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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In the November 2004 edition of BMWCar Mr. Laban discusses the new M5 and how it relates to his current daily driver, an RS6 Avant. He says he thinks the new M5 is a great car but he takes SMG to task. Heres a quote:

But I still don't believe SMG delivers. It's functionally more efficient than a torque-converter automatic, but unless you help out by feathering the throttle as you shift, it's a thumper - no other word for it. And if you have to make your own inputs to smooth the shift, it's not as automatic as it should be, is it? Instead of having eleven different modes, they should have concentrated on one that works smoothly - on its own. As for Launch Control, it's ridiculously brutal, and totally irrelevant to anyone except the true hooligan - and, of course, the marketing man...... the M5 is basically brilliant, but it didn't know where to stop - and that's a real art.
Without having the benefit of actually driving the car, I agree with the sentiments he's expressing.

BMWCar is a good magazine for BMW fans and one of my favourite (in honour of the UK spelling ;) parts of it is the Perspective column- go grab a copy!
 

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Not sure I wanted my CSL SMG to be as smooth as an automatic. Part of the enjoyment was to be able to either drive it aggressively or tone it down in S3 and feather the throttle to smooth the changes out. In the same way as perfecting manual changes you do become accustomed to driving smoothly with SMG. Trouble with tester like Mr Laban is he doesnt get enough time to learn the system and therefore he doesnt learn how to get the most out of it or to drive it smoothly. Must admit my wife didnt enjoy it especially in S5 mode!!!!
 

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I would also guess that if he usually drives an RS6 he would expect the paddle changes to be as smooth as his auto, so getting used to it being part manual might be fustrating. But as John rightly pointed out auto smoothness is not what the SMG box was designed for, there is a human requirement to allow the changes to be smooth, but brutally fast changes when required. Something the auto couldn't offer with the torque converter setup.

Has anyone ever asked for a manual E55 or RS6? Or have any of the reviews ever said the choice is missing? I think this manual, SMG, auto debate only relates to the M5 as it is compared to so many classes of cars. Would anyone ever put a 911 against an E55 for comparison?

I also agree we really can't pass judgement until we have driven the new SMGIII. There are people that will like it and people who don't like it and that’s what makes the world a fun place full of opinions and choice, well unless you don't want the SMGIII in the M5 :p

Sacha...
 

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Well, I see the upside on SMG in terms of performance, but I have to point out that if it takes that much work to make it smooth when you are out for a night on the town with the wife, it seems like it is no better than a traditional manual. For track work it might be the best, but day to day around town, it is not even automatic and not enough manual.
 

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SMG might a new system to many, and if so they need to give it time to understand it and be able to smooth it (work the system). How many of us were able to "instantly" deliver smooth manual shifts when we sat behind the wheel for the first time?
 

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Oh my God I have to lift my right foot up for a split second when I shift if I want it to be smooth holy cow I've never had to deal with this before in my life and ruins the M5.

P.S.: :3: Give me a break.
 

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Stop it! What are we pussies or men!? I mean can't we live with a little thump in the back? I thought we want power, not plushness. Come on...
grrrrrrr
BTW, there's also the 760i.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I don't know about you- but I don't want a thump in my backside! ;)

Boy oh boy, didn't mean to upset the SMGKart. Just giving a differing point of view that's out there in print.

Speaking of the 760, there's a very nice write up on that car in the same edition of the magazine. In short, they love it (Li model).
 

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MEnthusiast said:
I don't know about you- but I don't want a thump in my backside! ;)

Boy oh boy, didn't mean to upset the SMGKart. Just giving a differing point of view that's out there in print.

Speaking of the 760, there's a very nice write up on that car in the same edition of the magazine. In short, they love it (Li model).
Maybe it is a good idea to wait a couple of years for BMW to sort out this hiccups on E60's SMG.

Any test comparison between Alpina's B7 and 760?
 

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MEnthusiast said:
I don't know about you- but I don't want a thump in my backside! ;)

Boy oh boy, didn't mean to upset the SMGKart. Just giving a differing point of view that's out there in print.

Speaking of the 760, there's a very nice write up on that car in the same edition of the magazine. In short, they love it (Li model).
Well here is the way it is, all whining aside. E60 M5 is arriving with SMG III. Period. if you do not like it tough s..t!

simmikie
 

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vndkshn said:
Well, I see the upside on SMG in terms of performance, but I have to point out that if it takes that much work to make it smooth when you are out for a night on the town with the wife, it seems like it is no better than a traditional manual. For track work it might be the best, but day to day around town, it is not even automatic and not enough manual.
probably it will be a 2nd nature by the time you get used to it, same thing with how you learn how to take off smoothly with a manual transmission.
 

