I recently interviewed Tom Purves, CEO of BMW North America, at the German automaker's U.S. headquarters in northern New Jersey. In a couple of weeks, U.S. News will run a feature on Purves's views of the auto industry, the economy, and BMW's future, but I wanted to post a bit of more urgent news: Tom's take on standard versus automatic transmissions. With the advent of new "clutchless" manuals, known by names such as Tiptronic or, in BMW's case, Sequential Manual Gearbox, some purists worry that the old stick- shift-and-clutch arrangement is headed for the finish line. The clutchless manuals, after all, offer almost the same advantages, allowing drivers to shift gears using a special mode on the automatic transmission lever. BMW's SMG also features Formula One-style shift paddles on the steering wheel.
We discussed the virtues of the two transmission types while driving BMW's new M5, a superpowered version of its 5-series sedan with a 500-horsepower V-12 engine. Turns out BMW planned to build only an SMG version of the M5. "But we got many requests to build a [conventional] manual, too," Purves explained. "There's a great affection for the traditional manual gearbox among many enthusiasts. But only in the United States. Europe is more focused on Formula One, with the faster paddle shifters. In the U.S., the pinnacle of motor sports is NASCAR, and they have four on the floor. The Hollywood image of a race car driver is him shifting down here," Purves pointed out, waving his right hand near the M5's shift lever.
So I asked Purves, a Brit who has lived in both Europe and the United States, which he prefers. "If I were really faced with a choice, I'd be swithering," he said—that's a British colloquialism that means drifting from side to side. But when I finally pinned him down, he admitted, "I'd go with the traditional manual gearbox." But it depends on the car. "In the M3, I'd choose the manual gearbox with a stick on the floor. SMGs work better with big powerful engines. For one thing, it's impossible to downshift into the wrong gear."
If only the rest of us could choose between two BMW options. But Purves does offer reassurance to motoring enthusiasts on a budget: Stick shifts, while fading in popularity, will most likely be around for a long time. "In the U.S., the automatic has been the standard transmission for years, and the manual transmission has been something more exotic. It still seems exotic and desirable."
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that article is the biggest pile of crap. who in america is buying a BMW and watching nascar? trying to compare our ( as a BMW market) choice of transmissions to what our nation may watch for racing is rediculous, especialy when the two markets ( BMW buyers, and Nascar watchers) couldnt be any more UNRELATED.
You know your a drunkard if you... Think box wine is great; eagerly awaiting box whiskey.
Originally Posted by RSF5
Well yeah, the BATFE is like the Anti Hoppy.
Well hey, hey Mr. Policeman
Bet I can drive faster than you can
Come on Hoss, let's have some fun
Go on shoot me with your radar gun
You look bored and I sure am
Catch me if you can.
I've mentioned this a while back; that I never really saw a reason to have a stickshift on a high output engine. For everyday drivers of course . . just imagine money shifting your brand new M5. I don't give the general public much credit- a lot of people think they know how to drive a manual. But race car or supercar owners would be a different story tho.
Money shifting is missing a shift and reving past where the rev limiter would save the motor.
Alternatively I have heard it used for those "Early" downshifts where someone finds first instead of third and has the dubious distinction of seeing the tachometer needle out in the blank area past where the numbers stop.
Cubic Dollar$$$$ are the only fix at that point, so therefore "Money Shift"
It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others. Mine sometimes feels that way.
I am certain that the traditional manual will die out eventually. SMG is better. Don't get me wrong -- I like the feel of a traditional manual, and would rather get a manual over an SMG. However, when the technology becomes cheaper, and eventually spreads to all car manufacturers, I believe the top-of-the-line vechiles will start dropping out the manual. We don't have 3-speed or 4-speed cars anymore. Fuel injection took over also. Once the manufacturers are able to define stable firmware -- *giggles* -- I believe they will start pushing for SMG, marketing it as a feature that not only improves performance, but also improves reliability, and who knows what else they will come up with. However, I don't think this shift will happen in the near future. We will be able to find manuals for a while. I believe most manufacturers will first go through a stage of standard 6-speed manual transmissions before everyone moves to clutchless. I doubt you'll be able to buy a brand new car with a clutch pedal 30 years from now.
lol i was about to post on that.
for some reason i did not like that article. no reason really..jsut didnt like it
yea i dont think standard manual trannies will be for a while..i personally think it adds to the driving experience.(i have never driven an SMG so i cant compare)
We all get the urge...Saturday early morning...nothing to do till noon... BMW FTW
The aural sensations of 1st gear WOT
**CGM **(Certified Garage Mechanic)