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F30 / F31 / F32 / F33 / F36 (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 07-15-2012, 09:24 PM
flbm flbm is offline
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Ordered my first Automatic. Feeling nervous!

1st car = Nissan Stanza 1987 5 Spd Manual (used) Mine
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6th car = BMW 335i AUTO (On Order)Mine

Picking up ED on Aug 24th and now getting very nervous about getting a Automatic!
Have a slight lower back problem but have always had one manual and one auto in the household since developed the back probelm. This will be the first time with no manual tranny. Will I regret it? Should I change it if I can?
I did not get a chance to drive the F30 in manual in either models due to lack of availability. 8spd auto seemed decent.
Anyone else had a change of heart and then regret?
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  #2  
Old 07-15-2012, 09:37 PM
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captainaudio captainaudio is offline
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My 335i was the first AT I ever owned other than some beaters that I had when I was a kid. I don't miss having an MT at all. I understand that some people find driving an
MT more fun and involving, and I certainly respect their opinion and enjoy driving MTs myself but from my perspective I see no particular advantage to an MT in a modern car.

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  #3  
Old 07-15-2012, 10:18 PM
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Bob Shiftright Bob Shiftright is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flbm View Post

Will I regret it?
Dunno. I would regret it!

That said, we do keep a spare car it has an AT -- and I expect we will continue to keep one. I have arthritis and it''s been a problem driving a manual on occasion in the past, my daughter takes the train down here to visit and she hates driving a MT, houseguests who may think they remember how drive a manual because their '65 VW Bug had one, etc. Any future AT-equipped spare car wouldn't likely be a BMW or any marque that might be considered a "driver's car". I'm considering buying a Prius or a Fit as the AT spare next time.

When we whittle the collection down to 4 cars, the total should be wife's (AT), my DD (MT), my "fun" car (MT) and one spare car (AT). If the arthritis gets so bad that I really can't drive a MT, ever, I may throw in the towel and buy a Lexus.
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  #4  
Old 07-15-2012, 10:31 PM
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boltjaM3s boltjaM3s is offline
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Two ways to look at it:

1. Functionally.

The AT is really good in the F30 and with the sport mode you'll find it's very responsive. Clearly has the clutchless shifting capability which is a lot of fun too. You're not giving much up, you get the best of both worlds.

2. Emotionally.

Any time you're spending $50,000 and you're not 100% excited there's something wrong, so you're right to question your feelings and what actions you might take.

The solution is rather easy. Call your BMW dealer, ask for a test drive, and really put the AT through it's paces including the DS shifter. If you like it, you're all set. If you don't, you can fall back on the ol' MT and you're all set. Take a test drive tomorrow, get your answers.

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  #5  
Old 07-15-2012, 10:58 PM
ronnyb29 ronnyb29 is offline
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I'm 14 days into my F30 which is my first automatic ever (in 16 years of driving). I do miss using my left foot sometimes but the transmission is pretty damn good in these cars. I haven't been able to get used to the paddle shifters yet...
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  #6  
Old 07-15-2012, 11:02 PM
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voip-ninja voip-ninja is offline
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These newer generation ATs are really really good. I would argue that the primary reason for getting an MT now is some feeling that you are missing out on full driving enjoyment if you aren't rowing your own gears. I have three herniated discs, so an automatic is an easier choice these days, not to mention that from both a fuel economy and performance standpoint the autos have surpassed the MT6 in my opinion.
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  #7  
Old 07-16-2012, 05:27 AM
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it depends how you drive the manual is my answer. what I missed most driving an Auto are the downshifting for taking corners, coasting in neutral here and there and fooling around with heal and toe driving. yea I missed it a lot, so I am back to manual. I tried just couldn't do it.
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  #8  
Old 07-16-2012, 06:53 AM
manicottiK manicottiK is online now
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You can downshift with the 8AT using the paddles or the regular shifter. You can't coast with ease and without taking your hands off the wheel. I think that if I could get coasting, I could try the 8AT, but I'm not sure. The only really dull driving years that I've had were with an automatic; that car was followed by the same model (newer year) with a manual and it was great. But in the end, this is a personal decision for each of us. (Maybe we can get someone to code us a "hold both paddles to temporarily go to neutral" feature...)
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  #9  
Old 07-16-2012, 07:23 AM
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No reason to feel bad about it. Just think of these 2 pictures: 1) F1 cars have been in automatic for years. Think of it as good technology cascades down to regular cars. I always feel that it is more important to ride with technology than feeling good, just because I get to shift my right arm a few times when driving. Good transmission gives you a better and more precise gear change, it saves you fuel. 2) You feel much better when you are stuck in stop and go traffic. If you need exercise, just take a walk or head to the gym. It is silly to just paddle your left and right legs back and forth in the car.
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  #10  
Old 07-16-2012, 07:26 AM
OBS3SSION OBS3SSION is offline
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I think the only advantage an MT has on a modern BMW is the personal satisfaction some get by having complete control over the gears and clutch. ATs are faster, more efficient, more convenient, just as sporty, and cost the same.