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JESawyer said:
Oh my God I have to lift my right foot up for a split second when I shift if I want it to be smooth holy cow I've never had to deal with this before in my life and ruins the M5.

P.S.: :3: Give me a break.
well, it's not like you dump the clutch every single time when you shift in a manual car, so I am pretty sure it will be a 2nd nature thing once you get used to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
simmikie said:
Well here is the way it is, all whining aside. E60 M5 is arriving with SMG III. Period. if you do not like it tough s..t!

simmikie
Yes, thats true.

But remember, the customer is always right and at the last M5 meet there were several current and former M5 owners. Those that were former went to Porsche and those that were current were all saying if the E60 has no manual then they are leaving. Its amazing that its nearly 100% to Porsche.

I think the bottom line for many of us is if we are to drive something as not involving as an automatic, then we might as well get a real automatic. Do you really think you'd notice the power loss from an automatic on the M5? I bet you could not.

Pamilih,
Thank you for the constructive advice. I have not seen any such tests. Unfortunately, getting an Alpina state side is difficult. It was made worse by the botched launch of Alpina in the USA. Now there will be no Alpina in the US.

I believe that as customers share their experiences with BMW on the M5, they will conclude they should have a manual and hence I am waiting. We will see.
 

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MEnthusiast said:
Yes, thats true.

But remember, the customer is always right and at the last M5 meet there were several current and former M5 owners. Those that were former went to Porsche and those that were current were all saying if the E60 has no manual then they are leaving. Its amazing that its nearly 100% to Porsche.

I think the bottom line for many of us is if we are to drive something as not involving as an automatic, then we might as well get a real automatic. Do you really think you'd notice the power loss from an automatic on the M5? I bet you could not.

Pamilih,
Thank you for the constructive advice. I have not seen any such tests. Unfortunately, getting an Alpina state side is difficult. It was made worse by the botched launch of Alpina in the USA. Now there will be no Alpina in the US.

I believe that as customers share their experiences with BMW on the M5, they will conclude they should have a manual and hence I am waiting. We will see.
Again bullshit. The customer is always right, in the customers own mind. Unless the manufacturer acknowledges or agrees that they are wrong, tha little assumption is stuck at the starting gate. SMG III is the transmission of choice for the E60 M5 from your much revered M division. And none of your incesstant, hand wringing self righteous knashing of teeth blubbering, is going to change that. G E T O V E R I T!

:confused3 simmikie
 

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MEnthusiast said:
Pamilih,
Thank you for the constructive advice. I have not seen any such tests. Unfortunately, getting an Alpina state side is difficult. It was made worse by the botched launch of Alpina in the USA. Now there will be no Alpina in the US.

I believe that as customers share their experiences with BMW on the M5, they will conclude they should have a manual and hence I am waiting. We will see.
AMG doesn't offer manual because they said that the gigantic torque will fry manual clutches. But Porsche still does. So you are right that M5 will have to be available with manual.

Do you know that Porsche 911's manual transmission is linked through a cable (you know that sort of cable like in your bicycle's brakes) just like the old VW Beetle? Amazing how they hone the same basic design for 40 years. A friend let me test drive his 911 Turbo manual, oh my God what a smooth short throw manual.
 

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MEnthusiast said:
In the November 2004 edition of BMWCar Mr. Laban discusses the new M5 and how it relates to his current daily driver, an RS6 Avant. He says he thinks the new M5 is a great car but he takes SMG to task. Heres a quote:



Without having the benefit of actually driving the car, I agree with the sentiments he's expressing.

BMWCar is a good magazine for BMW fans and one of my favourite (in honour of the UK spelling ;) parts of it is the Perspective column- go grab a copy!
To quote the man that has driven the E60 M5 SMG, Steve Dinan, who in my mind is the preeminent U. S. BMW tuner, ". . .if you've driven an SMG-equipped BMW and decided you don't like it - or if you have never driven one - then drive the new M5. ... Their [Getrag and M] work has been rewarded with the smoothest, slickest shifting system I have ever driven. Sixty-five milli-seconds per shift -- but it's not just the speed that is impressive. The system no longer bobs your head back and forth while shifting at light-load, part-throttle driving. The gearbox and drive-by-wire system are matched perfectly, providing silky-smooth up-shifts. The rpm is also matched perfectly on downshifts - better than the best heel-and-toe technique used by the most experienced driver."

