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Herb Marshall
02-21-2003, 05:55 PM
I've seem some threads in the past about the pros and cons of each. I'm really a stick shift guy but don't want to be a die hard either.I want to order a 325Ci Coupe with manual, but they're not available for California ordering at present. So, what's the honest consensus? I have a 2.5 Z-3 manual now. I just test drove a 325i Stepronic and it was great, but I still love 5 Sp stick.

GSR13
02-21-2003, 06:18 PM
Having driven nothing but Manual's my entire life, I bought a 2002 325i with a Step. That was in April2002. In January2003 I traded it for 2003 330i Manual and there is no going back.

The StepTronic was nice for about a month. After that, I longed for the Stick again.

If you are going to keep the Roadster, then you will have a stick to drive. That would make getting an Auto more tolerable. With me, I did not have that, so I wanted back in a Manual.

It really is odd how big a choice the transmission is. You would think, of all the major decisions we have to make, choosing an Automobile Transmission would seem trivial.

It isn't!

Patrick330i
02-21-2003, 06:31 PM
Originally posted by Herb Marshall
I've seem some threads in the past about the pros and cons of each. I'm really a stick shift guy but don't want to be a die hard either.I want to order a 325Ci Coupe with manual, but they're not available for California ordering at present. So, what's the honest consensus? I have a 2.5 Z-3 manual now. I just test drove a 325i Stepronic and it was great, but I still love 5 Sp stick.

What do you mean they aren't available for CA ordering right now? I don't understand that. Are you looking for immediate delivery??? It's much more difficult to find an in-stock manual tranny than a step, but if you go through the long wait :) like many of us, you can get what you want.

nate
02-21-2003, 06:32 PM
If you currently have and like stick, you probably won't be satisfied with an auto...

skyehill
02-21-2003, 06:42 PM
I went from a manual 323ci to a Step 330i, and I freaking love the Step. I don't miss the constant shifting in traffic(YUCK), and the step manual mode allows me to speed off the line to get ahead of the cars in the other lane(not to mention the darned trucks).

Nick325xiT 5spd
02-21-2003, 06:44 PM
Originally posted by skyehill
I went from a manual 323ci to a Step 330i, and I freaking love the Step. I don't miss the constant shifting in traffic(YUCK), and the step manual mode allows me to speed off the line to get ahead of the cars in the other lane(not to mention the darned trucks).

You couldn't go fast off the line with a stick? No wonder you didn't like it. :tsk:

Alex Baumann
02-21-2003, 06:52 PM
Now, I'll chime in too :D

I've been driving Step in the last three years and I'm freaking bored with it.

Get the manual !! :thumbup:

Jeff_DML
02-21-2003, 06:54 PM
I think the general consensus is:

if you want a step then get the 3.0l, 2.5l is kind of a dog with a slushy. Manual is good with either engine.

Jeff

vexed
02-21-2003, 07:06 PM
Originally posted by Alex Baumann
Now, I'll chime in too :D

I've been driving Step in the last three years and I'm freaking bored with it.

Get the manual !! :thumbup:

skyehill
02-21-2003, 07:25 PM
Learn context. I clearly meant that the Step manual mode allowed me to do what I was already doing in my 323ci manual. Sheesh.:thumbdwn:



You couldn't go fast off the line with a stick? No wonder you didn't like it.

Herb Marshall
02-21-2003, 08:01 PM
Patrick330i, like I said, you can't order because California dealer allocations, to build a car from, don't allow for a 325Ci Manual. All current allocations, permitting a viable order (and the long wait you mention) MUST be Step. This is due to emmisions ratings. This may eventually change, but I want to order now and then wait for the build and shipment. GSR13, I know, but I can't keep the Z3. I can only have 1 car, but need more room than roadster and need back seat for infant seat. Like to hear more reasons to get Step, or else I'll just wait until they build the 5 speeds for Calif.

vexed
02-21-2003, 08:07 PM
Well at the risk of being labeled a heretic I have a Step and it is not bad. I had to get it because my car is a company car but I tend to put it in the M mode and shift it manually. Yes a 5 speed would be a bit more fun but it does not detract from the overall enjoyment of the car. My first BMW was a manual so I have some appreciation for the difference. BTW after I got my car someone else in my office got a 325ci with the step, he had a Boxster before that and I have not heard him complain about any lack of power.

