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My wife and I just ordered a manual X3 - our first Bimmer - the dealership wanted us to date and initial the request for a MT since it was so unusual in their experience - almost 97% of their customers want AT - we've always driven standard and so it's not a big deal at least on paper - but we're early boomers who've enjoyed "4 on the floor" for some time now.

Here is what puzzles me though - if a prospective buyer cruises this website then I would think they would be at least a little hesitant to go AT - but then again maybe the typical Bimmer buyer just walks in on a Saturday and places an order - and maybe the demographic of the typical buyer is such that a MT is never in contention.

Your thoughts on the manual vs automatic phenomenom.
 

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Some thoughts...

Agreed, we may be talking about two sets of customers. Those who frequent Bimmerfest are by definition a little more tech savvy. They may also tend to be BMW enthusiasts who are interested in reading about other people's cars. Some of my non-enthusiast friends think I'm a little odd. So I think you have the tech savvy, enthusiasts, who are really well educated about their cars before they buy and then those who just walk onto the lot on a Sunday afternoon.

For what it's worth, I had the same experience buying my 330Ci convertible. I wanted sparkling graphite, black leather, aluminum trim, xenons, NO navigation, and (gasp) a manual transmission. They made me sign the order and put down a deposit because this was such an unusual combination. Actually it floored me that we couldn't find a manual transmission convertible without navigation anywhere in America at the time and I had to custom build it.

Bottom line, I think it helps to be educated about the product you're buying, especially if you're spending ~$50K. I also think that dealers are relatively slow to catch onto the power of the Internet. The Seattle dealers are notoriously bad at posting the actual specifications of the used cars on their lots. They want to encourage foot traffic. The Portland dealers (Kuni and Rasmussen) are very, very good about putting the specifications on their websites. As a result, a friend from Seattle just bought a CPO 2005 X3 with the 5-spd automatic from Kuni over the weekend and drove it back to Seattle.

-James
Seattle, WA
 

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We ordered our MT X3 in January from one of the largest BMW dealers in our area - at the time, this dealer had more than 300 new vehicles on its lot and our sales person told us that less than 10 of them were MT. And that included Z & M models! Amazing how even the "sports" cars in MT are rarely in stock. :tsk:
 

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Consider resale value and market width. MOST people do not want an manual trans so your market is drastically reduced on resale. Unless you just enjoy rowing a stick in heavy traffic I can't see why anyone would want a manual in this day and age. Modern auto trans. are quite sophisicated and can do it all (I do realize the 07/08 X3 trans is suspect on this forum). Only a few purists still want sticks; living in the past folks. (God, i'm going to get flamed for this post !!!)
 

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BMW buyers tend to fall into two categories - those who are really into cars & motorsports, revel in the technology, and really like DRIVEand want to be involved with the machine (hence the manual transmission)and the act of driving; and those who are making a fashion statement and are buying a status symbol (they also buy clothes with labels on the outside:bigpimp:). I must admit, though, I'm surprised that the dealers in your experience find MTs a 'rare' request. That doesn't bode well for the rest of us . . . .
 

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X3 aside. The new autos going into the 3/5/6 series are incredible. BMW is making it harder to choose a manual as time goes by.

Most people I know who have gotten a manual tranny, enjoy it for the first few months, then wish they had gotten an auto. Like anything, the novelty wears off fast. Few people by manuals, and a lot less of them enjoy them long term.
 

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BMW buyers tend to fall into two categories - those who are really into cars & motorsports, revel in the technology, and really like DRIVEand want to be involved with the machine (hence the manual transmission)and the act of driving; and those who are making a fashion statement and are buying a status symbol (they also buy clothes with labels on the outside:bigpimp:). I must admit, though, I'm surprised that the dealers in your experience find MTs a 'rare' request. That doesn't bode well for the rest of us . . . .
Pul--EEZE!
 

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X3 aside. The new autos going into the 3/5/6 series are incredible. BMW is making it harder to choose a manual as time goes by.

