BMW M5 Forum and M6 Forums banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
620 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So the M6 is my first "automatic"

Every car I've owned until now has been a proper manual and in the three weeks I've been driving the car, I just can't help but feel the SMG transmission spoils what would otherwise be a awesome experience.

In D mode, the car shifts like a 16 year old learning to drive. It's clunky and shifts at the wrong time. I feel like I'm going to give myself and any passenger whiplash when decelerating to a stop. In manual shift mode, I control the shifting so it's better, but here it's about the power... Say I'm on the freeway and want to stomp on the gas to accelerate hard. In D mode, I do just this and the car responds beautifully. In a proper manual, I drop into the correct gear by feel and simply floor it. With the SMG in manual mode, I have to first look to see what gear I'm in to calculate how many times to click the downshift lever, then verify the shifts are made before then stomping on the loud pedal.

On the plus side, having fun on a twisty country road is simply a dream.... so I don't want this to sound like it's all bad. Granted, a real manual doesn't spoil the experience of a country road either...

I guess the reason I bring this up is because I was stretching the legs of the M5 yesterday. It was the first sunny day that'd I'd done this since I got my M6 out of the shop and started driving it on a daily basis. Driving the M5 just felt "right"

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's felt like this.... Anyone else? Did you learn to like the SMG? Are there any tips to make it better?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,879 Posts
This car is meant to be driven in S6 with the paddles or shifter. Don't even think about the automatic mode because it is so weak.
Drive the car by the sound of the motor and realize that good things don't happen in any gear before 3-4,000 RPM.
You will have fun-for example: rev the first 4 gears to 8000 rpm and see how fast you are going, and the incredible sound of the motor-you will be a happy man.
Bill
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
620 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
This car is meant to be driven in S6 with the paddles or shifter. Don't even think about the automatic mode because it is so weak.
Drive the car by the sound of the motor and realize that good things don't happen in any gear before 3-4,000 RPM.
You will have fun-for example: rev the first 4 gears to 8000 rpm and see how fast you are going, and the incredible sound of the motor-you will be a happy man.
Bill
Maybe that's part of it. I'm used to a different rev range.

That said can an SMG ever be truly driven by feel? In the M5 the second my hand touches the shifter, muscle memory tells me what gear I'm in and dropping into whatever gear I want is just reflexive. With paddles, how do you get that "feel"? Can you?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
I'm also coming from a 6spd manual and it's still taking me some time to get used to the SMG. I use the HUD (M display) to check my gear and try to get myself around the 5k mark since that's where the power starts coming on strong.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
2,149 Posts
There is a learning curve.. It will take some time to get all the details perfected.. IMHO, SMG bridges the gap from a normal auto and a manual... The driver of a SMG has to work with it to get the shifts smooth and engage first nice, and smooth ( like a manual) compared to a normal auto, just put it in D and go.

I have gotten use to driving the car in auto mode, in mode D4 works best for me otherwise most guys like manual mode in S5 and S6.. Remember to hold the brake when you come to a stop and only release it when you are ready to get on the gas.

Alot of people need to get use to the power band of this motor aswell. In my 335 i had so much tq down low, and mid range, but the top end use to fall on its face.. This motor is the opposite, have to keep revs up to get a nice midrange pull, and hold a lower gear longer before upshifting.

I find that guys who have driven manual get use to the smg and like it more then guys who dont know how to drive manual and get in the smg.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
657 Posts
Yes, SMG is great once you get used to it. Most people who give it a bad name most likely can't drive SMG properly. Anyways..like already stated, drive it in S6 (DSC off) and go by sound when starting out. Once you get the hang of it, it'll be super smooth to shift with.

If you want to just cruise around the city "peacefully and conservatively," here are some tips:
1) shift at 2800-3500 RPM
2) at speeds of 40mph+.... I'll keep driving it in 4th and shift to 5th gear once I hit 50mph... and so on until 7th.

But...if you're on the highway, I suggest shifting to 7th at around 65+

Again, this is when you want to drive conservatively and basic guidelines to get you familiar with SMG driving.

If you want to unleash the beast, you want the RPM's in each gear to be at around 6000+ since that is the power band for max HP output in the S85 V10.

:cheers:
Tash
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
It takes a while as mentioned don't bother with Drive mode. I've had mine two years and can drive it every bit as smoothly as a 6 speed, once you get to know it and learn it, it is downright incredible and not tired clutch leg.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
222 Posts
the SMG in our cars are definitely more fun when driven in manual mode, and it feels raw and racy. Every shift can feel like a power shift in S6 but if you shift it at S4 or S5 you can play out the clutch and lever action in your mind along with what is going on and time the gas peddle in sync to it.

If you just don't like paddle shift then you are $hit out of luck because currently the fastest and bests of cars are all paddle shifts. The general conciseness is DCT is better for everyday, but single clutch still offers more feel and thrill (it's why LFA use single clutch).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
301 Posts
Three things.