GSR13
02-21-2003, 08:12 PM
Originally posted by skyehill
Learn context. I clearly meant that the Step manual mode allowed me to do what I was already doing in my 323ci manual. Sheesh.:thumbdwn:

Not to split hairs, but when you are coming off the line in a Step, Manual Mode is not the fastest way. Putting your foot all the way to the floor, past the kickdown point, is the fastest way off the line. And in that case, Manual Mode is useless. Simply put, when trying to achieve the best straight line speed in a Step, Manual Mode is useless and that is not what it is intended for.

Manual Mode is designed for one thing, allow the driver to upshift when they want to. It lets you hold the car in the gear of your choice without the computer shifting for you. It also, to a degree, allows control over downshifting. This, in no way, gives you the same control as driving a Manual.

Nick325xiT 5spd
02-21-2003, 08:13 PM
Originally posted by skyehill
Learn context. I clearly meant that the Step manual mode allowed me to do what I was already doing in my 323ci manual. Sheesh.:thumbdwn:


I understand the concept of context. If you're trying to suggest, however, that your statement implied anything other than a lack of skill with a manual on your part, you're deluding yourself.

Wah
02-21-2003, 08:14 PM
don't get a step thinking you will "shift" gears manually... don't kid yourself. You should be thinking "auto vs manual".

If I were you I'd either wait for the stick, or get a 330ci... if you are a stick shift guy like you say, you will regret getting auto.

good luck!

GSR13
02-21-2003, 08:23 PM
Originally posted by Herb Marshall
Patrick330i, like I said, you can't order because California dealer allocations, to build a car from, don't allow for a 325Ci Manual. All current allocations, permitting a viable order (and the long wait you mention) MUST be Step. This is due to emmisions ratings. This may eventually change, but I want to order now and then wait for the build and shipment. GSR13, I know, but I can't keep the Z3. I can only have 1 car, but need more room than roadster and need back seat for infant seat. Like to hear more reasons to get Step, or else I'll just wait until they build the 5 speeds for Calif.

I can certainly understand the need to get a larger car. My wife drive's a Z3 Roadster and certainly is not a family car.

One thing I would like to say here. The Step, mated with the 2.5, does not feel that slow. Granted, my 330 is much faster, but speed was not the reason I wanted out of my 325. The car has adequate power and is still very enjoyable to drive. One thing is certain, my wife's Z3 2.5/Step is a lot faster than my 325i was. Granted, there is a small weight difference, but I believe most of it has to do with gearing.

I will also add, that I drove my Step in Manual Mode 95% of the time. This only added to my longing of a Clutch Pedal. The Step is not bad, I just grew tired of inconsistent Downshifts and also the lag between shifting. Also, one of my biggest overall complaints, is the Automatic Downshifting. In Manual Mode, as you slow to a stop, the car will downshift on its own. The problem comes because it is very inconsistent and annoying. An example of this, many times the car would be in 3rd gear and I would be turning. I would downshift manually to 2nd at the same moment the computer shifted to 2nd. This would put the car in 1st and was very frustrating.

I think the Step is a great transmission, for an auto. If you believe you can deal with an auto, then you will love the step. But, if you enjoy the driving experience and changing gears, then you will not be happy for long driving an auto.

GalBimmer
02-21-2003, 08:36 PM
Now that I think about it, every male BMW owner that I know drives a stick. I think it's a preference ingrained from the teenage years. I like automatics, but if I'm a passenger I like to ride in a manual. Again, probably something from my youth when driving/riding fast was considered entertainment.

