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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read very mixed reviews of the manual gearbox, with most motor mags preferring the auto-box.

I didn't get a choice (autos not allowed on the fleet), however I'd be interested to hear the thoughts of anyone who's driven the manual please?

Cheers
 

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I'm in same boat as not driven one yet.

Reviews very mixed. Some say poor some say as good as any bmw manual........

Will know for myself by the end of this month if it arrives on time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good Luck with the delivery then, I haven't even seen one on the road yet.
 

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I remember sitting in a demo model and when changing through the gears it was quite clunky. I now have an XE manual and find it smooth and easy going between gears so I'm more than happy with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's reassuring totti, I guess it's just a case of becoming familiar with the change quality. Cheers
 

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I'm a bit apprehensive about my auto order - losing full control over gear selection and engine speeds, no more engine braking, no more power feathering games with the clutch. I will have to get used to gliding sweetly everywhere. Oh dear….what have I done?
 

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Similar fears here but I hope to find a different experience using kick down and paddles. Here's hoping!
 

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I found with my XK that the use of the paddle shifters gave me the 'involvement' which I like, without the aching (old) left knee which clutch work sometimes gives me. I don't know if the XE auto blips the throttle on paddle downchange like the XK did, but would hope that it does.
 

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robertW said:
I'm a bit apprehensive about my auto order - losing full control over gear selection and engine speeds, no more engine braking, no more power feathering games with the clutch. I will have to get used to gliding sweetly everywhere. Oh dear….what have I done?
You can maintain control of most of those elements by going into manual mode. I tried it on my test drive (by accident I have to admit - I asked the salesman how the paddles worked with an auto box and at his suggestion had a go). I know what you mean about losing full control, though - my boss had an automatic Daimler in the 1960's and I hated driving it - the experience put me off auto boxes for years, but modern autos are seamless - I find that with a petrol engine, in particular, you almost need to be watching the rev counter to know when the box changes gear. I was once asked by an interested passenger why I didn't seem to use the manual over-ride, so I showed him and made a right pigs ear of it - the fact is that the auto box does it better than I can, albeit I've hardly driven a manual for quite some years so I've lot the touch !

Ian
 

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I was always a manual driver until my 535d which was only available in auto.

In manual mode it does offer much of the involvement of a manual but it will still auto change at times so you can't hold a gear if it's near rev limit as it will change up then you need to change back down.

Only time I found it a pain was on the track.

Generally though I left it in auto mode well sport auto mode as it changes better than me.

Obviously you can't hold car on clutch either so when lights change its foot off brake then onto accelerator so revs always from idle.

I'm sure you will get used to it very quickly
 

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Tobes,

Probably not such bad thing if the auto prevents you from over-revving ! To be honest, the only times I've used the manual over-ride was for the Advanced Motorists test where I was advised to demonstrate that I understood the manual mode - again, on advice, and practising a lot. I used it to slow the car when going downhill - which seems completely at odds with the modern mantra about "gears to go, brakes to slow". I wish I understood it all !!

I was worried (still am until I can drive my own car for a few days) about the effect of the engine stop or, at least, how quickly the engine restarts. On the test drive it seemed to start the engine by magic - it was very quick - and the automatic release of the "handbrake" is a pretty good feature to help a decent getaway but, I'll feel better about it after I've got the car and driven it for a while .

I'm used to the engine stopping on my wife's Prius (almost at random it seems sometimes because of the minimum 1000rpm engine speed) so with luck, that bit won't bother me.
 

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ianbruce said:
robertW said:
I'm a bit apprehensive about my auto order - losing full control over gear selection and engine speeds, no more engine braking, no more power feathering games with the clutch. I will have to get used to gliding sweetly everywhere. Oh dear….what have I done?
You can maintain control of most of those elements by going into manual mode. I tried it on my test drive (by accident I have to admit - I asked the salesman how the paddles worked with an auto box and at his suggestion had a go). I know what you mean about losing full control, though - my boss had an automatic Daimler in the 1960's and I hated driving it - the experience put me off auto boxes for years, but modern autos are seamless - I find that with a petrol engine, in particular, you almost need to be watching the rev counter to know when the box changes gear. I was once asked by an interested passenger why I didn't seem to use the manual over-ride, so I showed him and made a right pigs ear of it - the fact is that the auto box does it better than I can, albeit I've hardly driven a manual for quite some years so I've lot the touch !

Ian
I hope so. The paddle shift up and down was quick and smooth on my test drive so there seems to be scope to experiment with ways of using it to best effect - the plus side is both hands can control the steering at all times - which should help to tweek the steering quicker when needed.
 

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tobes said:
I was always a manual driver until my 535d which was only available in auto.

