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      03-17-2010, 07:05 AM   #1
andret
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Question Manual or DCT?

Looking to upgrade from my fabulous E90 325i 6MT at the end of this year to an M3. I want to own what will most certainly be the last of the V8 M3's as the next model is going back to a turbo 6. I want to experience the raw naturally aspirated V8 for a period in my life before we inevitably get hunted by tree hugging hippies for driving these eco unfriendly machines.

Having loved driving a 6MT in the E90 for the last 3 years, I am struggling with the concept of leaving it all up to the DCT. I find all auto's insanely boring and uninvolving and would dearly prefer to stick with a 6MT. However on a recent BMW driver training course the instructors were swearing by the DCT. Also my dealer in Adelaide is reluctant to even order a 6MT. I don't feel like I am ready to settle into the lazy ways of an auto driver just yet.

So tell me, am I crazy to go for the 6MT?
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      03-17-2010, 07:37 AM   #2
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Good choice. You will have no regrets. The manual gearbox in the E92 M3 is one of the best if not the best I've driven. My E46 was a manual. For pure driving pleasure nothing like a manual. Go for it Andre. Good Luck
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      03-17-2010, 07:52 AM   #3
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^ I agree.

I bought an auto G37S because I thought it was the "right" thing to do given my age and traffic where I live. Now, it's no M-DCT for sure, but still an automated tranny. Even when I used the paddle shifters, it was fun but not the same. I ended up trading it in for a 6MT Infiniti G37S after a year and was SO happy to have done so.

I still struggled with the decision when I bought my M3. The DCT is just so suited for track use and is so fast. But my logic was that the DCT might be better 20% of the time (in traffic or at the track) and less fun 80% of the time (normal around town fun) so I went with the 6MT.

Take my advise... if you are really a manual guy, you will absolutely regret moving away from a 6MT in the long run. I think that when you are ready to leave the 6MT world, you will know it and won't have such reservations.
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      03-17-2010, 03:43 PM   #4
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My M3 has DCT and I have come from cars having MT and I couldn't be happier. You have to remember that it is a manual transmission and it is meant to be drive in manual mode. I drive mine in manual mode about 95% of the time that I use it. The gear settings are fantastic to play around with depending on what mood your in and I genuinely feel exactly the same while driving compared to my old manual cars. I actually feel as though in auto mode the car turns into a totally sedate car. It changes right up to 7th gear at only about 60-70km/h, so is a bit lethargic when you put your foot down. I still love manual cars, but this is the right fit for me.
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      03-17-2010, 04:26 PM   #5
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      03-17-2010, 05:48 PM   #6
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With a manual you will be $8000 better off (in your pocket) and I am sure when it come to trading in one day you will not regret it. When I sold my E46 M3, I managed to get the price I wanted because it was a manual. There was a massive shortage of manual cars in the E46 second hand market.
The novelty is there but then at the end of the day you should know what will make you happier. M-DCT is fantastic and a brilliant track tool, but when it comes to driver involvement and enjoyment I don't think anything out there can beat the manual box in a BMW /// car. This is my opinion.
One thing I noticed is people who are new to M cars went with SMG and now M-DCT. But those who have driven previous generation /// cars have always stuck by the manual except for a handful.
If you want to impress your mates and be a lazy driver then M-DCT is for you. If you want to enjoy what an M car is then a manual will give you Sheer Driving Pleasure
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      03-18-2010, 05:06 AM   #7
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Hey, I live in Adelaide also.

I ended up going with the DCT and I've been a MT driver all my life. You won't regret it, in the 6 months I've had my car I've done 4700km and I reckon about 100km of that would be in auto mode. I love the DCT shifting, having complete control over the revs just like a MT car, and the speed of the gear changes (esp in S5 mode), is amazing.

When I was test driving the car prior to purchase, they didn't have any 6MT's so I had to drive a friends' car to compare....and in the end it was a no brainer. DCT all the way!
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      03-18-2010, 10:58 AM   #8
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It's the short little gear shift that sold me on the M-DCT. I have always disliked manual boxes with long gear shifts. Your hand moulds around the M-DCT shift and you feel like you're connected to the car.

If you're going for an E90 M3 you MUST order it with M-Drive and EDC. The M-Drive lets you set the car up as a daily driver in nanny mode. One press of the M button and the car transforms into an enraged beast! All my settings are maxed out and there's NOTHING like the boot in the back you get as you flick thru the gears in WOT! Actually, I never get past 3rd because by then the car allegedy is going close to 140kmh.

And then there's the throttle blipping when you manually downshift. No-one heel-toes better than the M-DCT!

