Thread: M3 Gearing
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Old 10-25-2011, 10:03 PM
Phil3 Phil3 is offline
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Location: San Ramon, CA
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 17
Mein Auto: 1998 BMW M3 sedan 5 speed
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

Last edited by Phil3; 10-25-2011 at 10:05 PM.
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