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  #51  
Old 05-20-2014, 09:04 AM
rjpeaks rjpeaks is offline
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  #52  
Old 05-20-2014, 05:47 PM
Jamolay Jamolay is offline
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I have always had MT cars, but must not be good at it. With my first BMW (yet to arrive) I will be happy for the AT, I won't miss the angst caused by that grinding sound, or the cost of early transmission repair. Some of us are better off with AT, cuz we never learn. My father still likes to tell the story of me learning to drive MT 32 years ago....


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  #53  
Old 05-20-2014, 06:57 PM
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I have always had MT cars, but must not be good at it. With my first BMW (yet to arrive) I will be happy for the AT, I won't miss the angst caused by that grinding sound, or the cost of early transmission repair. Some of us are better off with AT, cuz we never learn. My father still likes to tell the story of me learning to drive MT 32 years ago....


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  #54  
Old 05-20-2014, 07:16 PM
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I have driven a wide variety of manual transmissions over the years including 'Three on the Tree", 4,5 and 6 speeds, 18 speed non-synchro trucks and sequential racing transmissions with straight cut gears and no synchros that had to be double clutched.

Quite frankly although I am perfectly content to drive an MT the novelty wore off a long time ago and I have no issue with modern ATs whether they are DCTs or "conventional" planetary geared ATs. I do feel that my experience driving MTs was a valuable experience and if I had never driven MTs I would not really understand how to use paddle shifters properly. Keep in mind that although F1 and other race drivers drive two pedal cars, shift with paddles and left foot brake they are all very experienced with and very adept at driving manual transmissions.

From what I see posted here a lot of people don't understand how a modern AT works. They are not 'Slushboxes' and the torque converters are out of the picture once the car is under way and the transmission uses gears (planetary gear sets) and clutches to change gears. "Fluid drive" is as obsolete as "Three on the Tree" with no synchromesh on first gear.
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  #55  
Old 05-20-2014, 10:26 PM
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Here is what Sam Smith says, in the most recent Road and Track (he used to write for the Roundel, which we BMW CCA people read):

http://www.roadandtrack.com/voices/c...s-65-9-roa0614

The comments appended to his piece are also very fine.
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  #56  
Old 05-20-2014, 11:30 PM
namelessman namelessman is offline
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My observation from "steering" the 8AT(with manual mode and such) is that, the brake and gas pedals do require skills to operate efficiently(to balance and control, as previously mentioned by others), so it is not the end of all driving fun without the clutch. The clutch does provide additional control, e.g., slipping the clutch feels like standing on toes(figuratively), but the modern AT can often assist in those delicate steps and free the driver to focus on other fun parts of driving, like dancing on the brakes.
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  #57  
Old 05-21-2014, 12:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordique View Post
Here is what Sam Smith says, in the most recent Road and Track (he used to write for the Roundel, which we BMW CCA people read):

http://www.roadandtrack.com/voices/c...s-65-9-roa0614

The comments appended to his piece are also very fine.
I read the article and the comments and I think was grasping at straws. Anyone who says "If you are not shifting you are not driving you are only steering" (one of the comments) is beyond clueless about high performance driving.

The writer could have simply said "I prefer driving MTs" and eliminated the rest of the self serving comments.

Times change, thing progress, cars get more capable. Race drivers used to have to downshift to slow down to avoid brake fade. They were driving on skinny tires with limited grip. Bottom line is it takes a great deal of skill to drive a car at the limits and consistently be on the edge of losing control and shifting gears is a very small part of it.

In the words of Mario Andretti "If everything seems under control, you aren't going fast enough."

Modern performance cars have power assisted steering, power assisted brakes, anti lock brakes, stability control, etc. so if you think that what makes the car 'drive itself' is an AT you are being a bit naive.

In any case this thread is supposed to be a "technical analysis" not another MT vs AT thread so personal preferences aside we should be discussing the technological advantages of MT vs AT. Personally I don't see any significant technological advantages to MTs and that is IMO why they are being phased out on high end sports cars and race cars.

That being said I fully respect that fact that some people prefer driving an MT and I hope BMW and other manufacturers continue to offer them but I think it is inevitable that they will become less and less common.