Most people I know who have gotten a manual tranny, enjoy it for the first few months, then wish they had gotten an auto. Like anything, the novelty wears off fast. Few people by manuals, and a lot less of them enjoy them long term.
It's not BMW, it's Americans. It's very hard to find an auto box in europe because they have much higher costs and get dinged for them. It's the dealers that contribute to the problem here... I bet if they carried sticks, they'd get sold... but when all there is to choose from IS an auto box, and most people don't want to wait 6-8 weeks, the autos are going to sell because there isn't another option.
 

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It's not BMW, it's Americans. It's very hard to find an auto box in europe because they have much higher costs and get dinged for them. It's the dealers that contribute to the problem here... I bet if they carried sticks, they'd get sold... but when all there is to choose from IS an auto box, and most people don't want to wait 6-8 weeks, the autos are going to sell because there isn't another option.
There was a survey done a while back that shows 85% of Americans prefer autos. Hence the dealers go with the odds.

In Europe they go with manuals with diesels. Cars are more expensive, along with fuel, and they keep them a long time.

It used to be autos used more fuel than manuals. However with the aid of computers that is no longer the case. I actually believe manuals get much worse fuel economy than what is stated on the sticker because drivers do not drive them efficiently most of the time.

With Hybrids and CVT trannys becoming more poplular, and SMS/DSG tranny's coming to be for peformance, I don't see a traditional manual being sought after in the future.
 

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BMW buyers tend to fall into two categories - those who are really into cars & motorsports, revel in the technology, and really like DRIVEand want to be involved with the machine (hence the manual transmission)and the act of driving; and those who are making a fashion statement and are buying a status symbol (they also buy clothes with labels on the outside:bigpimp:).
While I may agree to some extent - there is definitely a third category like myself. I would have preferred a MT - however spending approximately 10 - 12 hours a week in stop & go commute traffic, the AT makes much more sense. I have driven MTs and the misery of the commute far outweighs the weekend romps.

The commute traffic around here is only reason I didn't get/order a MT.
 

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Consider resale value and market width. MOST people do not want an manual trans so your market is drastically reduced on resale. Unless you just enjoy rowing a stick in heavy traffic I can't see why anyone would want a manual in this day and age. Modern auto trans. are quite sophisicated and can do it all (I do realize the 07/08 X3 trans is suspect on this forum). Only a few purists still want sticks; living in the past folks. (God, i'm going to get flamed for this post !!!)
Yeah... :flame:

What you and the others are missing is that the manual buyers WANT to give up the functionality because driving is FUN! With sufficiently advanced technology, I can seat myself comfortably in my luxurious travel capsule, enter my destination into the control unit, and settle back for a nap while I'm whisked to where I want to go. There may be times that I wish to do that, but typically I would like to drive.
 

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It's not BMW, it's Americans. It's very hard to find an auto box in europe because they have much higher costs and get dinged for them. It's the dealers that contribute to the problem here... I bet if they carried sticks, they'd get sold... but when all there is to choose from IS an auto box, and most people don't want to wait 6-8 weeks, the autos are going to sell because there isn't another option.
Many EU countries have a requirement for passing your driving exam in MT car to be able to drive MT in the future AFAIK, so most drivers in Europe know how to drive stick.

AT in EU is not any more expensive than here...
 

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While I may agree to some extent - there is definitely a third category like myself. I would have preferred a MT - however spending approximately 10 - 12 hours a week in stop & go commute traffic, the AT makes much more sense. I have driven MTs and the misery of the commute far outweighs the weekend romps.

The commute traffic around here is only reason I didn't get/order a MT.
We have traffic here too :D, but I only drive MT... If it's a question for you, you are actually an "AT person". I don't care if it's stop and go traffic, it's just not a question for me, nor a problem to drive MT in traffic... As long as MTs are available, I will have 3 pedals on the floor of my cars.
 

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Most Americans do not know how to drive a manual transmission car. If there are some family members who don't know how, then an automatic is almost a requirement otherwise the car can't be driven by everyone.

Requiring knowing how to drive a MT car may be advantageous but there governments have or should have higher priorities such as potholes, good signage, etc. Some countries have a restriction in driver's licenses, such as "AT only". Having this would shame a few people into learning but wouldn't help society as a whole.

