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Phil3 10-25-2011 10:03 PM

M3 Gearing
I drive a 2007 Cayman S 6 speed but always have been a BMW enthusiast, last owning a 1998 E36 M3 4 door sedan 5 speed in Estoril blue and grey interior. Never should have gotten rid of that car!

I am missing the versatility of the old M3 more than I thought (driving the Cayman), so thought I would revisit the M3 sedan. Down at the dealer, they had a used 2008 6 speeder, so took it out. Very impressive, in every respect, but what is up with the gearing of this car? First and second are extremely low, too low if you ask me. First is 15.6:1 and 2nd is 9.1:1. The Cayman is 12.8:1 and 7.57. Driving the M3 away from a stop felt like I was out of first gear before I got half way across the intersection. The M3 gearing in 1st is 22% lower than the Cayman, but the Cayman has zero problem pulling its 1st gear ratio. The M3 may be geared this way to enhance acceleration, but it makes for a lot of extra comotion (shifting) accelerating to normal speeds at modest rpms. I like shifting, but some soccer moms around here in a van can run up your tail pipe if you pause in acceleration 50 feet out into an intersection (due to a shift). Yes, I know I can shift at higher revs, but to reach the same mph as the Cayman does at 3600 rpm, the M3 has to be at 4400.

Still, I really liked this car and is the only thing I have drive that is in the same class as the Cayman.

- Phil

Jeff_DML 10-26-2011 12:36 PM

gearing is why it can keep up with cars that have higher hp and torque. Like you said, you have plenty of revs so dont short shift. I don't find myself busy shifting a lot, my e46 325 wagon felt like it was was geared even shorter then my m3 and I would skip gears on that thing because of it.

Nefilim 10-27-2011 08:33 PM

good question, could it be as nefarious as boosting 0-60 times ? :)

curious about the cayman S comparison otherwise? having had an M coupe before i was definitely interested in the cayman S also...

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