BMW M5 Forum and M6 Forums banner

1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
If you were buying your car today, which gearbox would you choose? And why?

For your choice, what concerns would you have?

What mileage or age would you consider safe or dangerous?

What service or repairs would you look for?

Any help or discussion would help me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
I should add that I probably won’t drive more than a few thousand miles a year. That and I would like to preserve future values. I would like to get away with lower maintenance costs or repairs if possible. Though please feel free to let me know what these cars are going to cost me!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
For what it's worth, I would never buy another SMG again ever, even if it was half the cost of a manual.
If I had the choice to have a manual M6, I'd rate it as among the best package drivers cars I've ever owned or driven.
As it is, with the SMG, as good as the box is intended to be, it's a fancy nightmare. Over complicated, over thought, over engineered and underwhelming box of risks.
Things to check include:
The whole transmission, everything attached to the transmission, the wiring, the relays, the harnesses, the mounts and connectors, the ECU for the transmission.
To list the potential friction points:
The actuator pump fails (low pressure), the clutch solenoid, the reservoir block cracks, the clutch position sensor fails, the wiring harness between the actuator sensors and the relays fails (wire shrouds fall apart), the ECU gets corroded and fails, the actuators can stick, the harness connectors are prone to leak and corrode, the control relay fails, the clutch assembly will have different components fail at different times and any fault in any of these components likely produces one of only about 3-5 codes, meaning all must be checked. When you do get it all together, you'll need to run clutch adaptations 15000 times to get it to work, then bleed the pump another 10000 times, then replace a few more bits you missed, and then relearn the car again. And if it does go wrong, it can wear the diff out too. To have a dealership diagnose it for you, now that there are none with a warranty left, they'll suggest simply playing whack-a-mole to replace components (average price >$1000 each) until your problem goes away, until it comes back.

Or, you could have 6 speed manual and replace the clutch occasionally. And nothing will ever go wrong. And you have control over your car.
Food for thought.

My evidence? Type SMG in the search for this forum (all of them) and compare the number of posts where people talk about how reliable their SMG is (zero) to subjects such as 'Red Cog of Death' etc etc (all of them). The fact that anyone persists with championing the SMGIII gearbox is testament to stubbornness and the lack of a choice. And no, you can't convert SMG to manual, nor can you convert to DSC that anyone can reliably prove. There are experts on here that know all about these boxes and are a great help and source of information, but why give yourself the headache?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
6-speed all day, hands down. They are not as fast as the SMG, but as these cars age I think the reason to own one is to enjoy it for what it is/was - a completely unreasonable and insane GT car that makes some of the best noises known to man. It is almost certain that there is not going to be another 500+hp V10 6-speed coupe produced ever again. If you are worried about being 2/10ths faster to 60, you're looking at the wrong car all together. Between the increased maintenance of the SMG (outlined above and all over the internet) and the inevitable rise in value of the 6-speeds in the upcoming years (already happening) I do not see a reason to opt for an SMG example if there is an opportunity to pick up a manual.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
176 Posts
I would buy the SMG again. Been driving manuals all my life, my current daily is a Mini Cooper is a manual and the M6 is a weekend toy.

I love that it's a true sequential gearbox and appreciate the technology. Also have empathy for it in stop & go traffic lol

The car was designed and intended to have a SMG so I'm driving it as the it was designed to be is what I like to think.

Now, I've never driven a manual e60/e63 and I'm pretty sure it's great and do understand everyone's worry about reliability and maintenance of the SMG vs Manuals. But would still choose the SMG.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,959 Posts
My bias opinion from a diehard 6MT owner with 8+ years and 130,000+ miles of tracking and daily driving, find the m5/m6 with the most amount of service history. Miles, year, and transmission matter less with these cars. What matters is the previous owners preventive and elective maintenance history. Used s85s are a nightmare, with lots of clapped out SMG and 6MT examples for sale; meanwhile, the best examples of both rarely trade hands. What is nice, is the renewed interest from enthusiast starting to give these cars a fresh new life.

For me, I went with a 6MT and a 3.91. A 6 speed is like a mechanical COSC certified Swiss watch. My iPhone and GShock keep better time than my Swiss watches, but I’m not about to dump any of my mechanical watches. A good mechanical watch may be surpassed by technology, but will never be out dated by technology. In fact, they are going up in value, even though they have been surpassed by technology.