In manual mode it does offer much of the involvement of a manual but it will still auto change at times so you can't hold a gear if it's near rev limit as it will change up then you need to change back down.

Only time I found it a pain was on the track.

Generally though I left it in auto mode well sport auto mode as it changes better than me.

Obviously you can't hold car on clutch either so when lights change its foot off brake then onto accelerator so revs always from idle.

I'm sure you will get used to it very quickly
Yes, the tick-over start could be an irritation and I'm hoping the 240 petrol will be quicker away than the test drive car (a 180 diesel). Its not the end of the world though as I usually pull away slowly - the main exception is at busy roundabouts.
 

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Every modern car has a rev limiter so you can't over rev.

What I mean is you are approaching a corner in 3rd at speed. You are near red line and will want to accelerate again in 3rd after lifting off for the corner. In auto mode the car will change up to 4th as soon as you lift off the throttle as it thinks you are now at the speed you want. Meaning it's a manual downshift or foot down for kick down after corner.
In manual mode same happens if you get close to red line it will shift up.

In a manual it will just leave it in gear you've selected.

As I said before its not an issue and me being a keen manual driver generally leave my car in sports auto mode as it's better than me!

I've had an auto for 8 years now even though I never dreamt of getting one. It's been good, very good in fact although I'm not sure it would be as good with less power.

Autos are better than they have ever been and gone are the days of them being slower than manuals. In fact the new bmw auto 335 is quicker to 62 than the manual
 

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Tobes,

Sorry my good sir, I was joking about the over revving, although having scanned my downloaded copy of the user manual, I see that it warns about the dangers of putting the car into reverse when travelling forwards - I can't help feeling that is something that the system really should be set up to prevent.

Like you, I've had an automatic for 14 years now and the only time I drove a manual since, for some reason I kept forgetting about the clutch. So far as I can see, the main disadvantage of an automatic box is the power it consumes, with a corresponding increase in CO2 emissions, fuel consumption and VED.

One thing I noticed (with horror, I must say) in my first winter with my X Type auto , was that trying to brake on an icy downhill slope, the car showed no signs of slowing until I knocked it into neutral. It felt like the ABS was fighting a losing battle with the gearbox. I discussed this effect with the dealer who pooh-poohed the idea until he sent one of his minions out to repeat the phenomenon - and he agreed that it could happen. I was so pleased to be believed that I took it no further, other than to remember what to do in the same circumstances. It would be interesting to hear if anyone else has ever noticed something of the sort.

Incidentally, do you now use both feet (as Honest John advises), or just your right foot for brake and throttle, like I do. I'm sure his advice is based on common sense (and if you're learning to drive in an auto it would be sensible) but I think I'd be a danger on roads trying to change the habit of a lifetime.

Ian
 

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Right foot for both. Tendency to emergency stop when I try braking with left foot.

You are right on lack of engine braking. I forgot about that point. Force it down a gear to early and it changes back up.

As for selecting reverse I'm sure mine has to be stationary and foot on brake to allow auto shifter to be moved into reverse.
 

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I have briefly test driven a 180 BHP portfolio with the autobox and was kindly given a 163 bhp prestige with the manual box for a couple of days via my company. I have to say I was more impressed with the manual gearbox rather than the auto. Even in dynamic mode the auto box did not have a sense of urgency to shift. The manual on the other hand was a very nice drive and the car certainly felt more sportier - even though it had less power than the auto version I first tested!!
 

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tobes,

The emergency stop syndrome is just one of the problems I had when I tried left foot braking. It was only a matter of time before I got rear end shunted. Funny, really, in a manual the left foot can be used in a very sensitive way when releasing the clutch on start off, but when you try to brake gently with it, it's hopeless. And yes, it is impossible to put the box into reverse unless you have your boot firmly on the brake pedal. I don't have a clue whether the car must be stationary or not, though, but it would make sense.

jhangz,

I suspect the reason why the manual "low powered" car felt better is the amount of power that the auto box uses. Take a look at the difference in CO2 figures for an auto and manual box on the same engine, as that is a rough indication of the power loss in the transmission. I find it hard to believe that it really is the case but the fuel consumption and CO2 figures seem to confirm it. Sometime, when I stop counting days to expected delivery, I'll try to find out where the power goes in an auto !

Ian
 

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Ian

I'm glad to hear it's not only me with a lead left foot on the brake pedal. But yes funny how it's so delicate on a clutch pedal.

Torque convertor must be the culprit for wasting power in an auto. Although bmw now achieve same emissions on either transmission and on some models quicker 0-62 in the auto.
 

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I think the 180 manual diesel was the right choice for me personally. Autos are very convenient and relaxing for long drives but I love the involvement of a manual and the ability to change when I want!!!
 
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