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  #1  
Old 08-16-2004, 08:33 PM
BIMMER4LJ BIMMER4LJ is offline
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Steptronic Shifting

Just got my ride 3 weeks ago. Silver Gray, 04, 330i, ZHP, Steptronic, Black Leather, Silver Cube, Xenons, Moonroof, and HK. I love it! Such an awesome car!!!

My question was regarding shifting in the manual mode. When I bought the car and asked the salesman about shifting in the manual mode, he said to just "play around with it, you will figure it out". I have been shifting when it seemed like it ts the right time, and everything seems o.k. I was wondering if anyone could give me a more difinitive answer (speed or rpm) regarding this.
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  #2  
Old 08-16-2004, 09:28 PM
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it gets boring after a while. the novelty wears off quickly. just put it in drive.
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  #3  
Old 08-16-2004, 10:04 PM
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jeffreyslc jeffreyslc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIMMER4LJ
Just got my ride 3 weeks ago. Silver Gray, 04, 330i, ZHP, Steptronic, Black Leather, Silver Cube, Xenons, Moonroof, and HK. I love it! Such an awesome car!!!

My question was regarding shifting in the manual mode. When I bought the car and asked the salesman about shifting in the manual mode, he said to just "play around with it, you will figure it out". I have been shifting when it seemed like it ts the right time, and everything seems o.k. I was wondering if anyone could give me a more difinitive answer (speed or rpm) regarding this.
I'll try to give some suggestions. Of course, it depends on how you are driving. The first thing you need to learn is dealing with the time lag from when 'you' shift and the car shifts. You need to allow about a half second. The delay seems shorter if driving aggressively.

When driving grandma style, start out in 2nd, up-shift around 2KRPM. Use 5th for 40MPH or higher. On down shifting, you could let it do it on its own, but I usually down shift when she drops below 1500RPM.

Moderate driving start out in first, up-shift in the 3 to 4 KRPMs, down-shift in the 2.5KRPM range.

Aggressive driving, start out in first, then pedal-to-the-metal , let her up-shift on her own or do it around 5.5 to 6KRPM. Down-shift in the 3.5KRPM range. When hitting turns aggressively I like to slow down and get into the gear I want before entering the turn, keep her in that gear until exiting, then down-shift and accelerate out.

It really boils down to the power-band of the engine. If you are wanting alot of acceleration on hand, try to keep the RPM's in the 4 to 6KRPM range. Grandma style is in the 1 to 2.5 KRPM range. Otherwise, keep her in the 2.5 to 4KRPM range.

Sorry for the long post and hope this helps, and I have a 330xi so the gearing is a little different.

Oh, I almost forgot the most important tip! Say you are in 5th and need, or want to, down shift to 3rd, or the lowest possible gear quickly. If you try and use the shifter, it takes WAY TOO long. Stomp on the pedal to engage the kick-down mode. For some reason, this will down-shift multiple gears quickly. In manual mode you can't just down-shift two gears quickly. You need to wait for it to down shift one, then do the next down shift. At least that is how it is on my 2002 model.

Last edited by jeffreyslc; 08-16-2004 at 10:11 PM. Reason: added info about step-down mode
  #4  
Old 08-16-2004, 10:46 PM
atlau atlau is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HW
it gets boring after a while. the novelty wears off quickly. just put it in drive.
Agree... here in Australia, insurance companies call it "semi-automatic" How can it be semi-auto? It's either Auto transmission or it isn't... When I had my old C180, you can drive it like a manual anyway, just shift down or up...
  #5  
Old 08-16-2004, 10:59 PM
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dynosor dynosor is offline
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Put in Sport mode (4) and leave it there

I got a manual, but have driven BMWs with autos sport mode and that seems way more responsive.
  #6  
Old 08-17-2004, 05:49 AM
OBS3SSION OBS3SSION is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HW
it gets boring after a while. the novelty wears off quickly. just put it in drive.


I drive my Step in manual mode 99.9% of the time. There's no novelty to it. You either like to be in control of what gear your in or not. I like driving a manual, but I'm not good at it. At my wife's request, I decided to get the Step. Driving in "drive" mode is absolutely awful. I only wish the SMG was available when I ordered my car.
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  #7  
Old 08-17-2004, 06:47 AM
atlau atlau is offline
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Question - does it use more fuel in M mode than D? How about S D mode?