There is a similar situation in the audio world where "purists" cam made a good case for the superior sound of vinyl over digital. Bottom line is that vinyl records are for all practical purposes an obsolete technology regardless of how much some people may prefer them.
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Last edited by captainaudio; 05-21-2014 at 01:09 AM.
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  #58  
Old 05-21-2014, 03:56 AM
Michael Schott Michael Schott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captainaudio View Post
I read the article and the comments and I think was grasping at straws. Anyone who says "If you are not shifting you are not driving you are only steering" (one of the comments) is beyond clueless about high performance driving.

The writer could have simply said "I prefer driving MTs" and eliminated the rest of the self serving comments.

Times change, thing progress, cars get more capable. Race drivers used to have to downshift to slow down to avoid brake fade. They were driving on skinny tires with limited grip. Bottom line is it takes a great deal of skill to drive a car at the limits and consistently be on the edge of losing control and shifting gears is a very small part of it.

In the words of Mario Andretti "If everything seems under control, you aren't going fast enough."

Modern performance cars have power assisted steering, power assisted brakes, anti lock brakes, stability control, etc. so if you think that what makes the car 'drive itself' is an AT you are being a bit naive.

In any case this thread is supposed to be a "technical analysis" not another MT vs AT thread so personal preferences aside we should be discussing the technological advantages of MT vs AT. Personally I don't see any significant technological advantages to MTs and that is IMO why they are being phased out on high end sports cars and race cars.

That being said I fully respect that fact that some people prefer driving an MT and I hope BMW and other manufacturers continue to offer them but I think it is inevitable that they will become less and less common.

There is a similar situation in the audio world where "purists" cam made a good case for the superior sound of vinyl over digital. Bottom line is that vinyl records are for all practical purposes an obsolete technology regardless of how much some people may prefer them.
This thread is not supposed to be a technical analysis of AT vs MT. It's supposed to numerate how BMW has designed the F30 and it's modes and features to take advantage of the ZF 8AT.
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  #59  
Old 05-21-2014, 04:36 AM
back2future back2future is offline
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(not quite on topic)
I've driven MT all my life except this car which is AT. I love it and would have AT for ever, if I could choose.
A question, if I am in a MT car and behind a lorry that I want to pass, I will normally shift down a gear in preparation so that the power is there when I need it. An AT will not know to do this.
Does that matter with the AT? Is the down shift so quick when you overtake with an AT that it doesnt matter if you havent shifted down before you pull out to overtake?
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  #60  
Old 05-21-2014, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by back2future View Post
(not quite on topic)
I've driven MT all my life except this car which is AT. I love it and would have AT for ever, if I could choose.
A question, if I am in a MT car and behind a lorry that I want to pass, I will normally shift down a gear in preparation so that the power is there when I need it. An AT will not know to do this.
Does that matter with the AT? Is the down shift so quick when you overtake with an AT that it doesnt matter if you havent shifted down before you pull out to overtake?
1. The BMW MT in manual mode will let you shift down a gear in preparation of passing and it will do so with a perfectly rev matched down shift.

2. The 'Kick Down" down shift in automatic mode when you accelerate is very quick.

3. Shifting between manual and auto mode is simple and quick.
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  #61  
Old 05-21-2014, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by captainaudio View Post
1. The BMW MT in manual mode will let you shift down a gear or more in preparation of passing and it will do so with a perfectly rev matched down shift.

2. The 'Kick Down" down shift in automatic mode when you accelerate is very quick.

3. Shifting between manual and auto mode is simple and quick.




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  #62  
Old 05-21-2014, 06:40 AM
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This isn't a debate that can be "analyzed", because preference for manual transmissions isn't a rational decision.

Most manual drivers probably feel like I do; I can't have fun driving at legal speeds on public roads without three pedals. Period.

I've driven GT-Rs, 911 Turbos, and AMG Mercs with DCT/auto transmissions, and had less fun than when I drive my dad's 1990 F-250 Diesel or any Honda/Subaru/Mazda with a manual. Obviously, if I was driving on a track, it would be a different story, as a DCT/auto would free up valuable brain cycles to focus on staying on the track. But on public roads (where you're always stuck behind a soccer mom in a minivan talking on a cell phone), the only way I can enjoy driving is to focus on perfecting my shifts.

