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F30 / F31 / F32 / F33 (2012 - current)
The sixth generation 3 series, chassis code F30. 2013 model year 328i and 335i sedans now in production. Read the F30 frequently asked question thread for all your basic question and dive into all the details in the ultimate F30 information thread.

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  #1  
Old 04-09-2014, 03:53 PM
jblend jblend is offline
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435i Manual vs Automatic

I'll be ordering a 435i this summer and had planned on getting a manual transmission, but I fear I might just be getting too old to keep working a clutch. The currently available 8 speed automatic doesn't really appeal to me, but I'd go for the DCT if it were offered.

Any thoughts on when the DCT might be available, and if not, how much of a sacrifice is the current automatic compared to the manual?
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  #2  
Old 04-09-2014, 04:00 PM
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Mathfuzzy Mathfuzzy is offline
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If you haven't already, you might do a search on 6MT.

I was in a similar situation - if the twin clutch had been offered, that would have been my choice. Because it wasn't, even though the ZF 8 speed is very competent, I just couldn't buy a torque converter transmission. I don't think you're ever "too old" and once I committed to the 6 speed / clutch, I was instantly happier with my decision.

The DCT seems to be reserved for the M4 at the moment. As others have said, maybe at the end of the model run there will be a 435is, and that would likely have DCT as an option, but I'm guessing that's several years away.
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Old 04-09-2014, 04:04 PM
jblend jblend is offline
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Thanks for the thoughts. I currently have a 2004 330ci, performance package, MT and love the car to death. But my commute is now down a crappy urban road where I seldom get above 25 MPH in busy traffic. Just toying with the idea of an auto transmission but if DCT isn't forthcoming I'll stick with the MT.
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Old 04-09-2014, 04:06 PM
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captainaudio captainaudio is offline
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I maintain that a lot of the appeal of the DCT is that "it is not really an automatic transmission". The newer model ZF ATs that BMW is using are so close in performance and feel to DCTs that they are in many cases indistinguishable.

If you are a hard core MT lover (not that there's anything wrong with that ) I don't think either the 8 Speed ZF of the DCT are going to float your boat.
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Old 04-09-2014, 04:12 PM
raqautle raqautle is offline
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435i Manual vs Automatic

Quote:
Originally Posted by captainaudio View Post
I maintain that a lot of the appeal of the DCT is that "it is not really an automatic transmission". The newer model ZF ATs that BMW is using are so close in performance and feel to DCTs that they are in many cases indistinguishable.

If you are a hard core MT lover (not that there's anything wrong with that ) I don't think either the 8 Speed ZF of the DCT are going to float your boat.

I have an auto in my 435i so I may be biased but BMW said they aren't going to put a dct in a 4 series, except for the M4, because the 8 speed shifts so quickly and it can go from 8th gear to 2nd in .2 seconds so the advantages of a dct is almost 0. However, if u love a manual, u may love the manual more but many people have been impressed with the 8 speed, even manual drivers. With auto, the car comes with paddles to give it a sportier feeling. I would recommend trying out both auto and manual in almost any other BMW, they should be the same transmission any way, just to get a feel.
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Old 04-09-2014, 04:20 PM
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captainaudio captainaudio is offline
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Originally Posted by raqautle View Post
I have an auto in my 435i so I may be biased but BMW said they aren't going to put a dct in a 4 series, except for the M4, because the 8 speed shifts so quickly and it can go from 8th gear to 2nd in .2 seconds so the advantages of a dct is almost 0. However, if u love a manual, u may love the manual more but many people have been impressed with the 8 speed, even manual drivers. With auto, the car comes with paddles to give it a sportier feeling. I would recommend trying out both auto and manual in almost any other BMW, they should be the same transmission any way, just to get a feel.
I was at Lime Rock Park last year when a friend of mine (who is a very experienced driver - 2 time national Trans-Am champion, 5 top 10 finishes in the LeMans 24 Hour, 5th Place in the Indy 500, winner of the Daytona 24 Hour and the Sebring 12 Hour, etc.) was testing a Porsche Boxster with a DCT and a Jaguar F Type with an 8 Speed ZF AT for Road and Track Magazine. He told me that he did not see a significant difference between the two transmissions although he felt the Boxster was a better track car (but they were both superb road cars).

