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BMW M3 convertible--Driver's log - AutoWeek Magazine

MOTORSPORTS EDITOR MAC MORRISON: I would not opt for the convertible, as the car is still plagued by the shakiness of the standard 3-series drop-top. Plus, while the folding hardtop looks better than a cloth roof, the car loses its badass profile. And look at that curb weight! This weighs almost as much as a Mercedes SL. It’s a good thing the engine is so potent and the chassis so well sorted, but that number is insane for what is intended to be one of the world’s most nimble corner carvers.

The real story here, though, is the dual-clutch gearbox. Compared with the steaming disaster known as SMG in the old M3, this may as well be alien technology from Nebulon 12. With the shift speed dialed to the max and a heavy foot, the gear engagement is still brutal, with the tires chirping when you snap the right-hand paddle to shift from first to second. But you can soften that by lifting between shifts or by dialing back the shift speed with the associated switch. When you do so, the gearbox shifts smoothly and predictably in both manual and automatic modes. The engineers made a huge step here, and this system is up there with the market’s best, giving buyers a legitimate alternative to the six-speed manual.
 
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