I'm a technophile in almost every other respect (I like new cars more than classics, I prefer streaming digital music to vinyl, and love gadgets), but I'll continue to buy manual cars as long as that's an option.
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  #63  
Old 05-21-2014, 06:58 AM
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The big question is, how long will they continue to make competitive manual gearboxes and clutches?

If there isn't enough demand we might end up with quite crappy ones that aren't fun.
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  #64  
Old 05-21-2014, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by captainaudio View Post
Modern performance cars have power assisted steering, power assisted brakes, anti lock brakes, stability control, etc. so if you think that what makes the car 'drive itself' is an AT you are being a bit naive.
Agree. My first 3 performance cars, not including the English ones, 409/409, 421SD, Ram Air Tri-Power were manual steering, manual drum brakes, LSD, no A/C & no electronic aid.

Somebody clinging to "I want to be in complete control" with a modern MT with Launch Control, Rev Matching & a heavy dose of other electronic intervention is just tickling themselves.
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  #65  
Old 05-21-2014, 07:07 AM
the_phew the_phew is offline
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Originally Posted by Squiddie View Post
The big question is, how long will they continue to make competitive manual gearboxes and clutches?

If there isn't enough demand we might end up with quite crappy ones that aren't fun.
Manual demand in Europe has always been strong and this will likely continue. So automakers will continue to refine their manuals for the European market at least.

Mazda just made a big deal about their development efforts on their new SkyActiv 6-speed manual box. It's not the world's best manual box, but it's better than BMW's.
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  #66  
Old 05-21-2014, 07:43 AM
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This thread is not supposed to be a technical analysis of AT vs MT. It's supposed to numerate how BMW has designed the F30 and it's modes and features to take advantage of the ZF 8AT.
A thread titled 6MT vs 8AT The only surer way to start a flamewar is title it "328 vs 335", or "Roth vs Hagar".
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  #67  
Old 05-21-2014, 09:10 AM
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My sense is that the car is designed to be used with the 8AT, but I'm happy with my choice of the 6MT. It's was never going to be a rational / logical choice for me to go with three pedals, but having done so, I suspect I'd get more performance out of the car with the ZF auto.

My chief complaints are a bit of noticeable turbo lag on hard throttle between shifts and a relatively numb throttle feel - even in sport mode - when trying to rev match downshifts. The second one is the more bothersome to me in everyday driving.

On the other hand, this car, IMO, represents "manual transmission for dummies." The clutch is really forgiving and easy to feel, and there's SO MUCH torque, it seems you don't need to do much shifting in "normal" driving.
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  #68  
Old 05-21-2014, 09:24 AM
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On the other hand, this car, IMO, represents "manual transmission for dummies." The clutch is really forgiving and easy to feel, and there's SO MUCH torque, it seems you don't need to do much shifting in "normal" driving.
Good to know, thanks for sharing your experience Mathfuzzy!

This is useful information in the context of the thread topic because F3x equipped with N55 engines use a different MT than those with N20/N26 engines. The former uses the "K" series MT made by ZF, whereas the latter employs the new "I" series MT sourced from Getrag. Some interesting tidbits about the ZF manual transmission are that it uses dry sump lubrication and a new carbon friction lining on the synchronizers, and that it weighs almost 25 lbs. less than the Getrag unit.

AFAIK, all F3x cars with AT use ZF's 8HP.
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  #69  
Old 05-21-2014, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Mathfuzzy View Post
My sense is that the car is designed to be used with the 8AT, but I'm happy with my choice of the 6MT. It's was never going to be a rational / logical choice for me to go with three pedals, but having done so, I suspect I'd get more performance out of the car with the ZF auto.

My chief complaints are a bit of noticeable turbo lag on hard throttle between shifts and a relatively numb throttle feel - even in sport mode - when trying to rev match downshifts. The second one is the more bothersome to me in everyday driving.

