Z4 automatic vs. stick

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Anybody have a preference of automatic over stick?
I will be buying a Z4. I want an automatic because 1) I will not be driving it like a race car and 2) the advances in automatic transmissions make them
as reliable as manuals and 3) I have been driving autos for over 30 years and am ready for a change.
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Sounds like an auto will make you happy. Go for it. Why does anyone else's opinion matter?
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grinder wrote:

I would get the auto. From test drives, BMW autos seem pretty good to me. I would suggest staying away from the SMG. I had a 2004 Z4 3.0i with the SMG and although the technology was cool - I am a bit of a geek and like that kind of stuff - it was not very smooth shifting. I would say it is one of the reasons I traded the car in so soon (that along with troubles with the top and wanting room for more than 2 people). I now have a 2006 330i with a 6 speed manual and I think it is a much better automobile all around.
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They are two different cars. The Z4 is not practical but it will be a "weekend" car and not an everyday drive. The 3 series would be my second choice although there is not much room in the back seat. My third choice would be a X3 but I don't like the expense and maintenance associated with AWD regardless of the improved handling.
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You might want to at least drive an M3. Try the SMG too. Some people don't like it, as the previous poster said. I have it in my M3 and love it.
Definately not an automatic and if that is the 'feel' you want, the SMG is not for you. If you like a 6-speed, but want an auto mode in traffic, the SMG is great.
Love mine.
But I have a 540 when I need an auto
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The M3 would be too much money for a weekend car. And I am kind of old school. Automatic or manual. The SMG may be nice but I prefer tried and true technology.
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I agree. Until BMW join the 21st century and use a twin clutch SMG the rough changes when in auto mode just ain't acceptable. It's one thing having 'punchy' changes when enjoying a country road, but not when trickling through traffic.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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London SW

You must be driving a different SMG than I am. I can choose the 'roughness' of the shifts. 1-2 means smooth.
4-6 means fun.
Tom
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Have you any experience of decent autos? Not being funny, but the SMG isn't in the same class, smoothness wise. And I've driven a recent M5.
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In my opinion the "automatic" or "D" mode in the new, E60 M5 is worthless. Shifting manually with the SMG III takes some getting used to but in S5 and S6 modes, it is very smooth and fast.
I recently found out that you can re-calibrate the amount of clutch slip in the M5 (or M6) with the SMG. You drive at least 20 mph ... put the gearshift in neutral so you are coasting and pull up on both paddle shifters. This procedure is recommended whenever you change tires also.
Eisboch
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wrote:

You want it to be as smooth as an automatic? Then buy an automatic. That's not what it is.
And yes, I've experienced a decent automatic. The one in my 540 isn't bad
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In auto mode, yes. Different when doing the selection yourself and in a hurry. The two aren't mutually exclusive - Audi manage it. As will BMW when they adopt a twin clutch SMG shortly.

If it can change gear without any action on the part of the driver, it's an auto. There is no argument possible about that. An auto isn't defined by the presence of a torque convertor.
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wrote:

Guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.
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Dave, you can take that position if you like, but why does BMW (and others) offer three different transmission types for the Z4?
Manual Automatic SMG
Eisboch
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Because the SMG isn't sufficiently developed to replace a conventional auto. Nor does it give the same driving satisfaction as a true manual. Things may change, though. If you require a 'clutchless' change with total control over the gears, both automated synchromesh boxes and torque convertor autos are improving all the time. I'd not take a bet which will win - although my money says the TC auto since it's intrinsically more reliable.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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I would debate the reliability point of a traditional TC/auto with planetary gears, since they have far more parts (mostly bearings, bushings and clutches) than even an SMG. More parts, more things to break.
FloydR
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Mechanical failure in an epicyclic gearbox is rare. True the clutches can and do wear, but so do those on a servo operated synchro box. As do synchro cones etc - especially with the hammering they get on an SMG.
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You are wrong. But then, you've never seen the insides of a US GMC auto circa 1980. They were designed to last around 100K miles, and it was rare to get more than that from them.
OTOH, Ford's C6 truck tranny would last 300-400K miles. Don't forget BMW's fiasco with GMC trannies in the late '80s and early '90s for US spec cars.
Don't forget that loss of synchro isn't catastrophic, whereas bearing/bushing failure of the planetary gear(s) is.
FloydR
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Am I? It's a generalization based on my experience of many different types.

Thankfully not, but there will always be an exception.

But what failed? I was specifically referring to the gear train rather than the various clutches.

Bearing/bush failure is common on many synchro boxes too if you want to take that road. And failure of synchro cones will invariably lead on to other failures if not repaired.

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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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The bushing/thrust washer that holds the planetary away from the sun/planetary holder.
FloydR
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