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      03-24-2007, 11:43 AM   #47
Steved
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Drives: M3 CSL, AMG ML63, B7 RS4 Avant
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: England

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7400 in 6th equates to just over 193 mph by the way, speedometer needle had left the building and all I could use was the rev counter to judge how quick we were going. I honestly don't enjoy V-maxing a car, I have been racing cars in one form or other for more than 20 years and much prefer going around in circles.

As for the MT vs SMG vs ZSG debate, I have quite a wide spread of gearboxes at my disposal on a daily basis; one of the best auto boxes in my ML63, SMG II in my CSL and manual sticks in my Z4M Coupe and Mini Cooper S Works.

I enjoy each, but ultimately I would vote the auto box in last place because it never manages to be in the right gear at the right time - despite the paddles on the steering wheel. A manual box is no big deal to me, I heel and toe with the best of them and always match engine revs smoothly whether going up or down the gears. When I bought my first SMG equipped M3 back in 2002, I found for the first time in many years that I had to concentrate on achieving a smooth change again. Eventually replacing the feel of my left clutch leg in a manual, with a finer sense of intuition using my ears. I enjoyed the challenge. So now I drive SMG pretty much the same as a pure manual transmission, but replace the sensitivity of my left leg with that of my ears.

ZSG however, if it is anything like DSG in the VAG cars seems to remove this final element of interaction, no longer does it seem to make a difference how the driver interacts with the controls and it ends up feeling like a slightly more precise auto box.

So changing gear with a stick or a paddle makes little difference to me, provided you are proficient then they both seem as easy. But losing interaction with the engagement of the clutch, being the final arbitor of when and how the drivetrain will re-engage again - now that's the point where the driving experience is damaged.

Much as I enjoy an auto box on a motorway or around town, they leave me cold, never exceeding expectations and most likely frustrating them at times. I hope that doesn't happen to any M-cars, especially the M3.