009, 12:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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WOW! GOOD Stuff!

I will go get my manual and look to see if mine says the same...if so, I think that's where I'll use it most of the time! Cool...thank you DRZ.
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Old 06-04-2009, 02:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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actually, your car really should have a sports mode
afaik all BMW automatics have had it since the e30
I drive an e30 slushie and I've got a sports mode as well
only too few gears
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:18 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I like to slap my auto into sport when I'm cruising in traffic just because even when I'm light on the gas pedal it will run the RPMs just a little higher before it allows a shift, so the motor is always in the sweet spot if I have to jump on it to make a lane change or kill a ricer.
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