With fuel prices hitting almost A$1.20/L, its... not cheap...
  #8  
Old 08-17-2004, 07:01 AM
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asb2002 asb2002 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atlau
Question - does it use more fuel in M mode than D? How about S D mode?

With fuel prices hitting almost A$1.20/L, its... not cheap...

That was going to be my question.... my instinct is yes, because when I am doing the manual shifting, I tend to drive more aggresively. Meanwhile, I can only get 18mpg in pure city driving even when I'm trying to conserve as much gas as possible (driving slow and coasting)!
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  #9  
Old 08-17-2004, 07:25 AM
andy_thomas andy_thomas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atlau
Question - does it use more fuel in M mode than D? How about S D mode?
S D will generally use more gas than D, as the engine revs higher and acceleration is stronger (if it isn't why use S).

In manual mode, you may well be shifting gears at roughly the same time that the gearbox would if left to its own devices, in which case economy would be about the same. I usually use the steptronic function to force a downshift whilst braking before a corner (the autobox is supposed to do this but usually doesn't, unless the car is pointing downhill). I then use it to shift back up. I put it back into D when the corners are over.
Quote:
With fuel prices hitting almost A$1.20/L, its... not cheap...
Sure they're cheap. It's over A$2.20/l round here...
  #10  
Old 08-17-2004, 08:32 AM
OBS3SSION OBS3SSION is offline
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I get about 21.5 MPG (US) overall average. And that is with about 90-95% surface street driving. As I said earlier, I use manual mode almost exclusively... and I certainly don't drive like a grandpa.

I'm getting gas for about $1.9X per gallon.
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  #11  
Old 08-17-2004, 04:56 PM
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MMME30W MMME30W is offline
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Very interesting discussion; I had a 325 step loaner for a service, tried the "manual" mode and just could not figure it out. Glad to hear it works for some! Enjoy!
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  #12  
Old 08-17-2004, 05:06 PM
atlau atlau is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andy_thomas
S D will generally use more gas than D, as the engine revs higher and acceleration is stronger (if it isn't why use S).

Sure they're cheap. It's over A$2.20/l round here...

Hahahaa... heard it's very hefty to pump in London... I've always wondered why...
For us, our make up is generally 50c excise (Federal govt suppose to put it back into roads, but generally don't) 50c refinery, and about 10c to SHELL or the company about about 10c to the station owner... apprently they generally make more money selling Coke and milk than they do fuel...
  #13  
Old 08-17-2004, 07:45 PM
ironxcross ironxcross is offline
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I can get better mileage in M since I can keep it in 4th or 5th when D would keep it in 3 or 4...but usually I'm driving aggressively in M and my fuel consumption suffers. I don't think it gets boring..I like being in control.
  #14  
Old 08-17-2004, 10:24 PM
patnak1 patnak1 is offline
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Be careful not to overrev before shifting during break-in period. The engine wants to be revved but you must be patient!!!
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  #15  
Old 08-17-2004, 10:48 PM
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Frank Rizzo Frank Rizzo is offline
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If you practice you can really shift hard while upshifting.

Rev to about 6k in first gear whilst under full throttle, shift to 2nd - but back off the throttle while shifting - the trans shifts almost immediately. Reapply full throttle and keep going. It shifts HARD this way....
If the the road is wet, you'll get DSC warning flashing at 40mph!

(I wish I got a manual)
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  #16  
Old 09-07-2004, 11:54 PM
bimmer chick bimmer chick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreyslc
I'll try to give some suggestions. Of course, it depends on how you are driving. The first thing you need to learn is dealing with the time lag from when 'you' shift and the car shifts. You need to allow about a half second. The delay seems shorter if driving aggressively.

When driving grandma style, start out in 2nd, up-shift around 2KRPM. Use 5th for 40MPH or higher. On down shifting, you could let it do it on its own, but I usually down shift when she drops below 1500RPM.

Moderate driving start out in first, up-shift in the 3 to 4 KRPMs, down-shift in the 2.5KRPM range.

Aggressive driving, start out in first, then pedal-to-the-metal , let her up-shift on her own or do it around 5.5 to 6KRPM. Down-shift in the 3.5KRPM range. When hitting turns aggressively I like to slow down and get into the gear I want before entering the turn, keep her in that gear until exiting, then down-shift and accelerate out.

