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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > General E90 Sedan / E91 Wagon / E92 Coupe / E93 Cabrio > Steptronic "modes" understanding.



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      10-24-2005, 05:05 AM   #1
lux.sh
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Steptronic "modes" understanding.

I need advice from steptronic owners.

I did the search and found the followings.

D mode(regular "D" position): Better suited for regular driving, gas economy.

Sport mode(in MS position, no shifting): Better suited for aggressive regular driving, gear holds much longer, downshifts are more often to keep engine at boil. Gas economy isn't good.

MS mode(manually shifting): Suited for much more control. Aggressive or regular driving habit can be both used depending on how you shift around with it.

So here is my question. MS mode gives you complete control over shifting anyway, what exactly is the purpose of Sport mode?

Also, any general experience(advantages/disadvantages, opinions on the 3 modes) regarding the steptronic for those who used it long enough appreciated. Those of you still going through break-in period, do not bother.
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      10-24-2005, 08:09 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lux.sh
So here is my question. MS mode gives you complete control over shifting anyway, what exactly is the purpose of Sport mode?

Also, any general experience(advantages/disadvantages, opinions on the 3 modes) regarding the steptronic for those who used it long enough appreciated. Those of you still going through break-in period, do not bother.
1) MS mode does not give you COMPLETE control. If you overrev/underrev the engine will still change gears even if you don't. The car will not allow itself to be damaged.

2) DS mode vs MS mode: Some people don't see a point in pushing the shifting knob around given #1 above. Some people aren't comfortable manually shifting. Some people feel that DS is more than sufficient.

3) If you really want all that much control, get a manual. DS is for we people who don't want the 'headache' of a manual but still want the performance (or as close as we can get) of a manual.

So, really the question is: Why would anyone bother with MS instead of DS except in special conditions (I can think of a few reasons to want to put it into low or 2nd gear, much like any automatic lets you do that).
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      10-24-2005, 08:31 AM   #3
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For cruising I use "D".

As I approach curvy/hilly areas, I engage DS. That biases the gear change points.

Manual mode is good for holding speed on downhill stretches, for the stoplight derbys (since both D and DS start in 2nd) and for, well, choosing gear changes myself

The fact that I don't get total control and am not allowed to over-rev is, to me, an advantage. So I won't end up with a motor that looks like the attached images (just kidding)

The alleged story behind the photos - someone rented a car in Budapest from the rental company SIXT, a Citroen C4.

She drove with the car form Budapest to Pécs (approx. 220km), but only in the 1st gear, she thought it was an automatic gear shift!!!!
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      10-24-2005, 11:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iDrive-E90

The alleged story behind the photos - someone rented a car in Budapest from the rental company SIXT, a Citroen C4.

She drove with the car form Budapest to Pécs (approx. 220km), but only in the 1st gear, she thought it was an automatic gear shift!!!!
lol
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      10-24-2005, 07:32 PM   #5
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HAHAHAHA!!!
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      10-24-2005, 08:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lux.sh
So here is my question. MS mode gives you complete control over shifting anyway, what exactly is the purpose of Sport mode?
It's great for high speed chases when you need one hand for your gun and one for the wheel.

Seriously though, I only use MS on curvy back roads or the PCH (because you can downshift). DS is better suited for fast takeoffs or passing people on the highway.
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      10-24-2005, 08:45 PM   #7
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My driving style tends to have me leave the car in D mode for suburban stop start traffic as I do not rush my drives. I just stay in my lane and ENJOY my drive to wherever I am going. If anyone wants to pass me, they can easily do so.

I use DS mode when it comes to curvy cross country roads, letting the transmission make the decisions which are correct I might add, so I can concentrate on driving the car and maybe even enjoy the view, changing to D mode when the road straightens out for a while. I use M mode hill climbing up the mountains.

I hope this helps you.
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      10-24-2005, 09:40 PM   #8
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for me this is the way i have been using my Steptronic tranny.

1. D_MODE - I usually start my day from my garage in D-mode, to the main neighborhood street, and lights, drinking my coffee, easy driving, no cares, on my way to the Parkway (beltway,Hway)

2. D/DS_MODE - Im usually still in D-mode doing speed limit at my initial first miles on the Hway/Beltway. As the traffic lightens up, I would normally Cock-and-Load my baby, by slapping the stickshift to the left (DS-Mode).

Im armed and ready to execute. Normally, at this point(DS_MODE), Im a little over the speed limit, either setting the trend or pacing the already fast traffic trend. But still comfortable speeding drive.