If I get to order the F31 I'm waiting for, it will likely be an AT. My current daily driver (and most of the cars I've ever owned) is an MT. But 95% of my driving doesn't allow me to fully enjoy rowing my own. What's the fun of manual transmissions in the daily slog of work traffic? Particularly since I'm not terribly coordinated, and my MT driving skills are adequate at best, even after 25 years driving them.
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  #11  
Old 07-16-2012, 07:28 AM
samualcc samualcc is offline
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I will probably get flamed for this, but for the average driver, they will get better performance from the auto. Honestly in sport mode, the 8AT (at least the sport auto versions I have driven) is almost telepathic and shifts faster and more consistently than I ever could. If you want to hustle down a back road with the highest level of performance, the auto is just insane.

That said, I have been driving manuals for the better part of 10 years. It has been fun, but the driver involvement concept just doesn't jive with me any more. But do whatever makes you most comfortable! Seriously, as BJ said, a 45 or 50k car should be almost perfect to your tastes.
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  #12  
Old 07-16-2012, 08:25 AM
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captainaudio captainaudio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samualcc View Post
That said, I have been driving manuals for the better part of 10 years. It has been fun, but the driver involvement concept just doesn't jive with me any more. But do whatever makes you most comfortable! Seriously, as BJ said, a 45 or 50k car should be almost perfect to your tastes.
I was an MT holdout for years and was convinced that I had better control than I would have had with an AT. I think that for a long time that was true but modern automatics have gotten so good (and this applies to the best of the "conventional" planetary geared automatics, not just the DCTs) that MTs no longer have a performance or control advantage.

You will see arguments that an F1 transmission is not really an automatic, and they do use diffenent technology than the ATs and DCTs in street cars, but they are designed for racing not driving on the street and things like smooth starts from a dead stop, which are desirable in street cars, are not a consideration in a race car. But very few race cars today use 3 pedals and those few that do tend to have sequential racing transmissions rather than the H pattern manuals that are used in street cars.

Over the last few years I have become friendly with a number of sucessful professional race drivers. Some are retired and some are active, but these are people who have driven in the Indy 500, Formula 1, held national championships, won the Daytona 24 Hour, had podium finises at LeMans, etc. Allmost all of them drive 2 pedal cars on the street and for the most part tend to leave them in automatic mode. I have had the MT vs. AT (or DCT) conversation with a number of them and told them that I knew a number of people who felt that they had better control of the car with an MT. Among the responses I got were "That's Bullsh!t" (former Indy 500, LeMans driver and former Trans-Am national champion) and "It shifts better than I do" (Senior Skip Barber Instuctor who taught me how to trail brake and heel and toe).

So if you prefer an MT because you find it more involving or fun I can totally relate to that. I have to admit that there is a great deal of satisfaction in executing a perfectly rev matched, double clutched, heel and toe down shift but after a while it becomes second nature and in my case is relegated to the "been there, done that" category.
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Last edited by captainaudio; 07-18-2012 at 12:09 AM.
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  #13  
Old 07-16-2012, 12:42 PM
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  #14  
Old 07-16-2012, 12:47 PM
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JustinTJ JustinTJ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captainaudio View Post
I was an MT holdout for years and was convinced that I had better control than I would have had with an AT. I think that for a long time that was true but modern automatics have gotten so good (and this applies to the best of the "conventional" planetary geared automatics, not just the DCTs) that MTs no longer have a performance or control advantage.