As I have stated before the differences in shift speed are moot. The ZF can shift in 200 milliseconds, the DCT can shift someshat faster but consider that the "blink of an eye" is approx. 400 milliseconds. As an experiment blink your eye and then determine if having a transmission that can shift faster than that will have a perceptible effect on the performance of a car.

I think it boils down to whether you prefer two pedals or three.

CA
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Last edited by captainaudio; 04-09-2014 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 04-09-2014, 09:05 PM
alpinweiss alpinweiss is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jblend View Post
Thanks for the thoughts. I currently have a 2004 330ci, performance package, MT and love the car to death. But my commute is now down a crappy urban road where I seldom get above 25 MPH in busy traffic. Just toying with the idea of an auto transmission but if DCT isn't forthcoming I'll stick with the MT.
Live your dreams!

Your post does not sound like someone who desperately wants to buy an automatic or automated manual transmission. This sounds like a formula for buyer's remorse.

If you like a 6-speed manual, then that is what you should buy. I share your enthusiasm for MT.

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Old 04-09-2014, 09:09 PM
jblend jblend is offline
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Originally Posted by alpinweiss View Post
Live your dreams!

Your post does not sound like someone who desperately wants to buy an automatic or automated manual transmission. This sounds like a formula for buyer's remorse.

If you like a 6-speed manual, then that is what you should buy. I share your enthusiasm for MT.

Welcome to Bimmerfest!

Thanks. I think you're right - I was trying to talk myself into an auto, but I think I'll be sticking with the MT for the foreseeable future.
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  #9  
Old 04-09-2014, 09:37 PM
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captainaudio captainaudio is offline
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Originally Posted by jblend View Post
Thanks. I think you're right - I was trying to talk myself into an auto, but I think I'll be sticking with the MT for the foreseeable future.
I think you will find that driving a DCT is much closer to driving the 8 Speed ZF Automatic than it is to driving an MT.

CA
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Old 04-09-2014, 09:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captainaudio View Post
I think you will find that driving a DCT is much closer to driving the 8 Speed ZF Automatic than it is to driving an MT.

CA

This.

I still find that I enjoy using a clutch. And for me the thought of a torque converter and lost energy is a bridge too far.



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Old 04-09-2014, 09:52 PM
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captainaudio captainaudio is offline
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Originally Posted by Mathfuzzy View Post
This.

I still find that I enjoy using a clutch. And for me the thought of a torque converter and lost energy is a bridge too far.



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I enjoy using a clutch too but I also enjoy shifting with paddles or even letting a good AT shift for me.

The torque converter on the ZF 8 Speed AT (and for that matter on the E9x's ZF 6 Speed AT) is a non issue as it is locked up once the car is in motion. Torque converters are actually very good devices for smooth take off from a stop.

CA
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Last edited by captainaudio; 04-09-2014 at 09:54 PM.
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  #12  
Old 04-09-2014, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captainaudio View Post
I enjoy using a clutch too but I also enjoy shifting with paddles or even letting a good AT shift for me.

The torque converter on the ZF 8 Speed AT (and for that matter on the E9x's ZF 6 Speed AT) is a non issue as it is locked up once the car is in motion. Torque converters are actually very good devices for smooth take off from a stop.

CA

I always understood the advantage of smooth acceleration from a stop, but had a seat of the pants issue with speed of lock up. So the argument for a DCT arrangement (sorry to the OP for using your thread for my education) is simply about absolute speed of gear change? I get that the speed of gear change and flexibility in the ZF box is quite impressive.


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Old 04-09-2014, 10:08 PM
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captainaudio captainaudio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathfuzzy View Post
I always understood the advantage of smooth acceleration from a stop, but had a seat of the pants issue with speed of lock up. So the argument for a DCT arrangement (sorry to the OP for using your thread for my education) is simply about absolute speed of gear change? I get that the speed of gear change and flexibility in the ZF box is quite impressive.


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I spent last weekend at Lime Rock Park (it was the opening of the season for the Lime Rock Drivers Club) I stayed at Greenworks B&B which is across the road from the track and is the home of Bob and Joy Green. Bob is a good friend and was the Skip Barber Racing School instructor who taught me how to heel and toe and double clutch. During breakfast on Sunday morning we were discussing AT vs DCT vs MT. Bob acknowledged that he could not shift gears as fast as either a DCT or the ZF AT. If he can't I sure as hell can't either and I suspect that there is no one on this forum (or anywhere else) that can either.