Oh and one other point. Having a free left leg will come in handy because you will need it to brace yourself when you put your M3 through the corners!
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      03-19-2010, 12:53 AM   #9
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I think go with your instincts, if you really enjoy driving get a manual. it's more involving and fun IMO. The clutch pedal adds an extra dimension.
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      03-19-2010, 12:56 AM   #10
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The M3 transmission is pretty stiff, 70% of the time I regret it. But 30% of the time when I'm driving it very hard I love is sooo much. DCT is seriously the way to go.
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      03-19-2010, 01:18 AM   #11
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andret, my thoughts echo yours.

I am very happy with the 6MT and find that the pedal placement and throttle mapping (in the correct mode) make the thing a joy to drive.

I had no choice as I ordered one of the first E92 M3s, but if I were to buy one tomorrow I would still stick with the 6MT for this car.
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      03-19-2010, 08:16 AM   #12
andret
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thanks for your comments, greatly appreciated. definitely leaning towards manual. there is something to be said about the thrill of nailing perfect gear changes that makes driving much more exciting. i don't know that i am ready to give up that thrill up to a computer, as much as i appreciate this wonderful technology.
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      03-19-2010, 08:24 AM   #13
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DCT all the way....but im a lazy bastard!
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      03-19-2010, 11:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andret View Post
thanks for your comments, greatly appreciated. definitely leaning towards manual. there is something to be said about the thrill of nailing perfect gear changes that makes driving much more exciting. i don't know that i am ready to give up that thrill up to a computer, as much as i appreciate this wonderful technology.
You'll never get it as perfect as the DCT system - 30 or so milliseconds versus say 200 milliseconds at best in a manual. Plus a nice surge of torque on the change which keeps the car propelled forward much better than the manual.

The DCT is the better daily driver IMO (assuming you'd got a recent software update) because:
  • It has more gears with shorter ratios from 3rd up - better low-end response in most situations. I always found the ratios for 3rd thru 6th on the MT too tall for my liking - always felt you have to really rev the MT hard to make it perform, whereas the DCT goes fast even if you partial throttle the car to 6000RPM...
  • You can run it in automatic mode
  • It is more economical

The DCT also is the better performing car in terms of acceleration purely because of it's consistently super fast shifts. On the track it makes quite a difference to from personal experience

So the brain says go with the DCT - I tend to follow my brain...

The heart, well I suppose most would say go with the MT and many follow the heart...
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      03-21-2010, 04:27 AM   #15
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If you know how to drive manual..must go with manual ...enjoy the driving and i feel i can get fully control of the car by manual..

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      03-21-2010, 04:54 AM   #16
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I got lazy now so my next car should be DCT or something similar. I'd say get DCT since you asked.
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      03-21-2010, 10:34 AM   #17
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I test drove both options extensively - twice - before committing. I had - before driving - resolved to go M-DCT. But in the end I found I had more fun/emotional involvement w/ the 6MT so my gut told me to go that route. If I had a primarily urban, stop-start commute I may have stuck w/ the M-DCT option. The other day I got caught in a 5-6 kay back-up due to a pile-up and it was the first time I really wanted the M-DCT. And maybe also when I miss a change at a track, but then, that's part of the fun/challenge of the MT

Yesterday I went for a long club drive in the TX Hill Country and was again reminded why I love the manual in this car. Also, given Ferrari's latest decision to go all DCT I wonder how long we'll have to enjoy the MT option? I'm going to have my manual fun while it lasts (same for NA V8!)

So, I'm still content w/ my decision.
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      03-21-2010, 11:13 AM   #18
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Autos are so boring I tend to fall asleep when there is traffic.
Manual keeps me awake.
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      03-21-2010, 11:51 AM   #19
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Don't forget the DCT isn't an SMG. The DCT is the way of the future.
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      03-22-2010, 04:26 AM   #20
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No clutch = Auto
But DCT is much smooth than SMG..........
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      05-16-2010, 05:41 PM   #21
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After nearly 1 year ... MT FTMFW. Just so smooth now after 20k - and driving a manual enabled me to drive a classic Aston Martin DB4 in SYD. (get too used to tech = lazy = stale skills).
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      05-16-2010, 05:44 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amk2912 View Post
It's the short little gear shift that sold me on the M-DCT. I have always disliked manual boxes with long gear shifts. Your hand moulds around the M-DCT shift and you feel like you're connected to the car.
!
M-DCT is a wonderful tranny, no doubt. But I don't think it "connects" the driver to the car more than the 6MT when you literally have to make more decisions & effect them physically w/ the manual.
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