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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve pretty much made up my mind to buy an E61 with a V8, but when test driving a 550i, I encountered some rather annoying behavior from the Sport Auto trasmission. In short, despite having it in manual mode, whenever my right foot requested any serious response from the engine, it immediately downshifted, generally several gears at once.

The whole point of an unecessarily large V8 is to enjoy the V8 rumble while surfing a wave of torque. But if it’s going to attack the redline every time I put my foot down, I might as well buy a VTEC. Nothing against such cars, but the E61 – that’s a wagon, after all – is not a race car. It’s not even a sports car. I my mind, at least, and the reason I want one, is that It’s a pretty good GT that happens to enable you to bring a whole lot of stuff with you. In other words, a car that means that whether I’m going to work or on a family trip, I can still have fun driving. But the moment an engine starts attacking the redline is the moment the no-you can't-have-fun-driving alarm goes off in the passenger seat :-(.

And never mind the passenger seat. I’ve got a car (that can’t hold much stuff at all) in which not only can I use all the revs on my favorite roads, I can also surf the instant torque wave when I’m feeling more mellow. So if I buy another car with a bigger engine and more torque which isn’t a sports car and which I’d like to be a GT, then I’d like to be able to do the same.

So back to the transmission. I had it in manual mode (with the lever to the left) so I could use the paddles. With and without the sport button on. Am I missing something? Maybe some option burried in iDrive? Was I driving the wrong E61? (This one was post facelift, built in the second half of 2008, with the sport auto transmission.) Or if BMW got it wrong when they programmed this transmission, is there a fix?

Thanks for any insight into this!
 

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Moving the lever to the left puts it in sports mode, not manual mode. Select a gear with the paddles or the lever after moving to the left switches to manual mode. At that point it should hold the selected gear unless it decides it could damage itself...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Moving the lever to the left puts it in sports mode, not manual mode. Select a gear with the paddles or the lever after moving to the left switches to manual mode. At that point it should hold the selected gear unless it decides it could damage itself...
Interesting. Maybe that's it. Though if that is how one puts it in sport mode, what is the sport button for? And is that how all the (sport) auto transmissions work?
 

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Sounds to me the trans is working as it should . Being In manual mode at 65 mph in 5th or 6th and stomping on the gas will drop it into third,, that's normal . Throttle position will have a impact on whether it will red line and shift on each gear . If in manual mode you should be able to hold the rpms in the power band in all gears ... I can hold 5,500 - 6,500 in second gear in the power band and really feel the V8 torque in the twistes .

Pushing the sport button changes the shifting characteristics to a Higher and quicker shifting points . I think you just have t get better acquainted with how the SAT transmission functions .. If you don't want that aggressive shifting performance leave it in normal drive . It will setting down a bit .

Keep in mind even though it's not a sports car per say, wagon or sudan .. The N62 v8 with the SAT trans is a luxury high performance set up , engineered to high rev and run 120 mph all day long ..
 

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Interesting. Maybe that's it. Though if that is how one puts it in sport mode, what is the sport button for? And is that how all the (sport) auto transmissions work?
Did you happen to notice the center instrument panel display? If it showed "DS" it was in sports mode, and will shift itself (although at higher RPMs than normal). If it showed "D1" thru "D6" it was in manual mode...
 

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Did you happen to notice the center instrument panel display? If it showed "DS" it was in sports mode, and will shift itself (although at higher RPMs than normal). If it showed "D1" thru "D6" it was in manual mode...
You mean M1 thru M6 ?

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Keep in mind even though it's not a sports car per say, wagon or sudan .. The N62 v8 with the SAT trans is a luxury high performance set up , engineered to high rev and run 120 mph all day long ..
It sounds like your view is that it's actually a good thing that the transmission works this way. And for some people, it surely is. But people who want the instant automatic downshifts get that in auto mode anyway. Why have all the modes work the same way? Isn't the point of manual that the driver decides what gear the car is in? Automated upshifts so the car doens't redline and/or stop accelerating when passing in the opposite lane are OK, but that's it.

And yes, it is a high performance car with a high performance engine. But one of the great things about a powerful engine is that you don't always have to rev it like an undersized 4 cylinder - unless the transmission forces you to :-(
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Pushing the sport button changes the shifting characteristics to a Higher and quicker shifting points . I think you just have t get better acquainted with how the SAT transmission functions .. If you don't want that aggressive shifting performance leave it in normal drive . It will setting down a bit .
Putting it in normal drive, unless I badly misunderstand, doesn't sound like much of a solution. If I floor it in 5th or 6th and it's not revving too high, it will downshift, no? Frankly, if I'm in drive, I'd want it to automatically downshift at least some of the time, since I have no other way to make it downshift. Which means it needs to downshift all of the time, in case it's one of those times when that's what the driver wants.