On the other hand, this car, IMO, represents "manual transmission for dummies." The clutch is really forgiving and easy to feel, and there's SO MUCH torque, it seems you don't need to do much shifting in "normal" driving.
I agree with this. This is my first turbo, so I've had to learn counter lag by starting on the throttle a little before letting off the clutch.

Not much to do about lack of engine feedback, however. I plan on adding a performance exhaust (Akro/Borla anyone?) that will hopefully add some more presence. But for things like rev matching and shift points my eye has already been trained to see the tach needle in my peripheral vision.

I like the more refined nature of the car over my previous Eclipse, including the quiet. What I wish for is that the Sport mode would also enhance the visceral qualities *somehow*.
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:38 AM
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I agree with this. This is my first turbo, so I've had to learn counter lag by starting on the throttle a little before letting off the clutch.



Not much to do about lack of engine feedback, however. I plan on adding a performance exhaust (Akro/Borla anyone?) that will hopefully add some more presence. But for things like rev matching and shift points my eye has already been trained to see the tach needle in my peripheral vision.



I like the more refined nature of the car over my previous Eclipse, including the quiet. What I wish for is that the Sport mode would also enhance the visceral qualities *somehow*.

Yeah, my take is that this car wants to emphasize the 'luxury' in luxury sport sedan. Even with the factory performance exhaust and the sunroof open, at freeway speeds (chiefly braking / downshifting for off ramp fun), I can't really hear / feel what's going on with the engine. In the 911 I feel it through the seat, and would love to be able to dial in more of that in combination with the MT.

Sorry - a little off topic here - my wife is completely and totally over the moon with this car and how it feels. Whereas she liked her A5, she loves the 435. And more sport / less luxury would likely have tipped the scales the other way.


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Old 05-21-2014, 10:21 AM
Michael Schott Michael Schott is offline
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Originally Posted by Mathfuzzy View Post
My sense is that the car is designed to be used with the 8AT, but I'm happy with my choice of the 6MT. It's was never going to be a rational / logical choice for me to go with three pedals, but having done so, I suspect I'd get more performance out of the car with the ZF auto.

My chief complaints are a bit of noticeable turbo lag on hard throttle between shifts and a relatively numb throttle feel - even in sport mode - when trying to rev match downshifts. The second one is the more bothersome to me in everyday driving.

On the other hand, this car, IMO, represents "manual transmission for dummies." The clutch is really forgiving and easy to feel, and there's SO MUCH torque, it seems you don't need to do much shifting in "normal" driving.
Excellent response and I agree 100%. Even in Sport Mode there seems to be a bit of a log when trying to match revs for a downshift. I think this is easy to overcome with a more forceful push of the accelerator but it does make it harder to judge. Other than that it's a sweet MT and clutch combo. A long friction point on the clutch and a positive gearbox.
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:38 AM
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Excellent response and I agree 100%. Even in Sport Mode there seems to be a bit of a log when trying to match revs for a downshift. I think this is easy to overcome with a more forceful push of the accelerator but it does make it harder to judge. Other than that it's a sweet MT and clutch combo. A long friction point on the clutch and a positive gearbox.
I think it's definitely a learning curve and requires a longer time to get familiar with the car in different driving conditions. If you often drive in both Comfort and Sport, that change in throttle response adds another layer of fun.

But I guess that's part of the attraction of a MT for me - learning the car to the point where I can read it so well that I can always produce the behavior I want when shifting.
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:56 AM
Kafkaesque328 Kafkaesque328 is offline
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Originally Posted by captainaudio View Post
I read the article and the comments and I think was grasping at straws. Anyone who says "If you are not shifting you are not driving you are only steering" (one of the comments) is beyond clueless about high performance driving.

The writer could have simply said "I prefer driving MTs" and eliminated the rest of the self serving comments.

Times change, thing progress, cars get more capable. Race drivers used to have to downshift to slow down to avoid brake fade. They were driving on skinny tires with limited grip. Bottom line is it takes a great deal of skill to drive a car at the limits and consistently be on the edge of losing control and shifting gears is a very small part of it.

In the words of Mario Andretti "If everything seems under control, you aren't going fast enough."

