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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 07-28-2014, 09:37 PM
LadyEsq LadyEsq is offline
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How do I learn to use paddle shift?

My car has the option to switch from automatic to manual, and I can shift gears using the paddle shift. I've had the car for 2 weeks but haven't tried to use it yet.

What's the best way to learn? How easy or hard is it to do damage?

I learned how to drive a stick in college almost 10 years ago and haven't done it since then. I could ask my dad but frankly I'm still traumatized from the one and only time he tried to teach me how to drive at 15 years old. I love him to pieces but teaching isn't his forte.

I want to get the most out of my car but I'm genuinely concerned about messing something up.
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Old 07-29-2014, 03:46 AM
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  1. Move the shift lever to the left while in "D". The display will change to "DS".
  2. Drive around in "DS" (sport mode) for a bit to get the feel of it. The shift points are different from "D", but the mode is still fully automatic..
  3. Use the paddles to change gears. In "DS" mode, the car will keep the gear you selected until (a) you change it or (b) the engine RPM gets too high or too low. In "D" mode, the car will take control back after 15 - 30 seconds.
  4. If you forget you are in manual mode, the engine computer will upshift if the RPM get too high, and down shift if they get too low.
  5. Unlike a manual transmission, you cannot do damage to the car by selecting the wrong gear. The engine computer will always keep things in a tolerable range for the engine. You can beat your gas mileage to death, however.


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Old 07-29-2014, 05:03 AM
hondo402000 hondo402000 is offline
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pull the paddle to up shift and push the thumb paddle to down shift, either side does the same operation

but I disagree with some of the information above, at least I have not found out if its true, mine has never up shifted on its own if I got near the redline in DS mode so I don't know if that is true
but it will down shift back to 2 gear when you come to a stop light, the only way to start in 1st is to manually put it 1st using the gear ship DS mode or hit the thumb paddle to put it in 1st

try it around the neighborhood to get use to it
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Old 07-29-2014, 06:02 AM
RyanMac RyanMac is offline
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Both of the above are true.

In "DS" mode, the car will upshift and downshift if the RPM is too high or too low.
If after you move the shifter to the left to place the car in "DS" mode, and then you push the shifter forward, the car changes to "M1" or "M2" if you were to have pulled back on the shifter. In this mode "manual" mode, the car will not shift until you either push forward on the shifter to downshift, or pull back to upshift....or use the paddle shifters. Move the shift lever back to the right to put it back in "D" to cancel the manual mode.
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Old 07-29-2014, 06:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanMac View Post
Both of the above are true.

In "DS" mode, the car will upshift and downshift if the RPM is too high or too low.
If after you move the shifter to the left to place the car in "DS" mode, and then you push the shifter forward, the car changes to "M1" or "M2" if you were to have pulled back on the shifter. In this mode "manual" mode, the car will not shift until you either push forward on the shifter to downshift, or pull back to upshift....or use the paddle shifters. Move the shift lever back to the right to put it back in "D" to cancel the manual mode.
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:22 AM
LadyEsq LadyEsq is offline
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Thanks for the detailed responses and warm welcome!

I'm happy to hear that I can't do damage, other than using up gas...btw, why does it use more gas? But I'm a little unclear about whether the car will "take over" and shift gears for me while in DS mode if I don't shift at the appropriate time.

Also, my car has two levers (one has a plus sign and the other a minus). Not sure if that changes the advice but I'm thinking plus goes up a gear and minus goes down a gear. Maybe I'm using the wrong term by calling it paddle shift.
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:27 AM
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CALWATERBOY DUE CALWATERBOY DUE is offline
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Originally Posted by LadyEsq View Post
My car has the option to switch from automatic to manual, and I can shift gears using the paddle shift. I've had the car for 2 weeks but haven't tried to use it yet.

What's the best way to learn? How easy or hard is it to do damage?

Trial

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There....paddles make avail 5 ways to shift your tranny
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:31 AM
RyanMac RyanMac is offline
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If I'm not mistaken, the plus is on the right and the minus is on the left. You are correct in that plus upshifts and minus downshifts.
In my 2008 both paddle shifters do the same function, pull to upshift, and push to downshift.... but I think in 2009 they made the left and right do separate functions.
"DS" should be translated as "Drive-Sport". It's just like putting your average automatic transmission in drive, however the car will wait longer to shift. Rather than shifting at say 3k RPM, it will wait until roughly 5.5 RPM to shift. This keeps you in the power range longer.

When you move the shifter to the left, and then push the shifter forward and see the "M1" on the dash. This should be translated as "Manual mode". It's just like having a manual transmission, only you do not have to work the clutch. If you do not shift up by using the paddle shifter, or by pulling the shift lever back, the car will not shift and you can do damage to the engine after reaching the "red line". That is 8k RPM on the big dial that looks like a speedometer with lower numbers. You'll notice the "Red line" starts at the 8.