Or if on the other hand, I just put my foot down half way so it won't downshift, well then there is no wave of torque, and I do need the car to downshift :-( .
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Sounds to me the trans is working as it should . Being In manual mode at 65 mph in 5th or 6th and stomping on the gas will drop it into third,, that's normal
So do I understand correctly that no matter which E60 or E61 with an auto or sport auto trasmission I buy, I would have to live with this annoying behavior? It sounds like you know the car well, but in the unlikely event that someone joins the conversion and says "no, that's not right", I'll be very pleased!!

To avoid any confusion, you mentioned "stomping on the gas". I'm 99% sure I didn't have to push the throttle all the way down to trigger this. The seller suggested using less throttle, but it downshifted before my right foot was able to trigger any meaningful response from the engine. Is that normal?

And if this is indeed all normal, does anyone know if the car can be reprogrammed to fix this??
 

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It sounds to me like it was in sport (DS) mode instead of manual mode. Like the post above mentioned, just moving the shifter over will put it into sport mode. At that point you have to move the shifter up or down, or use the paddles, and it will put it into manual mode.

In manual mode you should have full control over shifting; it will only shift itself if it's being asked to do something that will damage the car, like forcing it too far past the redline or telling it to downshift when it will force an over-rev. It shouldn't downshift due to throttle in manual mode, but it will in sport mode.
 

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So do I understand correctly that no matter which E60 or E61 with an auto or sport auto trasmission I buy, I would have to live with this annoying behavior? It sounds like you know the car well, but in the unlikely event that someone joins the conversion and says "no, that's not right", I'll be very pleased!!

To avoid any confusion, you mentioned "stomping on the gas". I'm 99% sure I didn't have to push the throttle all the way down to trigger this. The seller suggested using less throttle, but it downshifted before my right foot was able to trigger any meaningful response from the engine. Is that normal?

And if this is indeed all normal, does anyone know if the car can be reprogrammed to fix this??
Actually I do know my car well ,, I've owned it now for ten years . Throttle position as I mentioned is a factor . The previous owner mentioned use less throttle plus a slower push on the pedal will also help and keeping out of the kick down point on the pedal will also keep it from down shifting . Keeping it in regular drive is prolly your best option cause it shifts slower and holds lower rpm shift points . Even though you may think there is no difference between the 3 modes , there really is a significant difference in shifting characteristics . If the characteristics of the 550 is annoying to you ,, it's a possibility this may not be the car for you and your driving style . Not that in trying to sway you away from the 550 , but Lexus might be more to your liking ..
Because a 550 with SAT in my opinion ,, is really a car for spirited driving ..
 

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What you said is absolutely true this Valve Body can be replaced for an updated one that carries two reengineered # 1 to fix the problem 3-4 and 5-6 and consequently solving the problem that you mentioned going to the red line, that fix will make the transmission to shift 6-5 but not going up to 4 with that high torque that you mentioned. If you are in 5th gear and you pressed the gas pedal the car will go gently into 4 and that's all you need to pass another car. Now the 2nd reengineered is to fix the clunk down shift 2-1. This Valve Bobby is updated by ZF in USA. If you want please give me a call and I'll give you more details. 786-597-7738 Mario Aristides!


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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
What you said is absolutely true this Valve Body can be replaced for an updated one that carries two reengineered # 1 to fix the problem 3-4 and 5-6 and consequently solving the problem that you mentioned going to the red line, that fix will make the transmission to shift 6-5 but not going up to 4 with that high torque that you mentioned. If you are in 5th gear and you pressed the gas pedal the car will go gently into 4 and that's all you need to pass another car. Now the 2nd reengineered is to fix the clunk down shift 2-1. This Valve Bobby is updated by ZF in USA. If you want please give me a call and I'll give you more details. 786-597-7738 Mario Aristides!

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Thanks! While I don't have a lot of time for car related calls this week, I"m pretty sure you'll hear from me sooner or later.
 

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how much throttle are we talking about here before the transmission downshifts? i have retrofitted the SAT to my e61 and i think it sticks to the gear i manually set pretty well. i do not think it kicks down unless i put it to the floor past the kick down sensor. it could also be that i drive pretty binary and it is either down or coasting. :D

i will try and play with it a bit more today on my way home.

G~
 

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Hey, that's not nice! ;-)

But thanks for the helpful info otherwise!!
I was giving an alternative option . Lexus are nice cars and have a more gentle shifting transmission and softer ride , that might cater to your driving preference . I've never heard anyone ever complain about the shifting performance characteristics of a SAT HP26 . Usually ,, BMW owners love it ..

I actually almost purchased one , ES 350 , I really did like it , but felt it was too soft and comfy , didn't have the performance responsive feel my 545 did . When it came to high rev shifting and cornering ability and stability .

So don't take it the wrong way .. I meant it in good faith .
 
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