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      09-30-2005, 02:55 AM   #1
lux.sh
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6-Spd Steptronic Owners. Share your thoughts.

So what are some postives and negatives?

My previous 02 accord v6(4spd auto) had alot of lag. It just wasn't
performance oriented auto tranny.

How do you guys like the 6spd steptronic on these BMWs?

I used my girlfriend's mini cooper 6spd steptronic(isn't it the same tranny?)
and I wasn't quite impressed. Alot of delay and lag, doesn't shift
fast enough, nor was it smooth.
It was definitely better than honda's auto tranny, but I guess I was expecting too much.

Some have said Steptronic gets MUCH better after break-in period.
Its good after 1000miles, and I heard its even better after 3000miles.

So share your thoughts, and experiences.
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      09-30-2005, 03:06 AM   #2
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Now you got me going!!!

Pros, all that you can think of
Cons, only when I have to switch off the car till next start up time.

Great transmission! I love it!
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      09-30-2005, 03:53 AM   #3
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I am curious as well about the performance of the manual/sport modes. Is sport responsive enough so you don't need to use the manual mode? And how quick are the gear changes when in manual mode? Is it possible for a 325i step. to get manual trans. 0-60 times (6.7) when in these modes?
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      09-30-2005, 06:53 AM   #4
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The only thing I don't like about it is that it waits a second to shift gears after you tell it.

IE - Pull the stick back at 4500 RPMs but it doesn't shift until 5000 RPMs
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      09-30-2005, 06:57 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arcrox
I am curious as well about the performance of the manual/sport modes. Is sport responsive enough so you don't need to use the manual mode? And how quick are the gear changes when in manual mode? Is it possible for a 325i step. to get manual trans. 0-60 times (6.7) when in these modes?
No. A step is an auto tranny so it has a converter, which saps about 10% power from the car. You will only be able to get auto times, even with a step.

Gear shifts vary from immediate to having a second lag. It all depends on where you are in the torque curve and what the engine is doing at the time you are shifting.
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      09-30-2005, 01:23 PM   #6
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Very satisfied with my steptronic 330i. This auto trans is much improved over the E46 generation.
Shifts are faster and the transmission anticipates down shifts very well.
I disagree with any suggestions that this transmission robbs "10%" horsepower; BMW stats say that there is only a 0.2 second difference in 0-60mph acceleration.
If you drive in DS mode or M mode, you will find this transmission has very little lag time.
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      09-30-2005, 02:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 06graphite
Pull the stick back at 4500 RPMs but it doesn't shift until 5000 RPMs
Fix: pull the stick back at 4000 RPM and it will shift at 4500 RPM It's called adaptation, my friend I'm just jibin'.

It's obviously generally accepted that the automatic transmission does indeed mitigate the powertrain - the quantity is a captious issue but it's universally observed. People need to put up dyno sheets to see if there's actually any difference in horsepower, which I doubt.

A manual transmission gives the driver much more perceived power, although in the end it's just 0.3 seconds faster than an auto transmission going 0-60 but then again, 0.3 seconds is still conspicuous to the driver.

Besides the point of speed, which is really a moot issue, most drivers go manual not because of speed but because of lithe control.
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      09-30-2005, 03:52 PM   #8
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The step in the 330I is sublime. The lag is extremely minimal and the response is sharp. Way better than the Audi 3.2!!! I drove both before getting my 330i--NO COMPARISON.
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      09-30-2005, 03:59 PM   #9
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Good to hear some good reviews about steptronic.
Thank you all for giving me good advices. I really appreciate it.

Can anyone confirm whether E90's Steptronic transmission is same as
Mini Cooper's 6spd Steptronic? Only difference is, they have to push the lever
towards the passenger's side to get into manual shifting mode while E90's,
you have to pull it towards you to get into Manual shifting mode.

