BMW M5 Forum and M6 Forums banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,294 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Now that the E60 M5 has been in the hands of owners for several months, I wanted to get opinions on SMG--from those who actually own the car and drive it on a daily basis. With BMW NA formally announcing that a 6 speed manual trans will be available September 2006, I'm trying to get as much real owner input to assist me in my decision on which trans to get.

My first car in high school was a stick, and I've driven manual trans cars for 30 years, with a few auto trans sport sedans thrown in along the way. I enjoy the driver involvement of a manual trans, and I don't intend to use SMG in auto mode as a substitute for an auto trans. I also realize that one day people will say "so back then you actually had to use your left foot to shift gears?"

I'm looking for opinions on the M5 SMG, positive and negative. How is the driver involvement compared to a stick? What about the criticism that the shifts, even in manual mode, are jerky? I assuming there's a bit of a learning curve--how long should one expect? Any and all perspectives from those who own the E60 M5 are welcome. Thanks for the feedback.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
162 Posts
Re: SMG Opinions--from M5 owners!

SMG - well I find that when I'm pushing the car - consciously trying to go fast I love the SMG. But my other car is a Tiptronic 911 so I'm conditioned to the mechanics of using buttons and paddles. However in heavy traffic I sometimes find the SMG irritating and compared to the 911 box auto mode is just not as smooth. Smooth changes, well the key seems to be that you need to learn how the SMG operates, as with all the modes you can think you've have it nailed - then you decide to try another mode and suddenly you not as smooth - I would try and get a nice long test drive away from traffic and give the SMG a good work out, and use that to help you decide.As the SMG may just not suit you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,294 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Re: SMG Opinions--from M5 owners!

m5-black said:
SMG - well I find that when I'm pushing the car - consciously trying to go fast I love the SMG. But my other car is a Tiptronic 911 so I'm conditioned to the mechanics of using buttons and paddles. However in heavy traffic I sometimes find the SMG irritating and compared to the 911 box auto mode is just not as smooth. Smooth changes, well the key seems to be that you need to learn how the SMG operates, as with all the modes you can think you've have it nailed - then you decide to try another mode and suddenly you not as smooth - I would try and get a nice long test drive away from traffic and give the SMG a good work out, and use that to help you decide.As the SMG may just not suit you.
Appreciate the feedback. As far as a test drive--there's no such thing on these cars in the US! That's why I'm trying to get as much feedback from owners as possible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
162 Posts
No test drives in the US I've always wondered about that seems quite common over there to buy a new model - without ever driving it. I drove a demo M5 three times before I committed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,679 Posts
m5-black said:
No test drives in the US I've always wondered about that seems quite common over there to buy a new model - without ever driving it. I drove a demo M5 three times before I committed.
I bought my E39 M5 (#6 on the list back in '99) without ever having driven one. I only saw one example on the show car circuit--at the Petit leMans at Road Atlanta. Of course, I owned an E39 540i/6 for two years prior, so I was at least familiar with the package.

We in the States always seem to get our M cars delayed a good year or so after the fatherland. As a result, all the world press has generated high levels of interest and acclaim, so the list starts early. For example, I'm #5 on my dealer's list for the E60 M5, and I put my deposit down in April 2002. So behind the dealer principal (owner), there were three other saps that were quicker to write cheques than me!

By the time these high-demand vehicles land in the US, they're all spoken for, and there are absolutely no demos to be found. Even if a dealer has an unsold example available, I've never heard of one willing to let someone take it for a drive once--let alone three times!

Consider yourself fortunate in that regard. Thanks for sharing your first-hand impressions of SMG-III. I, too, am in a quandary about whether to wait for the 6M.

-Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
My M5 now has about 1400 miles on her so am now really beginning to 'explore' :M5rev: . I also have an X5 4.8is with an Auto box and have had SMGII and manual M3's.

My impressions of SMGIII so far are as follows:-

Compared to the D modes on the SMGII M3, the D modes on the M5 are a pretty good substitute for an Auto box. D3 in P400 mode makes pretty predictable changes whist being reasonably smooth and with reasonable pace. I use it a lot more than I ever used D in the M3 though this is probably as a result of having driven the 4.8is so much and having got used to Auto. In start/stop traffic its a godsend.

S modes in P400, even S5, initially seems much slower to change in the M5 than they did in the SMG II M3 but there is a technique to it of slightly lifting off as you pull the paddle and then re-applying throttle as the change occurs that both smooths out the change and seems to make it faster. Get it right and the change is very fast indeed. In P500 mode S5 the changes get much more brutal with powered downshifts giving rise to a window breaking throttle blip and a clunk from the diff. Passengers develop the nodding dog look but boy is it fun. Get it right on your favourite stretch of twisties and the brake, downshift, turn-in, power out is as good as it gets in a four door saloon and every bit as involving as a manual shift, possibly more so as you can time the downshift better without having to resort to any heel and toe stuff.

The combination of a usable Auto mode and a well programmed paddle shift, to my mind, make it pretty near perfect but a lot will depend what you use you car for. Of the two M3's I had, I would take the SMG one every time. SMG does take some learning but to my mind it suits the car very well indeed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,810 Posts
While not version 3, I would recommend spending some time in the M3 with SMG. At least that will give you an idea whether you like the concept at all, which will determine your level of acceptance. If the SMG style system doesn't talk to you, you will probably never like it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
217 Posts
I have not driven the e60 yet - my car is at the dealers and for UK plate reasons i can't drive it till 1 Sept. But I did 30k miles in an e36M3 SMG, version 1, and even that was superb imho. I hate slushbox autos, and normally drive manuals. I found the SMG version 1 to be stunningly good, much better than a manual. When driving fast no one can change gear as fast as that thing did, and it wasn't jerky. When driving slowly you need to corrdinate a little lift-off on the gas to make the changes smooth. I never drove it in auto mode, I always selected gears manually.

BUT it got bad press and that's cos you need a long while to grow to love it, yet the journos only had the car a couple of days. I remember hating it for several weeks, then after a few months I was totally in love with it. It takes a bit of familiarisation but if you put that time in you will really like it.

That was the crude version 1 . Version 3 has got to be loads better and I cant wait till 1 Sept. If you get it, I suggest you reserve judgement and give it some time. Only decide if you like it after a couple of months or few 000's driving
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top