Modern performance cars have power assisted steering, power assisted brakes, anti lock brakes, stability control, etc. so if you think that what makes the car 'drive itself' is an AT you are being a bit naive.

In any case this thread is supposed to be a "technical analysis" not another MT vs AT thread so personal preferences aside we should be discussing the technological advantages of MT vs AT. Personally I don't see any significant technological advantages to MTs and that is IMO why they are being phased out on high end sports cars and race cars.

That being said I fully respect that fact that some people prefer driving an MT and I hope BMW and other manufacturers continue to offer them but I think it is inevitable that they will become less and less common.

There is a similar situation in the audio world where "purists" cam made a good case for the superior sound of vinyl over digital. Bottom line is that vinyl records are for all practical purposes an obsolete technology regardless of how much some people may prefer them.
Seriously, ridiculous. You make good points all around on this topic. Coming from literally decades of MT in basically every public driving condition known to man I do not understand the repulsion some guys have to something like the 8 speed. Granted, there are crappy automatics but there are also fantastic ones and it just seems to me that if you were really an automotive 'enthusiast' that you would appreciate all manners of automotive tech, engineering etc. if it is good. Some things are undeniably good. You may not prefer them but I don't understand the total refusal. Or like the guy saying when he was 'steering' the automatic. I mean, come on. If the manual die hards are so confident that all you do in an automatic is steer and ride the brakes, I'd like to see them test there skills on a road course and see how well they do. Then take that same automatic car and put it in the hands of a pro driver and he would drive circles around them, thus proving that there is so much more to driving than pushing a clutch in a pulling a lever. I learned that skill when I was 16 and mastered it by the time I was 17.

Most of the people I grew up with, where I grew up especially, drove manuals and most of them weren't good drivers. So the assumption that 'knowing how' to drive standard equates to being a skilled driver is silly. I was particularly good at driving manual but Los Angeles broke me down over time. I wanted an automatic for years but none of them satisfied me until this one. If I lived in a rural area I'd drive a manual again without question but at this point, 70% of the time it just equals tedium.
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Last edited by Kafkaesque328; 05-21-2014 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:00 PM
namelessman namelessman is offline
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It is good point that in urban area the AT does have additional merits, it takes focus to avoid potholes and errand drivers alike, and having the rev match and shifting done by the AT is similar to having a co-pilot.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:03 PM
Kafkaesque328 Kafkaesque328 is offline
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I grew up in rural northern CA. No traffic, basically ever. Lot of mountain roads, country roads, etc. MT made perfect sense then. It doesn't make sense anymore. I had to be at work at 930am this morning. The first part of my commute is 15 miles of traffic free highway. A quick blast on the onramp in sport mode, get around a few Prius going 55 in the fast lane, settle in at 76mph and lock it in cruise. Listen to NPR. Arrive near LA city limits. I can already see the bottleneck from the 2 freeway turning into Glendale Blvd. but guess what? It starts 5 miles back. 5 miles of what is essentially a parking lot. So I throw it in eco pro, disable start stop and inch along, thankful that I don't have to push in the clutch like a true enthusiast 500000 times to move 5 miles in 45 minutes time. I used to do the same commute in my GTI. Driving in traffic like that with a manual you are screwed because people will not allow you to keep that space between your nose and the driver in front you's rear bumper, so you aren't clutching constantly. They just cut you off and take up that space you are allowing yourself. So you just end up doing the 3 legged tap dance all the way to work. If you think it's fun you are completely insane.

Most guys who say they don't mind driving manual in Los Angeles every single day are most likely about 10 years younger than me. Give it time I say. I used to be the same way. Wasn't willing to relinquish that badge of honor. The others that are my age and still don't mind are just insane. But hey, your car, do whatever you want. If you want to get a car where the bottom is cut out so your feet touch the ground and you can run to make it move forward like in the Flintstones, than be my guest.

All the merits of this automatic aside, if we ever get out of this pit of hell melting pot that we call home and move somewhere rural, I'll get that third pedal back in a heartbeat.
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R.I.P- 2014 320i Sport Pkg | 2010 VW GTI |2010 Mazda 3 2.5

Last edited by Kafkaesque328; 05-21-2014 at 12:10 PM.
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