We, BMW Car Club of America, sent Steve Dinan as our representative to the official press introduction of the E60 M5. His write-up, from which I quoted, is included in the November issue of our club magazine, Roundel. Steve knows BMWs so well that in the U. S. Dinan modified cars are still covered by the factory (U. S.) warranty. Dinan Engineering warranties their own parts but BMW NA will honor the warranty on all other parts -- even though the car has been modified with non-BMW parts. I trust his views.

Louis
BMW CCA Treasurer
2000 M5
 

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Louis said:
To quote the man that has driven the E60 M5 SMG, Steve Dinan, who in my mind is the preeminent U. S. BMW tuner, ". . .if you've driven an SMG-equipped BMW and decided you don't like it - or if you have never driven one - then drive the new M5. ... Their [Getrag and M] work has been rewarded with the smoothest, slickest shifting system I have ever driven. Sixty-five milli-seconds per shift -- but it's not just the speed that is impressive. The system no longer bobs your head back and forth while shifting at light-load, part-throttle driving. The gearbox and drive-by-wire system are matched perfectly, providing silky-smooth up-shifts. The rpm is also matched perfectly on downshifts - better than the best heel-and-toe technique used by the most experienced driver."

We, BMW Car Club of America, sent Steve Dinan as our representative to the official press introduction of the E60 M5. His write-up, from which I quoted, is included in the November issue of our club magazine, Roundel. Steve knows BMWs so well that in the U. S. Dinan modified cars are still covered by the factory (U. S.) warranty. Dinan Engineering warranties their own parts but BMW NA will honor the warranty on all other parts -- even though the car has been modified with non-BMW parts. I trust his views.

Louis
BMW CCA Treasurer
2000 M5
I agree Steve Dinan, is a serious BMW proponent, and more importantly a knowledgeable enthusiast. I think those of us who have not driven SMG III, but are willing to give it a chance or are actually anticipating it, are in for a treat, which Steve alluded to.

:cheers: simmikie
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Hi Louis,
Thank you for your post. I’m a fellow CCA member (since 2000). I really enjoy being a member and I especially enjoy Roundel. It has been a rare month where Roundel is not my most read car magazine, never-mind my favorite dedicated BMW magazine.

In response to what you wrote, I want to highlight that I took the pertinent parts of a text that appears in another BMW centric magazine from the UK: BMWCar. I look forward to each month’s “Perspective” column because it highlights a BMW competitor; the aim is to see how it stacks up. It’s an interesting contrast to the usually very pro-BMW articles that tend to populate these magazines. I find they do a good job of trying to take off the BMW centric glasses to show alternatives.

Brian Laban who says he has driven the E60 M5 wrote the Perspective column I quoted from. I did so because I think his opinion is legitimate and since his comments appear in a UK magazine people in the USA (or other nations) might not see them.

As is noted in every edition, Roundel is the publication of a group of dedicated enthusiasts and the CCA has no formal affiliation with BMW. I usually take the information published in Roundel seriously because of this. For example, in other magazines I sometimes see press releases masquerading as articles, or articles that rely heavily on the company press releases and therefore do not convey what driving the car is really like.

I was both excited and a little disappointed to see that Steve Dinan reviewied the E60 M5. I was excited that it was Steve Dinan, a real BMW fan, writing an article. I was disappointed that it was Steve Dinan, businessman, writing an article.

While I enjoyed reading the article, I question the editorial decision to allow someone whose core business is so directly tied to the product to review that product. I see a conflict of interest; or at least a potential conflict of interest. Are we getting a review from a manufacturer of parts and modifications for BMWs (hence his livelihood depends on the sales of BMWs to modify) or a review from a real BMW nut, or perhaps a bit of both? Can Steve Dinan put his interests as a businessman on the side and write a purely enthuisiast review? Is it fair to ask him to do that? I think it would be nearly impossible for most people. As you pointed out, he is so tightly integrated with BMW NA that many warranty items are handled seamlessly for the customer.

In the end I give Steve Dinan’s appraisal of the E60 M5 a lot of credit because it comes from Steve Dinan, a real BMW enthusiast; but I also do not take it as gospel, recognizing that it comes from Steve Dinan, the businessman whose line up right next to BMW.

I think Brian Laban’s opinion is just as valid and does not have the apparent conflict of interest that the one proffered by Steve Dinan.

My opinion of SMG2 is that for street use, it is less engaging that a stick shift, and yet, less smooth/easy to use than an automatic. It does not seem possible to address my first issue with any clutchless system (SMG3) and as to the second, it seems that is still open for discussion. JMHO.
 

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I trust Dinan for a review of the existing product up to the point where there is a discussion for the need/desire for upgraded components and features.

Tom
 
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