It really boils down to the power-band of the engine. If you are wanting alot of acceleration on hand, try to keep the RPM's in the 4 to 6KRPM range. Grandma style is in the 1 to 2.5 KRPM range. Otherwise, keep her in the 2.5 to 4KRPM range.

Sorry for the long post and hope this helps, and I have a 330xi so the gearing is a little different.

Oh, I almost forgot the most important tip! Say you are in 5th and need, or want to, down shift to 3rd, or the lowest possible gear quickly. If you try and use the shifter, it takes WAY TOO long. Stomp on the pedal to engage the kick-down mode. For some reason, this will down-shift multiple gears quickly. In manual mode you can't just down-shift two gears quickly. You need to wait for it to down shift one, then do the next down shift. At least that is how it is on my 2002 model.
jeffreyslc,

this is great info! I was searching for how to use stepronic mode, and found this to be very useful. I have some quick questions: should you always go back to first gear when stopped at a traffic light? that is, should it always be in first gear when starting out? Also, when turning corners, how much do you reduce your speed by? Sorry if the questions are dumb, but I've never driven a standard (gotta learn) so I lack the knowledge.

thanks.
bimmer chick
  #17  
Old 09-08-2004, 09:27 AM
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yamato yamato is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreyslc
I'll try to give some suggestions. Of course, it depends on how you are driving. The first thing you need to learn is dealing with the time lag from when 'you' shift and the car shifts. You need to allow about a half second. The delay seems shorter if driving aggressively.

When driving grandma style, start out in 2nd, up-shift around 2KRPM. Use 5th for 40MPH or higher. On down shifting, you could let it do it on its own, but I usually down shift when she drops below 1500RPM.

Moderate driving start out in first, up-shift in the 3 to 4 KRPMs, down-shift in the 2.5KRPM range.

Aggressive driving, start out in first, then pedal-to-the-metal , let her up-shift on her own or do it around 5.5 to 6KRPM. Down-shift in the 3.5KRPM range. When hitting turns aggressively I like to slow down and get into the gear I want before entering the turn, keep her in that gear until exiting, then down-shift and accelerate out.

It really boils down to the power-band of the engine. If you are wanting alot of acceleration on hand, try to keep the RPM's in the 4 to 6KRPM range. Grandma style is in the 1 to 2.5 KRPM range. Otherwise, keep her in the 2.5 to 4KRPM range.

Sorry for the long post and hope this helps, and I have a 330xi so the gearing is a little different.

Oh, I almost forgot the most important tip! Say you are in 5th and need, or want to, down shift to 3rd, or the lowest possible gear quickly. If you try and use the shifter, it takes WAY TOO long. Stomp on the pedal to engage the kick-down mode. For some reason, this will down-shift multiple gears quickly. In manual mode you can't just down-shift two gears quickly. You need to wait for it to down shift one, then do the next down shift. At least that is how it is on my 2002 model.
Thanks for the tip. One thing that bothers me is during downshifting for slowing down, should I release the gas totally or keep giving it gas until the shift is completed? I don't like the 'jerk' when I downshift, as it seems imply wears in the gearbox.
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  #18  
Old 09-08-2004, 10:44 AM
italia550i italia550i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yamato
Thanks for the tip. One thing that bothers me is during downshifting for slowing down, should I release the gas totally or keep giving it gas until the shift is completed? I don't like the 'jerk' when I downshift, as it seems imply wears in the gearbox.
Here is the perfect tip for you to avoid the "jerk." When you are going into a turn and you want to get into a lower gear, go ahead and shift and then during the lag time before it gets into gear go ahead and blip the throttle. This allows the revs to get up higher so that the shift takes place a lot more smoothly. i use it on the track and in spirited driving with great results. It is similar to heal-toeing in a manual. Give it a try, good times.
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  #19  
Old 09-08-2004, 10:57 AM
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yamato yamato is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by italia330i
Here is the perfect tip for you to avoid the "jerk." When you are going into a turn and you want to get into a lower gear, go ahead and shift and then during the lag time before it gets into gear go ahead and blip the throttle. This allows the revs to get up higher so that the shift takes place a lot more smoothly. i use it on the track and in spirited driving with great results. It is similar to heal-toeing in a manual. Give it a try, good times.
Thanks. I was thinking about the same thing and tried a few times but unsuccessful. I convinced myself it was beyond humanity to do so. Since you can do this, I got to try again.
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  #20  
Old 09-08-2004, 12:05 PM
yujini yujini is offline
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Sorry a noob to this forum.
I've never driven a 330 ZHP steptronic.
Isn't the steptronic automatic? You can actually drive it in manual mode?
Then why would anyone choose a ZSP with SMG?