Bob has a 30 year old Porsche 911 with an MT that he loves driving but admits that he can not shift it as quickly as he can shift the BMW M3 pace car that he drives at Lime Rock.

The ZF auto (and the Mercedes Benz auto) can be paired with a multi-plate clutch in place of a torque converter but AFAIK BMW has not used this feature in any of their current models.

CA
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Old 04-09-2014, 10:14 PM
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I've only owned about ten cars, over fifty years, but all have been MT. I've driven rentals and friends' cars, all automatics, and have been bored silly. I also get bored in heavy rush hour traffic but enjoy entertaining myself with working on my 2-1 downshifts and seeing how long I can drive, in hideous stop-and-go, without touching the brakes. I even shift when I don't need to, for fun, and love 6-4 and 5-3 downshifts, as well as skipping gears on fast accels. I doubleclutch all downshifts, again for the fun, and the smoothness, and welcome the few chances for heel and toe doubleclutch downshifts on those rare 90-degree turns. But most folks are not as easily bored as me and they seem to like AT, so they can fool instead with their infotainment systems, instead of paying attention to the joy of driving. And my next big birthday is the big Eight-Oh, so don't use old age as an excuse.
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Old 04-09-2014, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordique View Post
I've only owned about ten cars, over fifty years, but all have been MT. I've driven rentals and friends' cars, all automatics, and have been bored silly. I also get bored in heavy rush hour traffic but enjoy entertaining myself with working on my 2-1 downshifts and seeing how long I can drive, in hideous stop-and-go, without touching the brakes. I even shift when I don't need to, for fun, and love 6-4 and 5-3 downshifts, as well as skipping gears on fast accels. I doubleclutch all downshifts, again for the fun, and the smoothness, and welcome the few chances for heel and toe doubleclutch downshifts on those rare 90-degree turns. But most folks are not as easily bored as me and they seem to like AT, so they can fool instead with their infotainment systems, instead of paying attention to the joy of driving. And my next big birthday is the big Eight-Oh, so don't use old age as an excuse.
I am not about to turn 80 but I have been driving for 50 years. My first car, which I bought when I was 17, was an AT and every car after that (until my 335i) was an MT.

If you need to be shifting gears to pay attention to "The Joy of Driving" what do you do to pay attention when you are cruising on an interstate? I frequently drive from Fort Lauderdale to Naples, FL on "Alligator Alley" (Route 75). This is a road that is perfectly straight and perfectly flat. I can assure you that I pay attention, do not fool with my "infotainment system" and do not shift gears or do much steering (unless I am passing another car) since the road is as straight as an arrow).

I try to use the same techniques on the road that I use on the track and I do not use the transmission to slow the car, that's what the brakes are for. When driving an MT I always double clutch and rev match but that has become so "automatic" that I no longer find it particularly challenging. Actually I found that of all the things I was taught in high performance driving school the MT was the easiest to master. Much easier than trail braking, finding the right braking points, finding the best line around a corner, getting consistent lap times, etc.

IMHO if you need to be shifting gears to pay attention to driving you probably should not be driving.

CA
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Last edited by captainaudio; 04-09-2014 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 04-09-2014, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captainaudio View Post
If you need to be shifting gears to pay attention to "The Joy of Driving" what do you do to pay attention when you are cruising on an interstate? I frequently drive from Fort Lauderdale to Naples, FL on "Alligator Alley" (Route 75). This is a road that is perfectly straight and perfectly flat. I can assure you that I pay attention, do not fool with my "infotainment system" and do not shift gears or do much steering (unless I am passing another car) since the road is as straight as an arrow).

IMO if you need to be shifting gears to pay attention to driving you probably should not be driving.