I have nothing against AT and even have a MT car. Unfortunately, I just ordered a X3 with AT but didn't know about the problems. Duh!

I think most people should learn how to drive a MT car in case of emergencies, just as I think learning to fly a plane or drive a bus is useful. I'm sure secret agent 007 knows how because he doesn't know what he will encounter
 

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Here is what puzzles me though - if a prospective buyer cruises this website then I would think they would be at least a little hesitant to go AT - but then again maybe the typical Bimmer buyer just walks in on a Saturday and places an order - and maybe the demographic of the typical buyer is such that a MT is never in contention.

Your thoughts on the manual vs automatic phenomenom.
Dealers order what they can sell off the lot. Manual Transmissions have been on a decline for years. In 1990, the MT take rate for a 535i was 5%.

Here in ATL you can find Z4s and the various coupes in stock with a Manual. Sedans with a manual are rare. We were all set to order a 2004 325i sedan with a manual when a customer backed out of an order at the last minute.

Ever since AT became a zero dollar option on the X3, the MT take rate has been near zero.

Most BMW buyers don't read Bimmerfest. Most US customers take cars off the lot. Most of them don't even know you can order stick shift X3.

At least we can still get an X3 with a manual.

Bimmerfesters represents a big chunk of the enthusiast crowd. We special order cars at a much higher rate than a typical customer. Something like 30% of all ED orders come from bimmerfest members.

And then there is the performance difference. It used to be an automatic was a 1 second or more penalty in 0-60 times. Now it is a few tenths, if that.
 

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While I may agree to some extent - there is definitely a third category like myself. I would have preferred a MT - however spending approximately 10 - 12 hours a week in stop & go commute traffic, the AT makes much more sense.
That is less of an issue with the new X3. The N52B30 motor has so much low end torque that you don't need to shift or be on the clutch all that much.

I wouldn't want to spend 12 hours a week in traffic in any car.

Debbie has a job offer that would require a 1 hour commute. We are looking for a house within walking distance of a train station!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Consider resale value and market width. MOST people do not want an manual trans so your market is drastically reduced on resale. Unless you just enjoy rowing a stick in heavy traffic I can't see why anyone would want a manual in this day and age. Modern auto trans. are quite sophisicated and can do it all (I do realize the 07/08 X3 trans is suspect on this forum). Only a few purists still want sticks; living in the past folks. (God, i'm going to get flamed for this post !!!)
We've driven many MT cars in the past but the Audi A6 that we recently sold privately towards the X3 was AT. One of the reasons we sold it was that the torque converter went at 75,000 and although it was repaired the A6 never ran the same. We actually wanted the X3 in AT but given the bad press here on Bimmer and the recent troubles with the Audi, we decided on the MT. And rather than "living in the past" I think it's a matter of being aware of the present and I think a MT has fewer "bells & whistles" that can go wrong.
 

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Yippee

After visiting with BMWNA this morning I can tell you that there are only 14 MT's in the country and soon one may be mine.:roundel:
 

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After vsisting with BMWNA this morning I can tell you that there are only 14 MT's in the country and soon one may be mine.:roundel:
Anyone in US could have an MT X3 if they are willing to wait 6 - 8 weeks or so...
 

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My wife and I just ordered a manual X3 - our first Bimmer - the dealership wanted us to date and initial the request for a MT since it was so unusual in their experience - almost 97% of their customers want AT - we've always driven standard and so it's not a big deal at least on paper - but we're early boomers who've enjoyed "4 on the floor" for some time now.

Here is what puzzles me though - if a prospective buyer cruises this website then I would think they would be at least a little hesitant to go AT - but then again maybe the typical Bimmer buyer just walks in on a Saturday and places an order - and maybe the demographic of the typical buyer is such that a MT is never in contention.

Your thoughts on the manual vs automatic phenomenom.
Uber,
Here's the deal:
1. Car salespeople push A/T's for obvious reasons.
2. BMW "owners" drive A/T's
3. BMW"drivers" drive M/T's
Any questions??
bobkap
 
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