BMW's nothing but problems??? Really???

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In the UK, any manual BMW other than the very small ones would fetch very much less on re-sale. Perhaps it's because traffic densities are higher here?
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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model, is just over 2 months old with 2700 miles and I have not had to go back to the dealer for any post-production fixes (out of BMW's brand new factory). It is so far faultless. The only thing I can say about the first year model is that not all equipment on the options list is available yet, but everything I want is so no problem. OK it's early days and 1 car is not much of a sample, what is the big deal about first year of model cars?

BMW's are "lemons"

competing BMW (though better equipped as standard), partly because a diesel has only just become available for the first time and only on the IS. Even with petrol/gas engines, Lexus are slow and thirsty compared to a BMW and servicing/parts is not cheaper.
Given the long service intervals on the new cars I worked out that the servicing is going to cost no more than Toyota/Honda

is practically unsellable. On the 3 series manual boxes massively out number auto boxes in the market. 5 series and up and it's all change with the auto box being essential for re-sale.
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

No, it's the same thing here, except that your resale vales seem even more deflated than ours, so perhaps that is a bigger concern.
Are you saying that the differential in price at resale is greater (either in actual money or as a percentage) than the cost difference when new?
That would be interesting...
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As a percentage, yes. Possibly even as an absolute at three years old - the norm for lease cars being sold at auction. That's for my interest - 5-Series. I'd say it's likely different for the smaller 3-Series. M3s seem to sell best with SMG.

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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

Ah yes, the 5 series is very much preferred with an automatic here in the US as well. Which bodes well for me since I prefer the 5 speed and usually buy from the used market ;-)
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-Fred W

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Jack Dotson wrote:

Heh. Never a truer word spoken on the subject! Not anywhere on the interweb in any case (and probably never will again). =)
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I know you were joking, but, sad to say, if you look at the % of sales of BMWs that are manuals vs. auto-magic, you will find the VAST majority are auto-magic.
The Ultimate Driving Machine is actually The Ultimate Rolling Living Room for a whole lot of buyers.
And it will go more that way as the new BMW ad agency was chosen with the goal of reducing the high-performance driving aspect of the BMW image and emphasizing a comfy luxo-barge image in the U.S.

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Actually Mrecedes has a headstart in the "comfy living room" stakes. Although in recent years some sort of 'sportiness' has been implied in much of the advertising (perhaps to match BMW's image), they used to emphasize the relaxing nature of the interior for the driver (in contract to the 'cockpit' of a BMW) and now they have done it again with the new S-class (S 500 test):
http://driving.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,22750-1984109,00.html
"...according to Mercedes' research, your heart will actually beat more slowly than in any rival..."
DAS
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I've never had to replace an alternator, in over 350K miles of ownership of 4 BMWs.

I've owned 4.

I'm 55 and drive a 330xi. My 22 yo son drives a 525i.

None of the M cars come with an automatic. They *do* come with the SMG transmissions. They're notorious for jerkiness in traffic and stop-and-go driving.

Maintenance is free for the first 4 years/50K miles (in the US.) Arguably, BMWNA has set the maintenance schedules (especially for fluids) to too long of intervals. I've paid more to maintain Chrysler minivans than our BMWs - even our '91 525i was cheaper even though they didn't have "free" maintenance when we bought it.
FloydR
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Maintenance is only ridiculous if you use a BMW Dealer for every little job, but there's plenty of independent BMW mecahnics around that can do the work at half the price.
BMW's have a few 'usual' weaknesses, as any other car do - once you know what these are, maintenance is pretty easy and reliability can be improved by preventative maintenace and generally being aware of what goes wrong and keeping an eye/ear open for problems.
A well looked after BMW will be great, but a neglected one that's had cheapo parts fitted will be a money sponge.
I've had auto and manual BMW's and I'd have an auto again to be honest, for the point of view of traffic. It's so muc easier. BMW manual gearboxes aren't fantastic anyway - they don't break for eons, but they just feel notchy...even from new.
A bunch of us from our club went to Nurburgring last year, and a couple of the cars were autos.
Auto gearboxes are only crap on small engined cars like a 316/318 - as soon as you strap an auto to a 6 pot engine it's perfectly pokey enough.
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On 18 Jan 2006 01:58:57 -0800, "Russ (www.e36coupe.com)"

