Originally Posted by llis
Timely thread. In the past two days I've put 230 miles on my car, and I've been embarrassed how rough my shifts to 2nd have been. This clutch is nothing like my E36 M3! (Or any of the other three manuals I've had.)
If you've only had it for 230 miles, you can look forward to 2nd gear becoming MUCH better around the 2200-mile mark, if memory serves. Still not like a Porsche, but far better than what you're probably putting up with now if your experience was anything like mine.
OP, since you're already past that mark, yes both the clutch and 2nd gear gate behavior you're seeing are normal. If you try to upshift into 2nd above about 4500 RPM, expect to encounter some synchro resistance, and do NOT try to overcome it by slamming it into gear. It's just something you have to wait for; means the car isn't the best drag racer (at least in 6MT form), but that's not really what the M3 is about.
Yes, the clutch is very different from previous M3s (I've driven the E46 and E36) and even the E9x non-M 6MTs. In fact all of those cars feel identical to each other; the E9x M3 seems to be the only deviation from BMW's norm, which if I had to guess might have been at least partly the result of BMW trying to make the M3 a more viable DD?
I don't mind the soft clutch or high/vague engagement point; once your muscle memory kicks in, it doesn't really matter. Although if I drive pretty much any other MT car for 10 miles or more (which almost always have a heavier clutch) and then jump back in the M3, I end up practically pushing my clutch pedal through the floor for a bit since my foot got used to using a lot more force.
Congrats on the M3, OP. You're in for some great times.