Just trying to decide whether to get a 330ci ZHP or 330ci ZSP with SMG.
Seems like u cant get SMG with ZHP.
  #21  
Old 09-08-2004, 12:25 PM
Fzara2000 Fzara2000 is offline
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SMG has faster shifting times.
Shifting times, in order of the fastest:

SMG>Manual>Steptronic

Not sure why they don't offer the SMG in the 330 ZHP, but the ZHP in the 330 is different than the M3 anyway because it has less driving modes than the M3 and less customization when you're driving. Also has a pretty shifter.

The Steptronic is an automatic, but also lets the driver decide when to shift in the gears in Manual mode. It's somewhat of a good substitute for the manual driving experience.
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  #22  
Old 09-08-2004, 12:31 PM
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Desertnate Desertnate is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fzara2000
The Steptronic is an automatic, but also lets the driver decide when to shift in the gears in Manual mode. It's somewhat of a good substitute for the manual driving experience.
You must have had a better experience than I did driving Step. I had one for a day as a loaner and the lag between my moving the shifter and the tranny shifting was frustrating. The "slippy" feel of the automatic tranny shifting never let me forget that I was driving an auto with a fancy-schmancy shift mechinism.
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  #23  
Old 09-08-2004, 01:42 PM
dorkus dorkus is offline
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Mein Auto: '04 325i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desertnate
You must have had a better experience than I did driving Step. I had one for a day as a loaner and the lag between my moving the shifter and the tranny shifting was frustrating. The "slippy" feel of the automatic tranny shifting never let me forget that I was driving an auto with a fancy-schmancy shift mechinism.
a Step is still a slushbox, but it's very good as far as these things go. i tried the manumatics in an Acura CL Type-S and Saab 9-5 and they were pretty much useless. i use the manual mode of my 325i Step almost every time i drive the car.

i don't like Sport mode on the Step. like the sport mode on Honda and Acura slushes, all it does is delay upshifts, and the timing is kind of weird. the gas mileage really suffers too. if you know what you're doing, M mode is much better. i myself constantly switch between D and M whenever i drive - i use D for comfortable/economical driving and cruising, M whenever i need to pass, vary RPM (for break-in purposes), maneuver, corner, or engine brake. i should probably let up on the throttle a little when shifting to be a little more merciful on the torque converter though.
  #24  
Old 09-08-2004, 03:21 PM
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yamato yamato is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dorkus
i tried the manumatics in an Acura CL Type-S and Saab 9-5 and they were pretty much useless. i use the manual mode of my 325i Step almost every time i drive the car.
.
Oh? More comments please. I am interested. What difference did you feel?
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  #25  
Old 09-08-2004, 03:32 PM
dorkus dorkus is offline
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Mein Auto: '04 325i
Quote:
Originally Posted by yamato
Oh? More comments please. I am interested. What difference did you feel?
in both the Acura and Saab, the manual shifts were SLOW and erratic. i know Steptronic can sometimes take a while to shift, but in the right circumstances it can be relatively quick, and it is usually very smooth. the Acura was slow to respond and somewha jerky. the Saab was even slower - i'd sometimes wait what felt like almost 2 seconds for a shift - and there was something weird about the shift mechanism... i can't remember exactly how it worked but it was very clunky, not at all like the quick up-down ticks of a Step stick. the Step also holds the gear you want and only shifts/locks out to prevent blowing out the engine or stalling... the Saab had a mind of its own even in so-called "manual" mode, it just didn't seem to get to and stay in the gear i wanted half the time. of the two the Acura was much better, and the latest version in a TSX i test drove was not terrible, but they can't match the Step for overall smoothness, ergonomics, and control.
 

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