I specifically went for an auto... I'm in the UK and do a lot of motorway miles... It's so much nicer than arriving at my destination with a left leg twice the size of the right from all the stop/start traffic jams, and as Russ said, a 6 cylinder auto has more than enough grunt for general driving, even my 6 cylinder diesel!
Sure if you want a "true" drivers car, have a manual, but we spend 99.9% of the time just using them as transport, so comfort and ease of use count for more in my book. (If you want pure drivers car, you wouldn't have 3 other seats and a boot/trunk on the back would you!)
This is my second BMW in a year (previous one got written off by a blind van driver, but still drove me home). Both are/were approx 10 years old, 100,000+ miles, and haven't caused me any problems. I service them myself, and will turn my hand to most maintenance (changed glow plugs etc). Identical BMW parts can be sourced from other suppliers at a great discount. So if you don't mind getting your hands dirty, they're no worse than any other car. In fact as they seem to be well built they could be considered better.
Dodgy.
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In the UK various consumer surveys indicate that minor quick / cheap to fix faults are a little more common on BMW's than Honda / Toyota etc, but major incident (i.e. engine up in smoke) are very rare and on par with the japanese makes. Arguably a BMW will live longer than a japanese car.

my E91 (2006) 3 series is the slickest most position action box I've ever used. If an auto box is the top priority Mercedes do better, but then you loose out on engine and handling. Labour rates at BMW dealers are a bit on the high side here too, you rely on the fact that not much will need doing and if you must, turn to an independant when your warantee is over.
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"Mmmm, BMW manual boxes are considered amoung the best, the 6 speed on my E91 (2006) 3 series "
well..ok, perhaps on the BRAND NEW cars they're improved - but this is not the case the majority of the ZF transmissions used on the e36 / e34 / e39 and e46 (I think).
For example, the manual e34 M5 and e36 M3 gearboxes are notchy and quite a few suffer from gear chatter.
The 5 speed manual box used in the 6 pot e36/e39/e46 can suffer from gear chatter too. The gearchanges on my e39 528 (with only 60k miles) were awfully notchy, and the gear chatter in neutral was embarrasingly loud so I had a brand new gearbox fitted at a BMW dealer. The new box is ok, but still isn't as smooth as the gearbox in my wifes e36 316 compact (4 pot).
Not sure if on the very newest 3 and 5 series they are still using the clutch delay valve setup. Nasty device that deadens any feedback and control you have on clutch engagement (not used on the M3 and M5's interestingly) - and also increases clutch wear as it only engages the clutch at a set rate......apparently to prevent damage to the clutch plate. A popular modiication on the e36 328 and the e39 is to remove this valve so you can achieve better gear changes. There's also the dual mass flywheel...which is cool as long as it doesn't leak over time or need replacing due to excesssive clutch wear, as they're mega-bucks.
Anyway....it's more down to you personal preference when it comes to the choice between auto or manual.....I know what I'd have next time.
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smoothest shifting cars I ever driven. The key was changing the transmission fluid to a good Synthetic. I've used Redline and am now using Purple Royal. Both work well and really smooth out the shifting, especially when the trans is cold. Try it!
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AGH! wrote:

In the UK at least, it's the dealers that give BMW a bad name. They seem to employ kwik-fit type personnel but still want to charge the big bucks for repairs. I had few problems with my mid-90's 3-series (other than the dealer) but I've known a few people with big and/or scary problems with their E46s. The 3-series parts seem to be easier and cheaper to come by whereas parts for the biggers cars are still expensive. Parts for japanese cars can be pricey too. The M-cars can be pricey because a) they might not have been built very well and b) often the parts are different between the Ms and the regular cars.
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The SMG *is* an auto. It simply allows more manual input than most epicyclic ones - but this is not intrinsic in either.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Except it's clear (to me) that the OP wants a true autobox for creeping around in traffic, which the SMG is not good at. And I don't want to debate the meaning of "auto", so stuff it.
FloydR
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Not at the moment, but will be in a couple of years when BMW finally adopts a twin layshaft/clutch version.

I was just interested in the snobbery implied. In the UK most learn on a manual and have a manual as their first car. So don't consider it an exclusive feature but the norm.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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I disagree with you. An automatic transmission has a torque converter. The SMG does not. A manual transmission has a clutch. The SMG has a clutch which is electronically engaged rather than manually with a pedal.
Eisboch
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A CVT auto has a torque convertor? M-B made epicyclic autos for years with no TC - as did GM. A TC has nothing to do with a gearbox being an automatic. An automatic box is simply one which can start the car from rest and reach maximum speed with no input from the driver - other than just pressing the accelerator pedal.

An epilcylic one has several.

Better 'SMG' boxes like the Audi version have two clutches.
What is it with you guys? A manual has a manually operated gearchange and clutch. Make the clutch 'auto' and it becomes a semi-automatic. Automate the gearchange too and it becomes an auto. It doesn't matter about the actual gear train configuration - epicyclic, synchromesh or rubber bands - if the gearbox is capable of operating 'normally' with no input from the driver it's an auto. Everything else is simply the degree of driver over-ride.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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