1.) It will never feel exactly like a manual.

2.) Do the SMG reset, (drive 35+ MPH), press both paddles at the same time and hold for 5 seconds.

3.) it will adapt to your driving, give it a month or two till you finally get used to it. By the nature of this post, I'm guessing you haven't properly hammered it yet? Do that first, then you'll appreciate the SMG. Maybe not around town, but when you're blasting through gears in M mode, you'll appreciate it and be left with a feeling you'll never forget. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,210 Posts
First off, the SMG reset is 2 seconds, not 5, 10, 8 or whatever it is people say. I don't know how the number has evolved so much over the years - the manual clearly states 2 seconds. Second off, this does NOT reset the SMG. It's not a fancy fix-all reset - all it does is calibrate the rollout of the tires so the torque calculations the SMG performs are accurate. You do this reset whenever you get new tires put on the car.

A proper SMG "reset" is really called SMG adaptation and it resets the clutch engagement and shift gate calibration of the car, and must be done with the car hooked up to the proper software. However, this is someone you will want to look into and have the adaptation done when the car is nice and hot and you've gone through the gears. Not with a cold clutch or else everything will be off. If I remember right, doing this also clears out any and all "learning" the SMG has done to get to know you as a driver. The SMG system tries to learn the way you drive so that it drives better with you. It watches how you drives and adapts. Right now, it remembers whoever used to own the car. It has to learn you. (FYI - it has one profile per key, so make sure you are always using the same key, and if someone else frequently drives the car, let them have the other key and let these keys be "assigned" as everything from seat position and radio stations to climate control preferences is also unique to each key).

Lastly, you'll want to have Euro-SMG coding put on your car as soon as you can. Because US-Spec cars had the free maintenance, BMW gave us a different SMG programming that sacrificed shift comfort for clutch preservation to avoid having to install a new clutch. Long story short, it makes the car shift like crap. Once you get the Euro software on there the car will drive much better and you will totally say this is how it should have come from the factory (and it did! - just not in the US lol).

Finally, now that you know all that, I will say that it takes some getting used to (it's a learning curve for both you and the car), and it also helps for you to understand how the SMG works and thus its limitations and your expectations. Right now I'm talking about D mode.

The SMG is NOT an automatic. Automatics have it much easier since everything they do is smooth - why? Because a torque converter has very little back-torque transfer under normal conditions. The SMG is a clutched manual, and thus it has full back-torque transfer so you feel every slip, lurch, and clunk from those clutch engagements. This about how it works - the SMG is basically a guy with a clutch on one foot and a gear shifter in his hand, watch you apple gas and throttle. He looks at engine RPM, throttle input, and current gear to determine what to do. The SMG WILL NOT UPSHIFT unless you are giving it some sort of throttle. You cannot rev it out the 7K, then completely cut throttle and expect it to upshift. It will not do that. I think this is the biggest difference between it and an automatic in terms of programming.

The Drivelogic mode you are in (D1 - D5, or otherwise, D mode, however many bars are lit - NOT the gear indicator to the left of "D" on the instrument cluster) determines the base aggressiveness of the shift program. D1 will will generally be very conservative and shift as early as possible. D5 will try to hold gears and will wait a long time to upshift. You must choose the settings to your driving style. If you are on the autobahn and just slaughtering traffic, D5 might be great - it always downshifts aggressively upon strong throttle application and shifts late and generally shifts quickly. Choose D5 when you're creeping in traffic and you'll want to get out and start kicking the car. In a general sense though, don't use D1 as it starts in 2nd gear and fries your clutch.

My personal preference is D2. I use it in conjunction with P500 (not P500S). D2 shifts relatively early and is smooth, but having it in P500 helps with getting some torque out of the motor. P400 is far too desensitized, in my opinion.

When you eventually get the feel of the car, you'll be able to "tell it to shift" even with D. I now will roll into the throttle and then lift slightly when I want the car to shift. It does so perfectly even in D mode. Also, this means that YOU are still in command of the shift timing of the car even with it in D (you are just using your foot rather than your paddles). I think this is one of the biggest frustrations of SMG, is the car being in the middle of a shift when you need to make a move. This helps alleviate that problem.

Now, for when you are driving in manual mode, by all means feel the car like a manual. Upshift whenever you feel it's the right time. When I drive with this intent the car never gets shifted before 5K, and the car is almost always about 3500RPM. It just feels more alive and ready. Not practical for mileage, no, but I leave it in D to get better mileage. Second, let the car do the work for you. The car will not let you downshift to 1st gear at 80mph on the highway, so if you need max acceleration, just pull the downshift paddle like 10 times and mash your foot once you year the RPMs jump up to the characteristically correct sound. You'll get your acceleration without the BS of having to do quick math to see how many gears you need to go down.