You will see arguments that an F1 transmission is not really an automatic, and they do use diffenent technology than the ATs and DCTs in street cars, but they are designed for racing not driving on the street and things like smooth starts from a dead stop, which are desirable in street cars, are not a consideration in a race car. But very few race cars today use 3 pedals and those few that do tend to have sequential racing transmissions rather than the pattern manuals that are used in street cars.

Over the last few years I have become friendly with a number of sucessful professional race drivers. Some are retired and some are active, but these are people who have driven in the Indy 500, Formula 1, held national championships, won the Daytona 24 Hour, had podium finises at LeMans, etc. Allmost all of them drive 2 pedal cars on the street and for the most part tend to leave them in automatic mode. I have had the MT vs. AT (or DCT) conversation with a number of them and told them that I knew a number of people who felt that they had better control of the car with an MT. Among the responses I got were "That's Bullsh!t" (former Indy 500, LeMans driver and former Trans-Am national champion) and "It shifts better than I do" (Senior Skip Barber Instuctor who taught me how to trail brake and heel and toe).

So if you prefer an MT because you find it more involving or fun I can totally relate to that. I have to admit that there is a great deal of satisfaction in executing a perfectly rev matched, double clutched, heel and toe down shift but after a while it becomes second nature and in my case is relegated to the "been there, done that" category.
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  #15  
Old 07-16-2012, 01:01 PM
E36toF30 E36toF30 is offline
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Originally Posted by samualcc View Post
I will probably get flamed for this, but for the average driver, they will get better performance from the auto. Honestly in sport mode, the 8AT (at least the sport auto versions I have driven) is almost telepathic and shifts faster and more consistently than I ever could. If you want to hustle down a back road with the highest level of performance, the auto is just insane.
I agree with this. If the goal is to go fast, the auto is better. In fact, even with a professional driver on a racetrack I think it delivers faster times. The thing is though, public roads are not a racetrack, and the goal isn't to go as fast as possible. The goal is to enjoy driving your car, and to me a manual is more enjoyable because it's more engaging and more challenging (not that it's hard, but driving an automatic is even easier). You actually have to concentrate on it somewhat, and rowing my own gears (and especially when I feel I'm doing it well) gives me satisfaction that an automatic never can.

That's not to say I'd never buy an automatic though. If I was living in an area with a lot of heavy traffic, I'd opt for the automatic I think.
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  #16  
Old 07-16-2012, 02:20 PM
calvinboca calvinboca is offline
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I've not driven the new 335i with the 8-speed, so I can't speak specifically to that transmission. But I have an 08 135i in automatic and also a 10 335i x-drive in automatic, so I have experience with BMW's previous generation auto (I assume the new 8-speed is at least as good).

I, too, had driven only MT until I got this 135i. Honestly? I regret the decision. In my opinion, the manual is just more fun to drive (again, only an opinion). I know the auto's shift faster and are probably better than most MT drivers, but the "fun-factor" on MT, for me, is just higher. It's just more raw. Needless to say, my next car will be MT.

However, I think the BMW AT (at least the steptronics that we have) is a good automatic. It shifts well and smoothly and has acceptable shift points. In sports mode, it's a totally different animal, I find it quite enjoyable, definitely a noticeable difference. Also, I hate most autos with paddle shifters; most of them are just crappy and don't respond quick enough....but the BMW paddles are very good, I use mine quite often and the shifts are very quick and direct.

I miss the manual, definitely. But the BMW automatic (at least my generation) is very good. I'd expect nothing less from the new one.
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  #17  
Old 07-16-2012, 02:27 PM
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voip-ninja voip-ninja is offline
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Originally Posted by calvinboca View Post
I've not driven the new 335i with the 8-speed, so I can't speak specifically to that transmission. But I have an 08 135i in automatic and also a 10 335i x-drive in automatic, so I have experience with BMW's previous generation auto (I assume the new 8-speed is at least as good).

I, too, had driven only MT until I got this 135i. Honestly? I regret the decision. In my opinion, the manual is just more fun to drive (again, only an opinion). I know the auto's shift faster and are probably better than most MT drivers, but the "fun-factor" on MT, for me, is just higher. It's just more raw. Needless to say, my next car will be MT.