Im ready to get challenge at this point (DS-mode)

3. M-Mode - I guess this is manual mode, from the posting here. While in DS_mode Im waiting for an opportunity or a challenge. Soon, as Im challenged or an opportunity to speed, I would SLAP the stick from DS-mode to M-mode, I would normally downshift to provide me more torque.

Usually that will put me down to 4th and just watch my rpms, until i shift up to 5th again. Or, maybe down shift to 3rd for curves, engine brakes etc.

I make sure that my radio is off, windows ups, sunroof closed, A/C off, and i dont carry a heavy load when i speedup at m-mode.
I do this as safe as possible, when traffic permits and weather is good.

After I get the urges out of my system, I could slap the stick back to D-mode and sit on my throne, and hope that I show them that I am their daddy, until a bigger daddy show me their toys.

Im new to this thing, and Im not a racer, but just your average joe, enjoying life simple pleasures. I wish to learn more from others on the ways to be more effective driver on a E90.

Last edited by ase2dais; 10-25-2005 at 08:23 AM.
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      10-25-2005, 06:56 PM   #9
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for me...i'd use DS for canyons/curvy roads. no need to push the shifter up and down so i can concentrate on taking the car in and out of turns
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      10-25-2005, 09:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theclay
It's great for high speed chases when you need one hand for your gun and one for the wheel.
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      11-02-2005, 05:42 PM   #11
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lol. Great posts guys. I enjoyed reading all of them.

After reading this, I carefully examined DS mode and Regular D mode. I still didn't get a chance to "enjoy" it yet, since my car only has 700 miles now.

I noticed DS mode seems to be more "gas pedal sensitive".
Ex. You press the gas pedal until about 50% throttle. In D mode, it will not downshift. In DS mode, it does downshift, and its ready to get into higher rpm range.

One last question though, did anyone notice if there is a difference in up-shifting "lag/delay"(faster/slower) when using DS mode and M mode? Ex. Wide open throttle(100%, gas pedal all the way in), you redline 2nd gear, the tranny upshifts to 3rd by itself(DS mode) vs you redline 2nd gear, and manually upshift to 3rd(M Mode).
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      11-02-2005, 06:07 PM   #12
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someone has to ask a stupid question, so let it be me. Can you change transmission mode while the vehicle is in motion or you could only do it when the car is in a complete stop.
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      11-02-2005, 06:11 PM   #13
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^ haha even I know that one.

You mean from D-mode to DS or M mode while your car is in motion?
Yes, anytime.
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      11-02-2005, 07:09 PM   #14
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Interesting to see that no one drives in manual mode of the steptronic transmission. This is how I drive:
D mode – first, probably, 1500 miles. During this time I tried sometimes DS mode and was actively seeking answer to the question you asked in you original post – what the hell is the difference and how to use each mode.
M mode – starting approximately 1500 miles and up to now. Ones I tried and got a feel of manual mode of the steptronic I love it very much and use it 100% be it city or highway driving. No, I do not boil my engine, I do not go even close to redline, and I am not a racer. But at the same time I love the feel of control that manual mode of steptronic gives me. Yes, I understand that it is not the same as real manual transmission. But what it gives me is enough and I like it.
Usually start from 1, upshift at about 1700 –2000 rpms. Then trying to upshift at about 2800 – 3100 rpms. I found it that upshifting at those rpms is the most pleasant and smooth. Sometime I might forget that I am in manual mode and it goes to 4000 rps or a bit more and by the sound of the engine I realize that I forgot to upshift. I downshift when I need to pass the car and I need power boost that I know I will not get by simply pressing the accelerator pedal (E90 is not G35). I also downshift when I need more stability, like before entering a curve and other drivers just turn their heads and probably asking themselves a question: how the hell he can pull this curve at 80 mph
So, eventhough I understand that manual mode is not the same as real manual transmission – I still like the level of control I have and I enjoy using it in this mode always.
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      11-02-2005, 08:10 PM   #15
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the music is just another level at 7000rpm, give it a try sometimes
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      11-02-2005, 10:25 PM   #16
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mishenka, you make me want to use the M mode.

and as far as the "high rpm music", I try not to listen to it. For now, I keep the cd player loud so I can't hear the engine noise. Why? Because I know once I listen to it, I would want to do it everyday... and I gotta stay away from that for at least another 700 miles.
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      11-02-2005, 11:18 PM   #17
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We all seem to be thoroughly enjoying our step shifting, whichever way we use it. It's great!!
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