E46 Paddle-Shifter RetroFit Review [Archive] - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

: E46 Paddle-Shifter RetroFit Review

09-04-2002, 10:57 PM
<title>E46 Steptronic Paddle-Shifter Retrofit</title>
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<font face="Arial"> <b><font size="2"><u>E46 Steptronic Paddle-Shifter Retrofit</u><br>
Application: 2001 E46 330Ci<br>
Required Parts:<br>
<i>E46 M3 SMG Steering Wheel</i><br>
Part #: 32 34 2 282 222, MSRP: $495.00<br>
<i>E46 Paddle-Shift Retrofit DIY Kit</i><br>
Part #: n/a, MSRP: $450<br>
Total MSRP: $945.00<br>
Vendor Website:</font></b> <a href="http://www.bmw-paddleshift-retro.com/"><i><font size="2">http://www.bmw-paddleshift-retro.com/</font></i></a><br>
<i><font size="1">Written by: <a href="mailto:%20vko@safeharborig.com">VinnyMac
<p><font face="Arial"><b><font size="2"><u>General:</u></font></b><font size="2"><br>
It was mid-fall in 2000 when I decided it was time to retire my E34 525i. I
loved the E34 but it was time to get something sporty. I had grown to love the
new E46 body style and the 330Ci was just the right combination of sport and
practicality. I debated the transmission choice for a long time and decided
the Steptronic was the right choice for me. I enjoy driving a manual but I wanted
the convenience of an automatic because I spend a lot of time in stop and go
traffic and I have the bad habit of constantly being on my cell phone in the
I took delivery of my 330Ci in March of 2001. I drove it every chance I had
and really enjoyed the manual mode of the Steptronic transmission. Well, needless
to say I could not leave well enough alone. I'll attribute this modification
and the subsequent lightening of my wallet to members at <a href="http://www.e46fanatics.com">www.e46fanatics.com</a>
. The 2002 E46 SMG M3 hit the market and I quickly found out, via the forums,
non-M3 owners were retrofitting the SMG steering wheel to the Steptronic transmission
and activating the paddle-shifters. I just had to have this modification!<br>
I spend the next couple of months researching the materials and process involved
to complete this modification. I eventually contacted the mastermind behind
the modification, Vincent Seah (<i><a href="mailto:%20paddle.shift@attbi.com">paddle.shift@attbi.com</a></i>
). Vince provided me his E46 Steptronic Paddle-Shifter Retrofit kit and I managed
to locate an E46 SMG Steering wheel from Cutter Motors in California.</font></font></p>

<img src="http://www.e46fanatics.com/members/vinnymac/paddleshifter1.JPG">

<p><font face="Arial" size="2"><b><u>Materials &amp; Installation: </u></b><br>
We all know newer BMW transmissions are highly electronically controlled, and
the thought of intervening with my car's transmission and electrical system
was initially very intimidating. I spent the next couple of weeks chatting with
(basically interrogating) Vince regarding his retrofit kit. He was the consummate
professional and answered every question with honesty and candor. After weeks
of conversations and emails; I felt confident in my ability to install the retrofit
and ordered the retrofit kit. <br>
Vince shipped my kit promptly and it arrived as scheduled. Vince's retrofit
kit is masterfully crafted and does not require any cutting, splicing, or modification
of OEM fittings or connectors. Best of all, the retrofit is 100% reversible,
just in case you completely lose your mind and decide to take it off.<br>
The install instructions are very detailed and guide you through each step precisely.
The entire install took me roughly 90 minutes and everything worked like a charm.
On a scale of one to ten with (1) being less challenging and (10) being very
challenging; I would rate this modification a (6). I rate it slightly above
average because the installation requires several steps and involves the removal
of the airbag unit and some very elementary electrical knowledge. By the way,
Vince provides technical support to all of his customers just in case you run
into any snags during the install.<br>
<b>Score: (9 / 10)</b></font></p>
<p><font face="Arial" size="2"><b><u>Performance &amp; Fun-Factor:</u></b><br>
WOW! That's all I can say is WOW! I know, I know, it's not an SMG M3 or even
a 5-speed but it sure is fun to shift with the paddles. This retrofit really
increases the fun-factor of owning a Steptronic car and helps keep your hands
where they should be when you're driving; on the wheel! The E46 Steptronic Paddle-Shifter
Retrofit is easily one of my favorite modifications I have completed to my car.<br>
<b>Score: (9.5 / 10)</b></font></p>
<p><font face="Arial" size="2"><u><b>Summary:</b></u><br>
I highly recommend getting the retrofit kit from Vince. He is a true professional
and really stands behind his product. He has sold the kits all over the world
including Singapore, Brazil, United Kingdom, Canada and of course the Unite
States.. Not to mention, he is a really nice guy and a fellow BMW enthusiast
that researched and labored to make this modification possible. Last I heard
he finished a retrofit for an E39 5er and is working on E53 X5 and possibly
E38 7er.<br>
The E46 M3 SMG steering wheel is becoming a rarity so get your retrofit before
BMWAG limits who can purchase the SMG steering wheel. I am having too much fun
paddle-shifting to say much more. Drive safely!<br>
<b>Overall: (9.5 / 10)</b><br>
</font><font face="Arial"> </font></p>

<img src="http://www.e46fanatics.com/members/vinnymac/paddleshifter2.jpg">

11-16-2007, 08:20 AM

Ive seen this post and Im very interest in install this kit in my car but, I cant access
the vendor Website: http://www.bmw-paddleshift-retro.com/.

Does anyone know where i can get the kit or the necessary information to install it ?

I live in Portugal (Europe).

Many thanks,


11-16-2007, 08:27 AM
Try this:


It was done with an X5 but the process should be about the same.