However, I think the BMW AT (at least the steptronics that we have) is a good automatic. It shifts well and smoothly and has acceptable shift points. In sports mode, it's a totally different animal, I find it quite enjoyable, definitely a noticeable difference. Also, I hate most autos with paddle shifters; most of them are just crappy and don't respond quick enough....but the BMW paddles are very good, I use mine quite often and the shifts are very quick and direct.

I miss the manual, definitely. But the BMW automatic (at least my generation) is very good. I'd expect nothing less from the new one.

This made me curious so I looked it up. There is actually a world of difference between the 6 speed auto in the 2008 135i and the 8 speed AT in the new 3 series.

In 2008 the 3 series had a really nice ZF 8 speed auto (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZF_8HP_transmission).. which incidentally is the transmission in the new F30 car as well.

By comparison the 2008 1 series had a six speed "slush box" automatic that is more in line with what people think of as a traditional transmission.

Source;

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/200...w-135i-review/

Quote:
And while the 335i has a most excellent ZF automatic transmission, the 135i does not. The smaller car's French-made six-speed auto is jerkier and more dim-witted than its big brother's cog swapper.
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:47 PM
sr5959 sr5959 is online now
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I passed my test in a manual, and before moving to the US most of my cars were manuals.

In the US all my cars have been autos including my F30. I considered manual because I think it is more fun, and slightly smoother in certain situations, but I didn't like the idea of a six-speed manual vs eight-speed auto.

One weird thing is most of the girls I've dated here in the US drove manuals! Surely they are not more popular with women than men in the US???
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:51 PM
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captainaudio captainaudio is offline
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Originally Posted by E36toF30 View Post
I agree with this. If the goal is to go fast, the auto is better. In fact, even with a professional driver on a racetrack I think it delivers faster times. The thing is though, public roads are not a racetrack, and the goal isn't to go as fast as possible. The goal is to enjoy driving your car, and to me a manual is more enjoyable because it's more engaging and more challenging (not that it's hard, but driving an automatic is even easier). You actually have to concentrate on it somewhat, and rowing my own gears (and especially when I feel I'm doing it well) gives me satisfaction that an automatic never can.

That's not to say I'd never buy an automatic though. If I was living in an area with a lot of heavy traffic, I'd opt for the automatic I think.
i agree and I would never disagree with someone who prefers driving an MT. What you like is what you like and there is no point in trying to tell someone what they should or should not like.

My argument is with the "An MT gives more control" and the "Real drivers drive MT" posts that tend to dominate these discussions. The bottom line is that a significant portion of the drivers who insist on the superiority of MTs are not particularly adept at driving them. If you follow the MT vs. DCT vs. AT threads on this forum you will see that a large number of them evolve into instruction manuals for poor driving techniques.

As for the OP I don't know if he will miss an MT or not. I know I did not and do not regret getting an AT. If i had stayed with an MT I would probably be perfectly happy with that decision too but sometimes its OK to try something different. I commuted in MTs in NYC traffic for years and never had an issue with it and if I was doing it today I probably still wouldn't.

MTs are getting less and less common and have all but dissapeared from the highest performance cars (Ferrari, Bugatti, McLaren, etc.)

I think that AT drivers fall into two categories. There are those who have never driven an MT, don't know how to and have no desire to learn. In reality there is no particular reason for them to learn as ATs are prefectly sufficient for their needs. There are also those (myself included) who grew up with MTs, drove them for years became proficient enough so that shifting became second nature and reached a point where they felt that ATs had evolved to the point where MTs no longer had an advantage. In my particular case I drove MTs adequately for a number of years before I learned how to really drive one well courtesy of the Skip Barber Racing School and years of lapping days, car control clinics, etc.
I got to the point where I was very adept at heel and toe shifting, double clutching, rev matching, etc. and I came to the conclusion that becoming adept with a manual gear box was one of the easiest aspects of high performance driving to master. I found that keeping on the proper line, getting the braking points right, threshold braking, trail brake rotation, learning how to get to the limits of grip while maintaining control of the car, and posting consistant lap times, were far much harder skills to master.

