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3 Series / 4 Series
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  #1  
Old 01-24-2004, 11:57 AM
GalBimmer GalBimmer is offline
She's baaaack! :-)
 
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GalBimmer bought a 325Ci - and it's a stick!!

2 weeks ago I went to Hendrick BMW to get the oil changed in my 2001 Z3 and spent the afternoon with Chris330Ci (who works there) test driving cars. We started out big, driving a new SMG M3. This car is fabulous, but the SMG felt weird and the car had way too much power for me.

Next we drove the 330Ci and the 325Ci. Chris got my confidence up, and we took a manual transmission 325 to the back roads and he worked with me on my driving skills. This is my 3rd BMW, but I've never had a stick. While I loved the 330, I kept going back to the 325Ci, as it just felt so right, despite my herky-jerky, sweaty palms driving. Chris is a very patient salesman and didn't steer me towards cars that were not right for me. So...that Monday night, I was driving my new 2004 325Ci home.

What an adventure this was. I had to come home in 5:00 traffic through downtown Charlotte. I stalled at virtually every light, once sitting through an entire light unable to get moving. It was raining, I was nervous and, well, you get the picture. Since then I've only put 100 miles on it, but I've been taking it out by myself on the weekends (I walk to work so don't do much driving through the week). I've had to force myself to suck it up and get in the traffic. I do best when I take the attitude with other drivers. If I care too much, I forget everything I know.

For those of you who've driven a stick all your life, this may seem silly. But if all you know is automatic transmission, it's very hard. I'm reading driving tips on the web and talking to lots of friends, but I've come to the conclusion that nothing can replace time in the seat. The car is fantastic - just the right amount of power and I can't tell you how good it feels to have a hard top over my head. Many of the 'festers know that I've been very unhappy with the Z3 for over a year - too many people plowing down on me (while talking on their cell phones). I just felt unsafe and generally unhappy.

Folks, if you have kids, please teach them to drive a stick, even if they don't want to. I should not be going through this kind of anxiety at my age, but I do like a challenge and I will admit that I am a MUCH more attentive driver with the stick. I don't listen to the radio, don't gab on the phone... all I do is concentrate, think, look ahead and do the very best driving I can. I'm told that this will pass and the skill set I so lack will become part of me and I'll do the right thing automatically, but it's going to take some time. It's almost like being 15 all over again.

Next steps... continue driving lessons with those who are brave enough to come out and play. Chris will help me when he can, another 'fester is flying down next weekend to work with me (and hardwire the V1 and install my iPod )and I'm going to coerce Pete into helping me out once he moves to NC. My goal is to be able to drive to VIR for the Tarheel March school (not to participate but to do my normal volunteer work) without sputtering and stalling all over Danville, VA.

Wish me luck - it's a long road but I must say that I finally "get" what I always read regarding manual transmission cars - I do feel much more connected with the car, and the experience is totally different from driving the step or automatics. It's very cool.

Of course, keep posting the great driving tips - they've helped tremendously.
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  #2  
Old 01-24-2004, 12:15 PM
LarryN LarryN is offline
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Congrats! Enjoy your new ride. In a couple of days, driving the stick will be 2nd hand nature to you. I find it so much more rewarding.

What are the specs? Oh, and where's the "This thread is worthless without pics" smiley?
  #3  
Old 01-24-2004, 12:31 PM
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Dr. Phil Dr. Phil is offline
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Congrats, great move and buying decision Now where are those pictures
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  #4  
Old 01-24-2004, 12:32 PM
Alex Baumann Alex Baumann is offline
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Ooooh, Congratulations !!

Happy Motoring!!
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  #5  
Old 01-24-2004, 12:34 PM
ff ff is offline
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Congrats!

The key to learning to drive a stick, is figuring out where the clutch engages, and let the pedal out slowly. Works well if you hod the clutch pedal at that engagement point for a split second as the car gets moving. Most people will just dump the clutch and hope for the best. Just feather it, and you'll catch on quickly.
  #6  
Old 01-24-2004, 12:38 PM
Alex Baumann Alex Baumann is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GalBimmer
and I'm going to coerce Pete into helping me out once he moves to NC.