CA
I love to drive, always have--except in automatics--and I always pay attention when I drive, on the road or on the track. And I've driven in Florida, around Naples, and have to admit it is seriously boring--dead flat. That's why I chose to live in a state and region where there are a lot of great driving roads, made for bimmers! And our local BMW CCA club has a twisties tour this sunny Saturday!
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Old 04-09-2014, 10:54 PM
namelessman namelessman is online now
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My observation(from being a life-long MT driver) after 13k miles with my ZF 8AT is that, MT driving does consume energy which can be redirected to further improve other aspects of the art of driving, e.g. focus on the lines, apex, the surroundings, the road conditions, anticipation of traffic flow(same or opposite direction), etc, etc. To me, with the ZF 8AT, the rest of the road slows down, figuratively, and that can be helpful in any road and traffic condition.
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Old 04-10-2014, 01:11 AM
jayb328i jayb328i is offline
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Manual for me. I am okay if BMW discontinues the automatic.
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Old 04-10-2014, 06:35 AM
Michael Schott Michael Schott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captainaudio View Post
I maintain that a lot of the appeal of the DCT is that "it is not really an automatic transmission". The newer model ZF ATs that BMW is using are so close in performance and feel to DCTs that they are in many cases indistinguishable.

If you are a hard core MT lover (not that there's anything wrong with that ) I don't think either the 8 Speed ZF of the DCT are going to float your boat.
I agree with CA's sentiments. I am a MT junkie and want to shift for myself. I also seek out twisty roads and don't often commute in stop and go traffic. If my car was used strictly in slow speed commutes, I may lean towards the 8AT.
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Old 04-10-2014, 06:38 AM
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As an aside - it'll be interesting to see how having a 6MT will effect resale value, whenever the time comes. My guess is that there will be those seeking a relatively scarce commodity, and hence good. But maybe not.
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Old 04-10-2014, 07:16 AM
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Mark K Mark K is offline
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OP, as many said here one way or another, if you are even THINKING about having a remorse when buying a two-pedal transmission* then just get MT. You'll be paying north of $50k for that vehicle and it would be truly dumb to have regrets later.

I'm currently driving a loaner 328i X-drive no line + Premium. It took all of two days of driving before I left it in the garage and took my MT Golf to work. Just imagine if the same happens to you after you transferred more than $50k of your wealth to BMW coffers

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Mathfuzzy, they are all the same, none has a clutch pedal no matter how many actual clutches it has. Furthermore, as captainaudio told you, whether you shift in 200 milisec or 150 milisec is so immaterial on a street-going car that is not even funny. I strongly suspect that for 99.9% of people participating on this forum the same difference in shifting speed would be as immaterial if they were on a racetrack.
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Old 04-10-2014, 07:37 AM
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Stop and go commute?

I couldn't possibly be responsive to my text messages, flick the ash off my cigarette, get the beer back in the cup holder, tap the horn , while trying to remember which gear the mt needs to be shifted into .......
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Old 04-10-2014, 08:10 AM
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The OP lives in the DC area like my son does. He drives an E90 M3 with MT, and even though the commuter traffic really sucks in that area, he would not prefer an automatic to his stick. It's those times when he travels to areas for fun driving when he appreciates having a MT.

My 335is has a DCT, and while it is a great transmission that shifts quickly, when I'm out and about, I wish that it had a MT. But, I have the car in south FL where the roads are flat and driving would be boring with or without a MT.

My Porsche has a MT that I keep in PA, and I would have nothing else but a MT when driving in that area for fun, regardless if I can or cannot shift faster than a DCT. How fast the car shifts is immaterial to me when I want to feel connected with my car and the road.

I think the car manufacturers want us to drink the coolaid when it comes to the new automatics and DCTs. I for one am not ready to buy into this new world order, as it is just one more method for them to have more cars pass the MPG BS regulations.
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Old 04-10-2014, 08:21 AM
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Stop and go commute?

I couldn't possibly be responsive to my text messages, flick the ash off my cigarette, get the beer back in the cup holder, tap the horn , while trying to remember which gear the mt needs to be shifted into .......
Well that may be an issue for you but it won't be for me because I do not smoke, never text (whether I am in the car or out of it) do not drink beer while driving and I instinctively know what gear I am supposed to be in.
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Old 04-10-2014, 09:09 AM
pflau pflau is offline
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Location: Westchester, New York
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 288
Mein Auto: BMW 328i xDrive
I love driving a MT, even in NYC or SF. But I have to say the 8 speed AT is more efficient and it shifts smoothly enough.
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