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Old 08-01-2002, 01:18 PM
rcc rcc is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Campbell, CA
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 46
Mein Auto: 2003 330i
Wow. Great review. What's fascinating to me is the huge difference between the BMW SMG-II and the Ferrari equivalent.

I had the good fortune of driving a friend's F355 with the paddle shifters up and down a twisty mountain road. It was amazing and completely unlike the SMG-II experience. Shifting was perfectly smooth under both light and hard acceleration. I could downshift under braking without upsetting the chassis (I've never really learned to heel-and-toe -- small feet so being able to trail-brake was fun) and puttering around town in automatic mode was as smooth as any automatic I've ever driven.

I think the good/bad news with the Ferrari version is that you really don't need much skill to smoothly manage the engine. I didn't try anything blatantly stupid but if you shift anywhere near the normal rpm's, the thing shifts smooth as silk, no throttle lifting required.

If I could get that system on a car I could afford , I'd do it in an instant. While I think that in some ways I wouldn't be quite as "involved" in the driving, the system would let me drive the car so much better than I can drive a manual right now that it would be worth it. Not to mention the convenience in stop-and-go traffic.

But it sounds like BMW has got a ways to go before it gets to that point.

Less temptation to line up for an M3 I guess ...

-- Ray
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