My bet is you would regret not buying a manual just based on what you've said. :)

The HACK
02-21-2003, 08:38 PM
Originally posted by Herb Marshall
Patrick330i, like I said, you can't order because California dealer allocations, to build a car from, don't allow for a 325Ci Manual. All current allocations, permitting a viable order (and the long wait you mention) MUST be Step. This is due to emmisions ratings. This may eventually change, but I want to order now and then wait for the build and shipment. GSR13, I know, but I can't keep the Z3. I can only have 1 car, but need more room than roadster and need back seat for infant seat. Like to hear more reasons to get Step, or else I'll just wait until they build the 5 speeds for Calif.

You need to talk to Jon Shafer...Something sounds fishy here.

The reason why "sticks" are not available is probably a computer glitch. There are two versions of the 325i/Ci here in California, the SULEV and the ULEV version. The SULEV ONLY comes in Auto, and the ULEV only comes in Manual.

Another reason why the Ci may not be available now, is that in March the Ci rolls over to 2004 MY. You can NOT order a 2003 Ci anymore.

Seriously, talk to Shafer first before you give up on the stick. I have a 323Ci in stick and auto and frankly, the auto may be nice if it's the only transmission you drive regularly, but comparing the stick and auto side by side, it's like you're missing 2 cylinders with an auto.:mad:

Herb Marshall
02-21-2003, 08:53 PM
IT is according to Jon Shafer, and others at various dealers, that confirms Calif production slots for 2004 MY are SULEV with Step, and Step cannot be deleted.

GSR13
02-21-2003, 08:57 PM
Originally posted by Herb Marshall
IT is according to Jon Shafer, and others at various dealers, that confirms Calif production slots for 2004 MY are SULEV with Step, and Step cannot be deleted.

The SULEV models are Step only. The question is, can you order a 325 in ULEV, and get it in a stick?

The HACK
02-21-2003, 08:57 PM
Originally posted by Herb Marshall
IT is according to Jon Shafer, and others at various dealers, that confirms Calif production slots for 2004 MY are SULEV with Step, and Step cannot be deleted.

Well, then it just depends on how desperate you are to drive a stick...Honestly I'd be willing to drive the 300+ miles or a quick SouthWest flight ($49) to Vegas and buy the car there. :dunno:

F1Crazy
02-21-2003, 09:12 PM
I love my car but the biggest mistake I've ever made is getting a slushbox. :thumbdwn:
Not that I had much choice but I still constantly torture myself thinking how much more fun it would've been if I had manual.
Just my $.02 on manual vs. auto.

skyehill
02-21-2003, 09:13 PM
Originally posted by Nick325xiT 5spd
I understand the concept of context. If you're trying to suggest, however, that your statement implied anything other than a lack of skill with a manual on your part, you're deluding yourself.

So you can't grasp context or basic English. My guess is you're just a dope. Stayin school, dummy.

johnlew
02-21-2003, 09:18 PM
This is coming from someone who has two steps and has driven sticks for 34 years. First, the BMW step is hands down, the best automatic transmission I've ever driven. Quick, tight, smooth, controllable and flexible enough for any driving style. Second, the E46 stick kinda sucks. It's not an instantly natural feeling stick, clumsy to start with, high grabbing, but with a little bit of time becomes doable. You do eventually get used to it. That said, once comfortable with the stick, it is a pleasure to drive. You naturally have more control over the timing and tempo of the car. Crisp, nicely geared and a joy to make the car sing through the gears. However, in traffic and when you really just don't feel like it, that singing quickly becomes a broken record, as you already know. If you go step, get all the power you can, it *does* make a difference. I have both the 330 and 540. Your decision to go step is also mitigated by the fact that you do have a stick to drive when you need the fix. Either way, you won't go wrong, they're both fun to drive. Just my two cents.


The stick elitists need to get over themselves.

GalBimmer
02-21-2003, 09:28 PM
Originally posted by johnlew
The stick elitists need to get over themselves.

:rofl:
I always think that when I read these posts - I never have liked the s-word (slushie).

Nice comparison writeup, although I felt like I was at work when I read the word 'mitigated.' :(

beauport
02-21-2003, 09:55 PM
Originally posted by Alex Baumann
Now, I'll chime in too :D

I've been driving Step in the last three years and I'm freaking bored with it.