Errr, I'd re-think this point









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  #7  
Old 01-24-2004, 12:42 PM
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Mr. The Edge Mr. The Edge is offline
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you gotta at least tell us the colors!
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  #8  
Old 01-24-2004, 12:59 PM
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Chris330Ci Chris330Ci is offline
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About time you posted! For curious minds, GalBimmer is now the proud owner of a silver gray 2004 325Ci with black leatherette, sport & premium packages, & xenon lights.
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  #9  
Old 01-24-2004, 01:00 PM
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Mr. The Edge Mr. The Edge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris330Ci
About time you posted! For curious minds, GalBimmer is now the proud owner of a silver gray 2004 325Ci with black leatherette, sport & premium packages, & xenon lights.
I hope she got a killer deal
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  #10  
Old 01-24-2004, 01:02 PM
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IndyMike IndyMike is offline
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Wunderbar!

Now quit blabbing about it and get out there and drive some more, oh, and as previously stated post some pics.

My advice is to find some quiet residential areas that have inclines or are a bit hilly, and practice where the clutch take up and accelerator meshing points are. Once you can rock that baby back and forth like it's a rocking chair you can become the master of any road. Finding the proper synchros for shifting up and down the gears will be a piece of cake. That's just seat time. But you will forever fear what adventure may lie up ahead, and be DOA when you get to a hill and there's a stop sign at the top, if you can't launch it without stalling from a dead stop on a slope.

And yeah, at least give us the freakin' colors!



EDIT: Chris saves the moment by providing some SPECS!

But pics would still be cool, too!
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Last edited by IndyMike; 01-24-2004 at 01:05 PM.
  #11  
Old 01-24-2004, 01:19 PM
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Chris330Ci Chris330Ci is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atyclb
I hope she got a killer deal
But of course! I'm currently working with a few other 'Festers with whom I have the utmost faith in that they will make the right decision.
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  #12  
Old 01-24-2004, 01:22 PM
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FenPhen FenPhen is offline
It's Highly Addictive!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GalBimmer
I'm reading driving tips on the web and talking to lots of friends, but I've come to the conclusion that nothing can replace time in the seat.
That's about right.

One good thing to do when you're learning is to find a safe area with a slight incline, preferably a house driveway that very gently slopes toward the road. The driveway can look nearly flat, but as long as the car starts to slowly roll backward with the clutch disengaged, it's good.

Then, practice your clutch engagement. Let the clutch pedal out till you start crawling up the driveway, clutch in and roll back down a little. Try it with and without the gas pedal, and work on not slipping the clutch a lot. You'll probably kill the car a few times at first, but that's why you're doing it on a driveway.

Then later, move on to progressively larger grades.

Last edited by FenPhen; 01-24-2004 at 01:24 PM.
  #13  
Old 01-24-2004, 01:24 PM
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HW HW is offline
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hey how's 'bout some pix of you in your new bimmer!
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  #14  
Old 01-24-2004, 01:38 PM
numbersguy numbersguy is offline
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I'm glad you like the stickshift despite the learning you'll have to do. There's nothing you can say to persuade somebody to use one if they don't want to. But for some of us it just feels so right.

For what it's worth, the 325 tranny and clutch are very smooth and forgiving compared some other stickshifts I've driven. This is a good car to learn on. One of the best ways to get comfortable with clutch engagement, provided you are on a flat surface, is to slowly let the clutch out without touching the gas when you roll away from a stop. The 325 motor has enough torque to do this easily if you don't dump the clutch.

At a certain point, learning to drive a stickshift changes from work into fun.
  #15  
Old 01-24-2004, 01:46 PM
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elbert elbert is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryN
Oh, and where's the "This thread is worthless without pics" smiley?
Yeah, no kidding


  #16  
Old 01-24-2004, 02:26 PM
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The Roadstergal The Roadstergal is offline
Butting back in
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Quote:
Originally Posted by numbersguy
For what it's worth, the 325 tranny and clutch are very smooth and forgiving compared some other stickshifts I've driven. This is a good car to learn on. One of the best ways to get comfortable with clutch engagement, provided you are on a flat surface, is to slowly let the clutch out without touching the gas when you roll away from a stop. The 325 motor has enough torque to do this easily if you don't dump the clutch.