I just hope it isn't the same transmission. Because if it is, I'll be disappointed.
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      09-30-2005, 04:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soj
No. A step is an auto tranny so it has a converter, which saps about 10% power from the car.
i must respecfully disagree with your assessment of 10% power drain when it comes to the e90's step. do you have conclusive proof such as proper dyno graphs? it would be interesting to see them if you do. may i kindly ask where you obtained the 10% figure?

i cannot comment on on
other cars except for MB C180, my wifes car. also a massive improvement with auto in current (C180K) model compared with previous model's manual transmission! very nice auto. i do not have any comparison experience with other cars though.

you may very well be right in some cases.

returning to the e90, the efficiency of the engine/auto/chassis package is obviously the best that bmw have offered in the 3 series. in a straight line launch test the manual may just best the auto to the line but i would suggest that combined with hills & curves & hairpins etc, the auto will keep up with the manual with very little difference at the finish line.

sure, in the past, the auto sapped power but the 6 speed with valvetronic and other power saving features like electric water pump all help to minimise power drain to the rear wheels.

yes, i chose manual e36 and e46 over autos due to the power drain and wanting a manual car anyway but it is no longer an issue for me in the e90.

what DID drain lots of power from my old 36 & 46 was the air conditioning - in quite a big was. more of a concern that the auto.

thanks.
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      09-30-2005, 04:31 PM   #11
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Well the steptronic definatly has less power (at the wheels) then a manual transmission does, thats true by its very definition ! An atuomatic transmission has a torque converter, and that will rob some power. Almost every single previous generation bmw has shown a dyno difference in power (and you can feel it on the butt-dyno too). But BMW is very nice and thoughtful to steptronic owners, in that they put a more agressive differential on the car so that there is very little difference in the 0-60 times. Not saying the steptronic is bad by any means (i prefer stick shift of course , but the fact is automatics usually put out a little less HP then a 5-speed counterpart because of the torque converter.
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      09-30-2005, 04:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lux.sh
while E90's,
you have to pull it towards you to get into Manual shifting mode.
(
sorry to say so, but you are incorrect. why?

if you drive a right hand drivear like mine, you have to push the step knob away from you towards the passengers side.

however, in the country where you live, it is opposite as you have pointed out.

not a big deal, just letting you know about us rhs drivers.

cheers.
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      09-30-2005, 04:54 PM   #13
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The MINI steptronic transmission operates on the same basic principle but is very different. I am not a fan of automatic transmissions though I currently own one as my wife is hard on clutches. As automatics go, the 6-speed ZF used in the E90 is pretty good except for the platinum priced ATF it requires.
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      09-30-2005, 05:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David325Australia
sorry to say so, but you are incorrect. why?

if you drive a right hand drivear like mine, you have to push the step knob away from you towards the passengers side.

however, in the country where you live, it is opposite as you have pointed out.

not a big deal, just letting you know about us rhs drivers.

cheers.
heheh, I knew RHD will comment on this.
While I was typing, I was saying to myself, "umm.. what about RH drivers?"

but you get the idea.
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      09-30-2005, 10:26 PM   #15
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During the 850 miles I put on my 325 during ED, I found the Steptronic to be superior to any automatic tranny I've ever driven, much better IMO, than Audi/VW's tiptronic.

The only thing I didn't care for was that in manual mode, the upshift and downshift direction were opposite of what I'm used to, and actually seemed counter-intuitive to me.
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      09-30-2005, 11:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lux.sh
heheh, I knew RHD will comment on this.
While I was typing, I was saying to myself, "umm.. what about RH drivers?"

but you get the idea.
Gotcha!!!

I get the idea, sure
Take care
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      10-01-2005, 12:08 AM   #17
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Considering the tiny fraction of one's time actually spent "racing" the car, the auto is a no-brainer for me. I enjoy a stick at times, but the auto performs well with minimal lag in most situations. You can trip it up, but it recovers well and when you're really getting on it it is quite aggressive at holding gears in sport mode. Shifts are smooth and you are free to concentrate on steering and braking. I had a 6 speed 540 and found myself getting distracted from other elements of driving sometimes, but as I get older I am less able to "multitask".

I don't use the automanual feature much, but it seems to be more responsive than that on our Saab 9-3. It still has some lag, I use it only for setting up for a quick pass on a 2 lane road. Otherwise the auto is fine if I pop over to sport mode.