Get the manual !! :thumbup:

Me too, in fact I sold a perfectly good car, i.e., fast, dependable, good handling ...but boring, to get a stick again..and a BMW.

The HACK
02-21-2003, 10:49 PM
Call me stick elitist ALL YOU WANT. Unless you have two cars of the identical engine and chasis/suspension on the two different transmissions you can not objectively compare them.

Looking at his choice of engine size, I think going to an automatic is a big mistake. I've driven 330i/Ci in automatic and frankly they're not that much quicker than my 323Ci. Sure, they FEEL more powerful but once wound up my 'Ci is JUST AS FAST as a 330i/Ci auto. Numbers can easily back that up.

Seriously, getting the auto IS like chopping off a cylinder or two from your engine.

Plaz
02-21-2003, 11:15 PM
Originally posted by johnlew
Second, the E46 stick kinda sucks. It's not an instantly natural feeling stick, clumsy to start with, high grabbing, but with a little bit of time becomes doable.

(snip)

However, in traffic and when you really just don't feel like it, that singing quickly becomes a broken record.

This is obviously a completely subjective matter, because IMO, john couldn't be more wrong on both these counts.

I was instantly comfortable with the stick. Did I stall it? Of course. Twice. That seemed pretty damned good to me for the first time with a new stick car.

I HATE automatics in heavy traffic. Why people think it's "easier" to have to ride the brake constantly is something I'll never understand.

Do yourself a favor and be sure to drive both for extended test drives before you make a decision. Even if you have to drive some CPO'd ones in order to find them. It's a decision you don't want to find yourself regretting.

EdCT
02-22-2003, 08:58 AM
Originally posted by Herb Marshall
I've seem some threads in the past about the pros and cons of each. I'm really a stick shift guy but don't want to be a die hard either.I want to order a 325Ci Coupe with manual, but they're not available for California ordering at present. So, what's the honest consensus? I have a 2.5 Z-3 manual now. I just test drove a 325i Stepronic and it was great, but I still love 5 Sp stick.

Without question, a stick is more fun.

However, I'd argue that on the autocross (if it interests you) you'll turn faster lap times with the step, in either sport or maual mode.

Ed

johnlew
02-22-2003, 09:13 AM
Hack, I have driven both manual and step of the same chassis and engine, 330i's. My comments still hold and, of course, the stick is more responsive. Any step buyer understands this and weighs the pros and cons. Your comment about similar feel of the smaller engine once wound up is true and with a stick, the tendency to wind up is much greater. I personally like low end torque. If getting a step is like chopping two cylinders off your engine, then some (most BMW) folks evidently feel two less cylinders is OK.

Plaz, of course the discussion is subjective. Therefore, there can be no right or wrong...just what's best for the individual. Instantly comfortable? Then you wouldn't have stalled it. I never did in the 330 or 325 that I drove, but I wasn't instantly comfortable, meaning I wasn't making the glass smooth shifts that I'm used to. I *did* say that with a little bit of practice you do get comfortable and that the stick is very nice. What's this riding the brakes stuff? I don't ride my brakes in traffic but then the kind of traffic I drive in might be considered a Sunday drive for Californians. BTW, how was the earthquake this A.M.?

You're absolutely correct that Herb should take extended test drives to find which transmission option best suits him. When he decides, either one will be a great choice.

My elitist comment refers primarily to the lack of open mindedness by some board members to the different needs/wants of others. There is no right or wrong in the choice of transmissions if it's right for the person who's driving the car. Condescension just seems to be a way of life for some.

operknockity
02-22-2003, 09:28 AM
Originally posted by johnlew
for Californians. BTW, how was the earthquake this A.M.?
Pardon the OT diversion.... We had an earthquake this morning? :dunno:

johnlew
02-22-2003, 09:39 AM
Originally posted by operknockity
Pardon the OT diversion.... We had an earthquake this morning? :dunno:

http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/nat-gen/2003/feb/22/022200105.html

******** src="http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/nat-gen/2003/feb/22/022200105.html" width="100%" height="500">*********>

operknockity
02-22-2003, 10:37 AM
Wow. Slept right through it. :p

johnlew
02-22-2003, 10:46 AM
Originally posted by operknockity
Wow. Slept right through it. :p

It's the one you never wake up from that's the problem :yikes: :p

Matthew330Ci
02-22-2003, 11:59 AM
I am a firm believer in manual transmissions for myself.