SMG was developed from “F1” technology that pre-dates the original iPhone. Look where we are with the evolution of the iPhone today. It would be laughable for someone to use an original iPhone today.
6661776C-1976-46A0-A79D-EDE1C32C5D7B.jpeg



And yes, the SMG may SHIFT faster and make the CAR faster, but may not make the DRIVER faster. I have beat multiple SMGs around a circuit because I know the line. A slow SMG driver on track, is still a slow driver with a “faster” SMG.

In a straight line, on an airstrip, a 6MT 3.91 can be faster than a SMG. This is me against an SMG. I was on a basic Dinan tune v. Evolve tune. The only SMG beating me that day was running race gas, and I was on 91 pump gas.


Early reports of 6MTs overheating at the track is something I’ve never experienced. It really makes me wonder if some of these owners really knew how to drive the 6MT. Chasing down a 964 CS racecar on slicks,


Also, it’s unlikely for a 6MT to leave you stranded. I had my clutch go out on me after 130,000 miles on thanksgiving weekend, driving home from Northern CA. No big deal, had to drive the last 180 miles home without use of my third pedal. A SMG would’ve left us on the waiting for a flatbed.

For me, I’m glad I went with a 6MT.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
1,743 Posts
@SonofKrypton must be having a bad day lol... Yes these cars do require high maintenance, but can be a bargain in the hands of a capable DIYer. And also be quite reliable given proper preventative maintenance. See @Fiftytwoeighty example above.

Original owners able to afford the 100K list price probably didn't care much about maintenance costs or simply took advantage of the warranty. Nowadays owners that paid 20K-ish (if that!) will freak out when they get a 5-10K bill for a new SMG unit. Rod bearings, TAs, IAs, etc. you're looking at least 2-3K each occurrence. And this is not a complete list by any means. There are ways to save a lot of money if you can DIY and are willing to do PM instead of waiting until stuff fails.

As a DIYer this has been a super reliable car for me (!). And it hasn't been crazy expensive either. Most if not all issues are well documented in this forum. Spending a few days in this forum will make you aware of most issues.

SMGs are often misunderstood. And finding a dealer/indy that knows how to work on them will be difficult. Most prefer the replace the whole unit approach, but that will run you 10K or so. Mine's been reliable. To be fair it left me stranded once, but I knew exactly what was wrong with it and waited for over a year (on purpose) for it to give up.

To answer your questions, I'd go with SMG. I grew up using nothing but manual cars and still would go with an SMG. I used to race motorcycles and the SMG just feels natural to me. I also share @Fiftytwoeighty thoughts on being all about previous owners maintenance. Some of us enjoy working in cars and prefer the project route (like I did). It'll be hard to find a car with all issues sorted out: those are not for sale. As a generic rule of thumb the only car I wouldn't consider is one with issues or not running: you don't know what you're getting into. IF everything is running fine then it's a matter of maintenance (get those bearings done asap).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Looking at and for cars is scary proposition. Hard to tell one to another when everything done these days is over the internet. I screwed up yesterday. I was 3 minutes late with a deposit and missed out on a unicorn - a 9k mile one owner 6mt 2010 convertible. Now I'm kicking myself.

I hear both sides of the story. SMG designed for the car and V10. 6mt from the V8 M5 perhaps not quite the best match. But I come from a long history of manual trans M cars. There are tons of SMG cars available. Not so much with the 6spd cars. It's one of those I don't know. Of course for me, I've never driven or been driven in one of these cars yet. Hoping to this afternoon. Well got to leave for my test drive.

Thanks for all of the replies. Keep them coming if you don't mind. Dennis
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
176 Posts
@Fiftytwoeighty the iPhone comparo is not fair! lol

When I first drove the SMG (like 6 months ago) I was blown away. After driving manuals all my life, it felt like I hired a butler to press the clutch pedal for me. All the things people complained(read about online) on how clunky and slow the SMG was didn't bother me. Because driving a real manual can be the same, I really could appreciate what the SMG unit was trying to do.

I never drive the SMG in AUTO mode.

So maybe you if you've experienced newer cars with DCT and latest and greatest (and let's be honest, not everyone has the luxury of doing so) the SMG is still a great IMO.

But I'm with you on the reliability of a true manual, there is nothing like shifting your own gears, controlling the car with the clutch pedal.