Lastly, and this is really just getting used to the characteristic of an S85, is that the S85 is naturally a high revving motor. It likes to be revved out. In your E39 I'm sure you were used to using that great bottom end and broad mid range to leisurely pull the car everywhere - the S85 is not like that. The S85 wants you to use its rev range. That is where its power comes from. From 3K+ the car wakes up from 6K+ the car just enters rabies mode and all hell breaks loose in the best way possible.

I know this was a long post but I hope it helps you get to know your SMG better. Personally, I love the SMG and think it's an amazing transmission that helps you get the most out of the S85. When the SMG is working correctly, it's amazing how smooth it can be, and at the same time, how brutal it can be in S6 when you're going through the gears.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
759 Posts
...so if you need max acceleration, just pull the downshift paddle like 10 times and mash your foot once you year the RPMs jump up to the characteristically correct sound. You'll get your acceleration without the BS of having to do quick math to see how many gears you need to go down.
Very thorough description of driving the SMG. My experience, too. I especially like your description of learning when D-mode will shift, and even controlling it with the throttle. I drive 99% of the time in D-mode, DriveLogic 3. It probably took me a full year of driving the SMG to get comfortable with it. Of course I tried S-mode, but found myself in the high rev range a lot. After letting D-mode control it, I realized this engine is fine cruising at 2,000 RPM, and shifting at 3,000. I gained 5 MPG since. Only comment I will make is if you need max acceleration in D mode, just mash the throttle to the floor and it will immediately select the best gear, skipping all in-between, and give you best acceleration in one step.

As for the OPs complaint of clunky shifts, he definitely needs an adaptation and maybe a trans fluid service/differential service. The SMG will definitely shift so smoothly, I will often barely notice when D-mode has changed gears.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
620 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Thanks all,

The transmission and clutch are brand new. I did the reset procedure before and after the transmission and clutch replacement and again after having the tires re-balanced. Clunky probably was a bad word. That more describes the transmission failure back in July when I first got the car... Jerky is probably better. When you control the shifts, you unconsciously prepare your body for the shift. You lift off the throttle and do all sorts of things that make the shift smoother. With the SMG, you don't control this so it's more like being the passenger in the car rather than driving.

The SMG is great when you're driving spirited... but 90% of the time, I'm just driving to and from work our out somewhere with the wife. I'm far from thinking of getting rid of the car, I'm just glad to see others have had the same issue and gotten over it. Thanks for some of the driving tips btw, I put the car into S4 when shifting manually. D mode I was putting it in S2 (yes, I don't want to take off in second gear in D1) until a few days ago when I started putting it in D4... I hadn't tried 500 in D mode. When I get back from my trip to DC I'll try this out.

Thanks all,
Matt
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
759 Posts
The transmission and clutch are brand new.
Did they give you a break-in procedure for the new trans/clutch? There's got to be some break-in procedure...I believe that re-adaptation (not the paddle pull) after some period on the new trans/clutch is recommended...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
620 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Did they give you a break-in procedure for the new trans/clutch? There's got to be some break-in procedure...I believe that re-adaptation (not the paddle pull) after some period on the new trans/clutch is recommended...
No, I was a little surprised at this and even asked, but he said all was good. That was right after he consoled me about my warranty issues but assured me I'm now covered for the next 5 years (or was it 3... I can't remember, but they do a warranty over and above what BMWNA gives. I forget because I as too happy about getting my car back :p)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
620 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
When you eventually get the feel of the car, you'll be able to "tell it to shift" even with D. I now will roll into the throttle and then lift slightly when I want the car to shift. It does so perfectly even in D mode. Also, this means that YOU are still in command of the shift timing of the car even with it in D (you are just using your foot rather than your paddles). I think this is one of the biggest frustrations of SMG, is the car being in the middle of a shift when you need to make a move. This helps alleviate that problem.

Now, for when you are driving in manual mode, by all means feel the car like a manual. Upshift whenever you feel it's the right time. When I drive with this intent the car never gets shifted before 5K, and the car is almost always about 3500RPM. It just feels more alive and ready. Not practical for mileage, no, but I leave it in D to get better mileage. Second, let the car do the work for you. The car will not let you downshift to 1st gear at 80mph on the highway, so if you need max acceleration, just pull the downshift paddle like 10 times and mash your foot once you year the RPMs jump up to the characteristically correct sound. You'll get your acceleration without the BS of having to do quick math to see how many gears you need to go down.
Thank you, this is awesome info!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
431 Posts
I wouldn't have my M5 any other way than a 3 pedal.

However, if money were no object, I would put a sequential with a clutch pedal for launches in every car I own. nice tall stick to bang through the gears and a third pedal to get out of the whole. (man that sounds dirty)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,461 Posts
I have driven both manual and SMG and by far the SMG is faster and just down right nasty when it comes to super fast shifts, It will put to shame most stick shift cars which have more power.

I drive mine in manual mode and just shift by listening to the engine, I drive like this in stop and go traffic and on the freeway and I learnt within a month how to shift smoothly with no lunging back and forth.

Take your time and learn what works for you as everyone is different.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top