I have no problem with automatics and the people who drive them, some people never bother to learn or just plain suck at it, that's fine.

however, it annoys me when the auto driver (usually young guys who don't want to be called an auto pansy or whatever) starts pretending (posing, fronting in their lingo) like he was trying hard to decide between the auto and manual but got the auto because of "heavy traffic" when the truth is he never even considered a manual in the first place.

Matthew330Ci
02-22-2003, 12:00 PM
Originally posted by operknockity
Wow. Slept right through it. :p

same here.

Patrick330i
02-22-2003, 12:03 PM
Originally posted by Herb Marshall
Patrick330i, like I said, you can't order because California dealer allocations, to build a car from, don't allow for a 325Ci Manual. All current allocations, permitting a viable order (and the long wait you mention) MUST be Step. This is due to emmisions ratings. This may eventually change, but I want to order now and then wait for the build and shipment. GSR13, I know, but I can't keep the Z3. I can only have 1 car, but need more room than roadster and need back seat for infant seat. Like to hear more reasons to get Step, or else I'll just wait until they build the 5 speeds for Calif.

Herb, do what I did. I bought the car up in Portland. No problems with allocations, waits or anything like that. Plus, you can have a great drive down PCH to get back! :thumbup:

Plaz
02-22-2003, 01:14 PM
Originally posted by johnlew
http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/nat-gen/2003/feb/22/022200105.html


I had no idea. :dunno:

(more people die in blizzards back east than in earthquakes out here these days... all the pre-code buildings that would crumble from a quake have already fallen!)

vexed
02-22-2003, 01:45 PM
Originally posted by johnlew
My elitist comment refers primarily to the lack of open mindedness by some board members to the different needs/wants of others. There is no right or wrong in the choice of transmissions if it's right for the person who's driving the car. Condescension just seems to be a way of life for some.

Condescension here at the Fest, say it ain't so.:yikes: John sums it up perfectly, if you can drive both and decide. And John I suspect you were driving a manual before some of the people here were even born (gee so was I):mad: I recall a poll a while again about which car you took your drving test on, there were very few of us who did so on a manual.;)

skyehill
02-22-2003, 02:11 PM
You can test drive both, decide on the step and there will still be dopes that don't respect your decision. They'll say such infantile things as "you don't know how to drive stick".

Having driven the BMW stick for 3 years, and now having the step, I'm quite pleased with both. Just sick of manual. When I race at the track, I still use the team's manual...quite well too, much to the chagrin of the anti-step dopes.

johnlew
02-22-2003, 02:29 PM
Originally posted by vexed
Condescension here at the Fest, say it ain't so. John sums it up perfectly, if you can drive both and decide. And John I suspect you were driving a manual before some of the people here were even born (gee so was I)I recall a poll a while again about which car you took your drving test on, there were very few of us who did so on a manual.

I took my driver's test in this...

http://home.wi.rr.com/bmw330cic/Cars_files/image002.jpg

It was an automatic. But at the time, my father had a 1956 Mercedes 220s convertible with a stick on the column that I learned to drive a stick on. To say the least, synchro technology was not too advanced on that car. My brother had a manual Fiat 850 Spyder. Later on, my dad had a '64 Austin Healy BJ7. Talk about better knowing how to handle a stick, that thing was a truck. Speaking of which, there were a couple of box delivery trucks in there too during summer jobs.

The first stick that I owned, was a 1972 BMW 2002 which I bought new ($4200). Didn't have any again after 1976 until 1981 when I bought a 1972 MGB for a summer car. Had stick converts for summer until 1999. I'll have a manual again someday, I'm sure, it's just nice to have only two cars now. Will probably be an SMG.