The car uses more gas in the DS and M modes because the higher in the RPM range you go, the faster the engine is spinning, and it's using more gas to turn that fast.
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyEsq View Post
I'm happy to hear that I can't do damage, other than using up gas...btw, why does it use more gas? But I'm a little unclear about whether the car will "take over" and shift gears for me while in DS mode if I don't shift at the appropriate time.
You can find yourself running with far higher revs in a lower gear than you need to be. This is very inefficient, and decreases your gas mileage.

Yes, the car will "take over" and shift before you exceed the redline limit for the engine, or before you llug it down to the point where you stall.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyEsq View Post
Also, my car has two levers (one has a plus sign and the other a minus). Not sure if that changes the advice but I'm thinking plus goes up a gear and minus goes down a gear. Maybe I'm using the wrong term by calling it paddle shift.
The cars originally came with "push/pull" levers, that allowed you to shift up or down with either paddle. Yours allows a downshift by pulling on the left / minus paddle, and an upshift by pulling on the right / plus paddle.

The existence of two models of paddles is why I didn't give the "push for down / pull for up" directions that my car uses, as I didn't know which you have. In your case, pull left for down, pull right for up. Pushing either one does nothing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanMac View Post
When you move the shifter to the left, and then push the shifter forward and see the "M1" on the dash. This should be translated as "Manual mode". It's just like having a manual transmission, only you do not have to work the clutch.
Or just move the shifter to the left and start using the paddles. Once it is to the left, you do not have to push or pull the shifter to start using manual mode.



Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanMac View Post
If you do not shift up by using the paddle shifter, or by pulling the shift lever back, the car will not shift and you can do damage to the engine after reaching the "red line". That is 8k RPM on the big dial that looks like a speedometer with lower numbers. You'll notice the "Red line" starts at the 8.
No. There is no way that you can exceed redline using manual mode on an automatic transmission. The ECU will shift as you hit it. Unlike a true manual, where you can easily exceed the engine limits, you cannot do so in manual mode on a Steptronic transmission.

To repeat, you cannot damage the engine using the paddles on a BMW automatic transmission. You can't get it to money shift on the way down, and you can't get it to go over the redline on the way up. The car will shift itself before you can do damage, and won't let you get into a gear at a speed that will do damage. You could conceivably cause additional wear or stress the turbo bearings (on a 335) by driving around at 65 in 3rd gear, 7000 RPM, and a cold engine, but you would have to do this for a long time (weeks).
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:47 AM
LadyEsq LadyEsq is offline
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Okay, now I understand the gas issue. My car has the Steptronic transmission. I'll also stay away from the redline in either modes.

@zooks527- what's ECU?
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by LadyEsq View Post
Okay, now I understand the gas issue. My car has the Steptronic transmission. I'll also stay away from the redline in either modes.

@zooks527- what's ECU?
Engine Control Unit, the main computer coordinating the car's systems.
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:58 AM
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In manual mode you have control of what gear you are in and the transmission will rev match downshifts.
As has been pointed out in manual mode the transmission will not shift on its own unless you will over rev the engine or are lugging the engine and will stall it.

The transmission will reject a shift that will over rev the engine. In other words if you are near red line in 4th and hit the wrong paddle and downshift instead of upshift the transmission will reject the down shift request as that would over rev and potentially damage the engine.

Bottom line is that you can't damage the engine with the paddles as the transmission will not let you do something that will cause damage.
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:19 AM
LadyEsq LadyEsq is offline
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ECU = engine control unit. Got it!
Okay, so the concensus seems to be that the car will protect itself while in DS mode.

Now, how will I know when it's time to shift gears? Is it based on the RPMs, the sound/feel of the engine? I haven't driven stick in a decade so I don't remember exactly.

I'll practice when I leave the office tonight and report back!

Thanks everyone for being patient and helpful
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:34 PM
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But doesn't increasing the RPMs of your engine high clean out any carbon build up...especially if you drive in stop n go traffic?
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:54 PM
LadyEsq LadyEsq is offline
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Okay so I tried using the paddle shift and have some observations/questions:
- the paddle shift works even while in drive mode. Is it bad to shift gears while in drive?
- when I switch to DS, the acceleration was quicker and the car hovered between 2000-3000 rpm. I liked the quicker reaction but is it bad or less gas efficient to drive in DS?
- is it okay to switch between DS and D while driving? That was the only way I could "reset" when I wanted to stop using the paddle shift
- when using the paddle shift in DS mode, I didn't notice a difference in speed but I did notice the rpm changes. What's the real benefit in using the paddle shift?

Thanks!
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Old 07-30-2014, 03:37 AM
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But doesn't increasing the RPMs of your engine high clean out any carbon build up...especially if you drive in stop n go traffic?
Not really. Use a good quality gasoline with adequate detergent content. If you have a 335, you'll need to have the intake valves cleaned every 50k miles or so no matter what you do.



Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyEsq View Post
Okay so I tried using the paddle shift and have some observations/questions:
- the paddle shift works even while in drive mode. Is it bad to shift gears while in drive?
- when I switch to DS, the acceleration was quicker and the car hovered between 2000-3000 rpm. I liked the quicker reaction but is it bad or less gas efficient to drive in DS?
- is it okay to switch between DS and D while driving? That was the only way I could "reset" when I wanted to stop using the paddle shift
- when using the paddle shift in DS mode, I didn't notice a difference in speed but I did notice the rpm changes. What's the real benefit in using the paddle shift?

Thanks!
1 ) Shifting in D is fine. Unlike in DS, after a short time, the car will go back to auto shifting, instead of holding the gear you select until you change it. Good for a quick downshift before you start to pass someone.

2 ) DS makes the car more responsive by holding gears longer before shifting. It also never goes into 6th gear on it's own. Lower gas mileage is the tradeoff for the performance change.

3 ) Yup, no problem at all. Switch in and out whenever you want.

4 ) Not sure I understand lead in to the question. As far as benefits, well, there aren't too many in normal driving. The ECU will just about always select a good gear for what you're doing, with DS mode making it feel more responsive and sporty. Some folks just like to select their own gears. Chacun à son goût.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:18 PM
LadyEsq LadyEsq is offline
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Thanks Zooks527! Can I drive in DS without using the paddle shift to switch gears? Sporty mode was fun!
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Last edited by LadyEsq; 07-30-2014 at 12:20 PM. Reason: Clarify my question
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:42 PM
bimmer_boost bimmer_boost is offline
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Originally Posted by captainaudio View Post
In manual mode you have control of what gear you are in and the transmission will rev match downshifts.
In my 2007 328i it did not rev match. In my 2011 335i it does. I don't know if this was changed for the model or year but it may not rev match. You will noticed more of a dip forward if it does not.
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by LadyEsq View Post
Thanks Zooks527! Can I drive in DS without using the paddle shift to switch gears? Sporty mode was fun!
DS mode is fun!! You can drive in DS mode as long as you like without using paddles..or you can use them, completely up to you!
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:12 PM
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY DUE View Post
Trial

Error

There....paddles make avail 5 ways to shift your tranny
And Read The Manual. Then drive it. All answers should be clear in a few minutes.
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Old 07-30-2014, 05:25 PM
Sgop335 Sgop335 is offline
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Not really. Use a good quality gasoline with adequate detergent content. If you have a 335, you'll need to have the intake valves cleaned every 50k miles or so no matter what you do.





1 ) Shifting in D is fine. Unlike in DS, after a short time, the car will go back to auto shifting, instead of holding the gear you select until you change it. Good for a quick downshift before you start to pass someone.

2 ) DS makes the car more responsive by holding gears longer before shifting. It also never goes into 6th gear on it's own. Lower gas mileage is the tradeoff for the performance change.

3 ) Yup, no problem at all. Switch in and out whenever you want.

4 ) Not sure I understand lead in to the question. As far as benefits, well, there aren't too many in normal driving. The ECU will just about always select a good gear for what you're doing, with DS mode making it feel more responsive and sporty. Some folks just like to select their own gears. Chacun à son goût.
Yes it does suck that ds mode doesnt go to 6th gear. Interstates im usually on d so im not winding the engine up while cruising. I do like the quick downshift in d using the paddle when necessary. It is still not clear when d takes over if i downshift. I would have liked a quick cancel for manual shifting.
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Old 07-31-2014, 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by LadyEsq View Post
Thanks Zooks527! Can I drive in DS without using the paddle shift to switch gears? Sporty mode was fun!
Yup. Lots of folks like to use DS in automatic mode all the time.
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Old 07-31-2014, 10:05 AM
LadyEsq LadyEsq is offline
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Thanks again for all the help everyone!
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Old 07-31-2014, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by LadyEsq View Post
Thanks Zooks527! Can I drive in DS without using the paddle shift to switch gears? Sporty mode was fun!
One thing that I didn't see mentioned; in DS mode, the car will not shift into 6th gear during highway cruising until you shift up (at least in the US because the rpm's aren't high enough). Thus, you will notice an increase in full consumption.

Another item I didn't see covered is the Adaptive Transmission. Not to confuse you, but the gist of it is that the ECU "learns" your shift points and will eventually automatically shift for you in DS mode at the "learned" rpm. I found this somewhat annoying, because at times it would shift too early or it would stay in a higher rpm while trolling along in town. Do a search to learn a way around it (BTW, the Adaptive "learning" can be reset. See here if interested in Adaptive Transmission Reset.)

Lastly, none of the above will hurt the car/engine. As noted, the ECU will protect the car.
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