At a certain point, learning to drive a stickshift changes from work into fun.
I couldn't agree more. That's the way to do it. And it does get fun!

I bought my first car days after I got my license, my only expereince to that point being my sister's auto Yukon that I practiced on and my boss's auto Scooby that I took the test in, and I remember a stop sign at the top of a hill on the way home. I... could... not... get... through. I stalled a buncha times, and finally a nice guy got out and held traffic while I came at it from the bottom of the hill and went through. I was embarassed to death. I made it a point to practice until I could start from a steep grade hill - and from then on, as numbersguy said, it stopped being work and started being fun.

Take a driving school! You'll have a blast.

And WHERE ARE THE PICTURES?
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  #17  
Old 01-24-2004, 02:27 PM
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glaws glaws is offline
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GOOD FOR YOU!!! Awwwwwww, if I were close enough (or had any money) I would be glad to work with you on the stick shift. I am patient (taught my ex and daughter how to drive sticks), clean, don't fart in other peoples cars and would not laugh at you for the world. That having been said, I know you will do just fine.
And yes, we need pictures.
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  #18  
Old 01-24-2004, 02:32 PM
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Mike 325xi Mike 325xi is offline
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Congratulations and good for you!!! The manual will quickly become second nature for you and you will love it...guarenteed!!

Enjoy it and post pics soon!!
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  #19  
Old 01-24-2004, 02:42 PM
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AndDown AndDown is offline
just copacetic!!!
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Congrats, GalBimmer! My 15 year old daughter wanted me to get a stick shift when I was looking at the 325i - she wants to learn how to drive a manual when she gets her license! Frankly, she's hoping to inherit the car in a couple of years, not! I've registered her with BMW's student driver program this coming Sunday and she's looking forward to that experience - another Bimmergal! She knows more about cars than the rest of her guy friends
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  #20  
Old 01-24-2004, 03:54 PM
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HW HW is offline
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oh yeah, me too! i learn on mine too!
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  #21  
Old 01-24-2004, 03:57 PM
GalBimmer GalBimmer is offline
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Thanks for the good wishes and encouragement! I get around, but it's definitely not "elegant." More to come on this...

RGal - I attended High Performance Driving School in Savannah as part of my 40th birthday celebration. I was driving my 328i and I learned so much, slushbox and all. Way too much fun.

For now, I'll stick with working the driving schools and getting all my free rides from the instructors. That's much more fun because they're all totally crazy. It's really fun when I ride with my ex, as I know I won't be paying for the car if things go south.
  #22  
Old 01-24-2004, 04:06 PM
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Chris330Ci Chris330Ci is offline
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Let's all say it together now, P-I-C-T-U-R-E-S! Put that camera to good use already!


Quote:
Originally Posted by GalBimmer
Thanks for the good wishes and encouragement! I get around, but it's definitely not "elegant." More to come on this...

RGal - I attended High Performance Driving School in Savannah as part of my 40th birthday celebration. I was driving my 328i and I learned so much, slushbox and all. Way too much fun.

For now, I'll stick with working the driving schools and getting all my free rides from the instructors. That's much more fun because they're all totally crazy. It's really fun when I ride with my ex, as I know I won't be paying for the car if things go south.
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  #23  
Old 01-24-2004, 05:13 PM
man02195 man02195 is offline
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Congrats on the car, I pick up my 330i at the Performance Delivery Center on Monday the 26th of January (56 days after ordering it!!!), and then have to put 2,000 lazy miles on it before a bunch of the Charlotte drivers head up to VIR on the 28th and 29th of February. I've been out of a stick since I sold my '87 Legend, so I'm sure I'll have some embarrasing moments around South Blvd. If I see you stalled, I promise not to honk!
  #24  
Old 01-24-2004, 05:32 PM
GSR13 GSR13 is offline
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Congratulations and the car and especially your choice of transmission!

Do you ever travel to Georgia? If so, I will be glad to install the Aux-In Adaptor for you, so you can hook-up your iPod.
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  #25  
Old 01-24-2004, 06:13 PM
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BlackChrome BlackChrome is offline
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Congrats!

Glad to hear that you like to drive a manual car!
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