How's the baby doing?

vexed
02-22-2003, 03:59 PM
Originally posted by johnlew
I took my driver's test in this...

http://home.wi.rr.com/bmw330cic/Cars_files/image002.jpg

It was an automatic. But at the time, my father had a 1956 Mercedes 220s convertible with a stick on the column that I learned to drive a stick on. To say the least, synchro technology was not too advanced on that car. My brother had a manual Fiat 850 Spyder. Later on, my dad had a '64 Austin Healy BJ7. Talk about better knowing how to handle a stick, that thing was a truck. Speaking of which, there were a couple of box delivery trucks in there too during summer jobs.

The first stick that I owned, was a 1972 BMW 2002 which I bought new ($4200). Didn't have any again after 1976 until 1981 when I bought a 1972 MGB for a summer car. Had stick converts for summer until 1999. I'll have a manual again someday, I'm sure, it's just nice to have only two cars now. Will probably be an SMG.

How's the baby doing?

My father was in to foreign cars in the 60's, a Fiat, Volvo, and 2 Saabs, an Audi.... I learned on the Saab, the worst tranny possible.

Baby sleeps longer at night, screams more during the day.:eeps:

Nick325xiT 5spd
02-22-2003, 04:31 PM
Originally posted by skyehill
You can test drive both, decide on the step and there will still be dopes that don't respect your decision. They'll say such infantile things as "you don't know how to drive stick".

Having driven the BMW stick for 3 years, and now having the step, I'm quite pleased with both. Just sick of manual. When I race at the track, I still use the team's manual...quite well too, much to the chagrin of the anti-step dopes.

Frankly, I'm amazed at how worked up you are. "Infantile" is an excellent description for your level of emotional maturity. :tsk: :rolleyes:

plugot
02-22-2003, 05:33 PM
I've been driving sticks on -- and off -- since 1967. Living in SoCal and slugging up the 405 (when I can get actually get on the entry ramp) and shifting from 1st to 2nd, to neutral, back to 1st, then into neutral - coast, coast -- slow down then back into 1st, etc. makes think I'm an idiot for getting still another stick.
Barelling down Angeles Crest Highway, downshifting from 3rd to 2nd, braking through the turn, accelerating back up to 3rd, etc. makes me glad I got the stick. More control, less boredom, more connection with the driving process -- these are the pluses for driving a stick.
Creeping in dense traffic - this is a plus for the auto. If I can avoid the latter, there's no question which is best. That's why I'm a candidate for SMG. In fact, had it been available in '01 when I got my 330CI, I would've opted for it.
As has already been stated, there's no right or wrong. Just decide what best suits your driving experience and go with it.
And for Vexxed, Saab didn't have a bad tranny. I had a '72 model 95 with a 4spd on the column. It was pretty easy. Then again I learned to drive a stick on an early Jag E-type with a Moss 4spd. No syncho in 1st, synchro in 2nd every third Tuesday, and a clutch that would make your left calve twice as big as the right. After that, nothing but a truck tranny would be a challege.

richard
02-22-2003, 05:51 PM
Speaking of truck trannies, in my old job I had to drive a diesel cherry picker truck. Talk about a clutch...old, misused, slipped like crazy and talk about a high engagement point! That said, I have no problem with anyone wanting an auto. Anyone can learn to drive a stick, but it does take some desire and effort. Not everyone wants to go to the trouble.

Herb Marshall
02-22-2003, 08:12 PM
Thanks all. That's right, really no right or wrong here. Also very intuitive to think my test was a stick. Yep, 3 on the floor. Model B Ford. Had to double clutch (miss doing that) to down to 2nd. Things improved with technology, got a synchomesh. Wow. Not all mine were sticks. Had a '41 Olds with Hydromatic. Sweet. Later a Buick Dynaflo (talk abpout "slush"), Chevy Powerglide, etc. Seems I always migrate back to a stick, which all my recent rides have been. I might just try the Step. I AM hooked on Bimmer, but it's not like this will be my last. Drive Safe. Herb