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Last edited by captainaudio; 07-17-2012 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:56 PM
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voip-ninja voip-ninja is offline
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Nice post captainaudio! :thumb up:

I can't comment insofar as the track stuff is concerned, because all of my track time has been on two wheeled scooters that get to 60 in under 4 seconds.

What I can say though is that working a manual transmission while doing all of the other things you mentioned, is one reason in particular that they have more or less vanished from racing (real racing, not that Nascar bologna).

Now, for someone who simply gets off on rev-matching perfect downshifts, double clutching and all the other stuff, sure, get an MT6 and knock yourself out, but don't fool yourself, there's no real performance advantage to be had and in all likelihood there's a performance penalty involved these days.
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:40 PM
MonkeyCMonkeyDo MonkeyCMonkeyDo is offline
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It is also "scaring me" to get the sports AT but if I ever want to go out with the wife and have a drink then I needed AT or we would be stuck taking her car. I am gonna miss the "control" but SoCal traffic without having to lift and push my left foot repeatedly does sound amazing. When I demolish someone's time driving MT at an autocross event I will know I made the right choice.
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Old 07-16-2012, 06:16 PM
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1st car = Nissan Stanza 1987 5 Spd Manual (used) Mine
2nd car = Honda Accord 1993 5 Spd Manual (used) Mine
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4th car = Nissan 350Z 2006 6Spd Manual (Brand New)Mine (Wife's 2006 E90 325i Auto New)
5th car = BMW 128i 2009 6spd Manual (Brand New)Mine
6th car = BMW 335i AUTO (On Order)Mine

Picking up ED on Aug 24th and now getting very nervous about getting a Automatic!
Have a slight lower back problem but have always had one manual and one auto in the household since developed the back probelm. This will be the first time with no manual tranny. Will I regret it? Should I change it if I can?
I did not get a chance to drive the F30 in manual in either models due to lack of availability. 8spd auto seemed decent.
Anyone else had a change of heart and then regret?
Until my current car I've only owned manuals. My F30 on order has a manual. I've got an issue with my leg which may make driving a manual painful at times The last three years with an automatic stand as dark days for me; it's just so boring for me like there's not much to do. I'm going to try to take the pain 10% of the time to get more pleasure out of driving the other 90%.

I've definitely bounced back and forth about if I should have ordered an automatic F30. Over the last few months I drove many; it's okay with an automatic. In the end I'm just not interested in driving cars with automatics. And I always get worse mileage with automatics. Regardless of the sticker claims I tend to drive more efficiently with manuals as I glide far more often. Weird...

Last edited by brkf; 07-16-2012 at 06:23 PM.
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  #23  
Old 07-16-2012, 06:19 PM
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brkf brkf is online now
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Originally Posted by MonkeyCMonkeyDo View Post
It is also "scaring me" to get the sports AT but if I ever want to go out with the wife and have a drink then I needed AT or we would be stuck taking her car. I am gonna miss the "control" but SoCal traffic without having to lift and push my left foot repeatedly does sound amazing. When I demolish someone's time driving MT at an autocross event I will know I made the right choice.
She can't learn? BMWs have really easy manuals and all that torque makes it easy too. Thankfully, my wife likes manuals so that would never be an issue...
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:07 PM
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captainaudio captainaudio is offline
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Any high performance driving school will teach that gliding or coasting is considered a poor driving technique.

The car should always be in gear and you should always be on either the throttle or the brakes even if you are lightly brushing the brakes or applying "maintenance throttle",

This is probably less critical when driving well below the limits of the car on public roads but in my opinion bad driving habits are bad driving habits and the fact that you may get away with them does not change that,

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Last edited by captainaudio; 07-16-2012 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:03 PM
755MSL 755MSL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captainaudio View Post
Any high performance driving school will teach that gliding or coasting is considered a poor driving technique.

The car should always be in gear and you should always be on either the throttle or the brakes even if you are lightly brushing the brakes or applying "maintenance throttle",

This is probably less critical when driving well below the limits of the car on public roads but in my opinion bad driving habits are bad driving habits and the fact that you may get away with them does not change that,

CA
Is this a safety related issue? I'm assuming it's so that you don't waste a second in putting the car into gear and reacting.
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