I enjoy the sporting element of the car, I appreciate the unique attributes of the BMW, but I think sometimes guys get too caught up in tiny differences that matter little in real life driving. Nobody wants a pig, but if .2 seconds matters here or there, you probably need to be on a track, not streets with other drivers. I have to restrain myself even with a 325i auto to avoid getting tickets.
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      10-01-2005, 06:16 AM   #18
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I didn't even test drive the manual tranny, because I knew I wouldn't want it. Not because it wouldn't be a major kick in the ass to drive, but because I spend 99% of my driving commuting and about 25% of that time is in very heavy traffic on I-95 (America's busiest freeway). I had a stick in the past and the constant clutching in crawling traffic just isn't worth it.

As autos go, the BMW Steptronic is the smoothest I've ever had. Of course you can always put it into M and pretend you're in control too which is sometimes fun.
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      10-01-2005, 12:54 PM   #19
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David325Australia wrote in part, "...in a straight line launch test the manual may just best the auto to the line but i would suggest that combined with hills & curves & hairpins etc, the auto will keep up with the manual with very little difference at the finish line.

sure, in the past, the auto sapped power but the 6 speed with valvetronic and other power saving features like electric water pump all help to minimise power drain to the rear wheels..."
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
I agree with David in OZ that a trained and experienced driver can likely reach a higher speed and/or quicker time in a drag race in cars that are identical and under identical conditions, except that one car has the steptronic (automatic) transmission and the other a manual transmission. I disagree that the same driver in the same automatic transmission equipped car could match his/her time on a tight road course with the manual transmission, under identical conditions, of course.
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      10-01-2005, 01:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Casey 5
The step in the 330I is sublime. The lag is extremely minimal and the response is sharp. Way better than the Audi 3.2!!! I drove both before getting my 330i--NO COMPARISON.
I agree with you that the BMW step is quite superior to the other cars that I have driven. Being said, on my last test drive of the e90 (I bought a manual but the dealer only had autos on the lot) there was a point in one hairpin turn that I really felt the absence of the manual transmission. It was in auto mode and I let up on the gas for a second, the car shifted down and then I gave it a lot of gas and the car was just not quite where I expected it to be.
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      10-01-2005, 02:35 PM   #21
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PROS: DS is Telepathic!

Cons: "Manual": The "+" and "-" position should be reversed. Shifting could be a little quicker.

But overall, LOVE IT!
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      10-01-2005, 08:24 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David325Australia
i must respecfully disagree with your assessment of 10% power drain when it comes to the e90's step. do you have conclusive proof such as proper dyno graphs? it would be interesting to see them if you do. may i kindly ask where you obtained the 10% figure?

i cannot comment on on
other cars except for MB C180, my wifes car. also a massive improvement with auto in current (C180K) model compared with previous model's manual transmission! very nice auto. i do not have any comparison experience with other cars though.

you may very well be right in some cases.

returning to the e90, the efficiency of the engine/auto/chassis package is obviously the best that bmw have offered in the 3 series. in a straight line launch test the manual may just best the auto to the line but i would suggest that combined with hills & curves & hairpins etc, the auto will keep up with the manual with very little difference at the finish line.

sure, in the past, the auto sapped power but the 6 speed with valvetronic and other power saving features like electric water pump all help to minimise power drain to the rear wheels.

yes, i chose manual e36 and e46 over autos due to the power drain and wanting a manual car anyway but it is no longer an issue for me in the e90.

what DID drain lots of power from my old 36 & 46 was the air conditioning - in quite a big was. more of a concern that the auto.

thanks.
As you would know, there are no published dyno #'s out yet so you aren't really asking for proof. You just want to make yourself feel better for getting the step.

But don't worry, I got the step too. The 10% figure is just an average. Anything that uses a "converter" will result in loss. Period. It's simple mechanics and physics. It's a universal rule and it applies not only in automobile mechanics but also in simpler things like electrical and acoustic sciences.

Published e46 dyno's showed that the e46 generation torque converters sapped somewhere around 8-10% of power, resulting in slower acceleration #'s. Now is the e90 better? Probably. Is it 0? Not mechanically possible.
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