DoctorBimmer
02-23-2003, 10:41 PM
Here I was all happy knowing that I finally worked out all the fine details of exactly what I want, and then I went and read this thread. Ummm....auto?.......manual? This question had me writing down my previous cars, which ones had an Auto and which ones had a stick. After looking at the list it kind of struck me that all the cars that had a stick were the ones I remembered as having the most fun in !! I guess I'll have to go in and test drive the 5spd........oh, wait a minute, the 6 spd will be out in a month or so, right? Well, the 5 spd should give me a good idea. Now, PLEASE don't start a thread on coupe vs sedan, I CAN'T TAKE ANYMORE !!!:rofl:

MysticCi
02-24-2003, 07:33 AM
Why dont you just order the car from a dealer outside of California. I dont know your complete situation, but couldn't this be a possibility?

jk330i
02-24-2003, 09:30 AM
Originally posted by johnlew
This is coming from someone who has two steps and has driven sticks for 34 years. First, the BMW step is hands down, the best automatic transmission I've ever driven. Quick, tight, smooth, controllable and flexible enough for any driving style. Second, the E46 stick kinda sucks. It's not an instantly natural feeling stick, clumsy to start with, high grabbing, but with a little bit of time becomes doable. You do eventually get used to it. That said, once comfortable with the stick, it is a pleasure to drive. You naturally have more control over the timing and tempo of the car. Crisp, nicely geared and a joy to make the car sing through the gears. However, in traffic and when you really just don't feel like it, that singing quickly becomes a broken record, as you already know. If you go step, get all the power you can, it *does* make a difference. I have both the 330 and 540. Your decision to go step is also mitigated by the fact that you do have a stick to drive when you need the fix. Either way, you won't go wrong, they're both fun to drive. Just my two cents.


The stick elitists need to get over themselves.

Well said. :thumbup:

I couldn't have expressed my opinions any better than mr. lew, thank you.

skyehill
02-24-2003, 01:44 PM
I couldn't agree more either. I'm loving my 3 day old 330i with step.:p

Jspeed
02-24-2003, 04:33 PM
Originally posted by johnlew
This is coming from someone who has two steps and has driven sticks for 34 years. First, the BMW step is hands down, the best automatic transmission I've ever driven. Quick, tight, smooth, controllable and flexible enough for any driving style. Second, the E46 stick kinda sucks. It's not an instantly natural feeling stick, clumsy to start with, high grabbing, but with a little bit of time becomes doable. You do eventually get used to it. That said, once comfortable with the stick, it is a pleasure to drive. You naturally have more control over the timing and tempo of the car. Crisp, nicely geared and a joy to make the car sing through the gears. However, in traffic and when you really just don't feel like it, that singing quickly becomes a broken record, as you already know. If you go step, get all the power you can, it *does* make a difference. I have both the 330 and 540. Your decision to go step is also mitigated by the fact that you do have a stick to drive when you need the fix. Either way, you won't go wrong, they're both fun to drive. Just my two cents.


The stick elitists need to get over themselves.
I'm not going to jump in here and tell anyone which transmission to get. Personally I'd need one of each. However having owned/borrowed numerous cars w/ manual trannies I can attest that BMW's manuals are a bit too notchy and the clutch engagement can be vague (still better than Audi, of course).

Just to add a counterpoint, I thought Audi's Tiptronic was even better than the Steptronic due to its more complete TC lock-up.

AF
02-24-2003, 07:48 PM
I agree with John that the BMW step is THE best Automatic out there. It gives you a great sense of control and is extremely enthusiast oriented. I loved my 330Ci step and have extremely fond memories of flying that car around the twisties never longing for a manual . . .

That said, I have the 5 speed manual in my 330i and I love it as well. I can honestly say that I don't think I will go back to Automatics for a VERY long time. I really enjoy my Manual, I find the BMW stick seems to drive much better when driven aggressively and I am very happy with the overall feel of it.

As for those trying to make the choice for the first time, it really is a tough choice . . . one thing to add though . . . if you are getting the Step as a Manual replacement, forget it, if you are getting a step because you want one of the best driver oriented AUTOMATICS, then you are making the right choice.