This is becoming a great thread, good one Dennis!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
176 Posts
On a side note, I always thought that the E9x M3 had the same SMG but looks like they got a DCT? Now why didn't BMW put this on the M5/6??

Or is it SMG III on ours and M3 got first ever DCT?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
685 Posts
Woody - using your iPhone comparison, I couldn't find a picture of Alexander Graham Bell's first phone to illustrate where we have come since the manual trans was introduced :p.... to be fair, I didn't even look.

I have the SMG and am fine with it. Will replace the pump when it goes out, etc. etc.

If I could find an Interlagos Blue '09 or '10 with either trans and lower miles, I would sell mine for that. I have more fun in manuals and the value is holding better due to the rarity and guys like Woody LOL but the SMG can be a blast as well.

Good luck with your search.

🍻

Jim

PS - I hate the new emojis overall! They must be SMG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,959 Posts
Woody - using your iPhone comparison, I couldn't find a picture of Alexander Graham Bell's first phone to illustrate where we have come since the manual trans was introduced :p.... to be fair, I didn't even look.

I have the SMG and am fine with it. Will replace the pump when it goes out, etc. etc.

If I could find an Interlagos Blue '09 or '10 with either trans and lower miles, I would sell mine for that. I have more fun in manuals and the value is holding better due to the rarity and guys like Woody LOL but the SMG can be a blast as well.

Good luck with your search.

🍻

Jim

PS - I hate the new emojis overall! They must be SMG
Love it Jim!!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
I really don’t mind the SMG, I’m just scared of all the problems with it... I think if I end up with a huge repair for it I’ll manual swap the M5. I have a shop who specializes in M cars and they will do it. They even asked if I’d be down
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
ZacMez, you didn't seem to finish your thought. I haven't heard about doing a 6spd swap in these cars. I didn't think it was possible with all the electronics involved. That or the cost would be prohibitive. Can you provide more information about this swap option?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
190 Posts
There have been several SMG to 6 sp manual swaps done on the M5. I don't know if there have been any done on the M6 but architecturally they are identical to the M5. There is some coding that needs to be done, transmission wire harness swap, some connector repinning, driveshaft swap, and addition of pedals. Easier said than done but absolutely do able.

Since you are looking for (longer term?) collectibility, stick with the 6 speed manual, they are far more rare and that will be the far more determinative factor than mileage. You'll also save alot on maintenance. I think prices are near or nearing bottom for M5s but M6 prices are still abit high. The general consensus also is that the M6's styling is, um, shall we say, unique. I much prefer the M5's lines. The M6 also just does not have the heritage that the M3 and M5 have, that counts alot in future collectibility. That said, the 1M didn't have any heritage either and prices have never depreciated from day 1. It was limited production, styling was well received, and in a decent price range.

I'd say the M6 is like the much maligned Porsche 996. The headlight thing just really doesn't look right. Mechanically though, many people feel it is more agile and raw than the 997. It will take a while but some of the rare 996 models will appreciate nicely.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
I’m sorry Dennis.. I meant that my shop actually asked me if I would be down the let them do the swap when I’m ready. They have done tons of M3s they said and would like to do an M5. It’s definitely possible.. first time I saw someone who had it down was on YouTube. The only reason I would do it is if a time comes where the transmission blows up or the entire SMG unit is destroyed which would mean a hefty bill. I would rather swap it manual than get another SMG just to deal with those potential problems all over again. But until then, I love the Smg. I am just paranoid. Especially since I might have to rebuild the pump due to 4F40 code..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
190 Posts
Just to put it out there, preserving the value for long term collectibility basically means you can't do much if anything in terms of modifications. I think a SMG car converted to 6sp manual will be viewed as a non-original and have a lower value than an original 6 speed manual. Now if there were only 20 ever built and 8 are left and yours was converted then certainly it's going to be worth alot, but that's vintage Ferrari talk and this is not going to happen with the M6. But a Z8 Alpina on the other hand...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Totally agree.. I wouldn’t swap it to try to up the value.. I just want it to last as long as possible, with out pouring money into fixing the Smg all the time, and if that means swapping it, then I will swap it. I’ve read all over the forum if you take SMG out of the picture that eliminates half the issues of the S85 set up.. either way I like the Smg like I said, just don’t want to waste money when the time comes to fix the trans
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top