Z4 automatic vs. stick

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Which goes against the findings of most large organisations who now specify autos even for things like light vans. The beauty of an auto is it is virtually driver proof. And remember you don't get a synchro transmission without a clutch, so the two should be considered together when assessing life. Not many will get anything like 300k miles out of a clutch.
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*What am I? Flypaper for freaks!?

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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I agree completely with Dave that the most prominent virtue of the automatic transmission is that it is much more 'foolproof' than the manual transmission and if your situation requires it by all means buy an automatic. That's why commercial operators do it - many of their drivers have no respect for the hardware. On the other point, if a clutch goes out it costs you $150 and a Saturday spent under the car whereas band clutch failure in an auto will cost you about 20 times that amount and will often result in scrapping the vehicle. Automatic transmissions have their place - it's just not in any of my cars.
London SW

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You're taking a very simple example here. Some clutches these days aren't simple and aren't cheap. The flywheel may also need replacing.

Well it's quite possible to DIY auto box repairs if you take a simple one as you have with a clutch. Nor are the parts that expensive. I've done several. Not a modern electronically controlled 5+ speed, though. Yet. ;-)
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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wrote:

I agree with you about the TC. By design, it allows higher torque application without ripping itself apart.
Eisboch
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Tom Scales wrote:

My Z4 did have a different SMG - There were no options other than the sport button. I think the SMG used in the M3 is much more advanced.
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wrote:

    Could be. The SMG in the Z4 is actually an SSG, an Italian-made less robust version of the SMG used in the M-class cars.     epbrown -- "Everybody wants a normal life and a cool car; most people will settle for the car." Chris Titus 2003 BMW 325i Black/Black, 2003 BMW Z4 Black/Black
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My wife and I took a trip in the convertible last weekend to the local Fry's Electronics store to get a monitor. While there, we opted to buy a computer for one of the kids for Christmas. I'm glad we had the 3 Series convertible because we could not fit the stuff we bought into the trunk.
Buy the 4-seater and use it for weekends. You'll spend about the same money, but you'll appreciate the extra space. Guarantied. Trust me, the 330 convertible is not a very practical car either, but it is more practical than the Z3 or the Z4. Frankly, the 325 or 328 convertible (whichever they sell these days) is as fun to drive as the 330, and it looks damn near identical. Personally, I prefer the tire package on the 330, but that's just me.
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Now THAT is very good advice. I get the whole two-seater thing, and I drive a convertible so I even understand the attraction there. But, as much as I like the looks of the two-seaters (pretty much all of them), when I get to my retirement and can have such a toy, my choice will be another 3 Series with 4 seats. We rather enjoy going places with the top down, and storage space is handy with the back seat available.
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When I retire the choice will be made for me and I will have to abandon two seaters because I will not be able to get in and out of them. Right now the 2 seater appeals more to me. If I need to haul something I will use the 4-runner and if it doesn't fit in the 4-runner I will rent a pick-up. But if I am going for an overnight trip down the coast I will throw a bag in the trunk and take the Z4.
BTW, the new Z4 coups look tremendous.
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grinder wrote:

I have a preference for a stick, especially in a roadster. As you say in another post, the Z4 would not be your commuter car, so why worry about manners in traffic? An automatic demands less involvement of the driver in the actual driving. If you want a fun car, get a standard (with clutch) car. How could anyone consider a sports car with an automatic transmission?
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"Fred W" wrote

I'm kind of the same way... If you just want to steer, get an automatic. If you actually want to drive, get a manual. But that's just me... automatics have their benefits too, so it all depends on what's important for you and what you enjoy. Hence, it's a personal preference, so I don't even see a point of asking what others think.
Cheers, Pete
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Ever drive in San Francisco? I have - with a stick and believe me it is not fun. I had to take my 4-runner in a few weeks back and there is nothing worse than climbing one of those hills and seeing the traffic light at the top turn red. Driving a stick in heavy stop-and-go traffic is not fun either. Over the years I have just gotten sick of them. Initially I chose a stick because it was more dependable than an automatic but that cannot be said anymore.
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"grinder" wrote

Why are we even having this discussion then? :)
Pete
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My original post stated I wanted an automatic and why. But I thought it would be interesting to hear other viewpoints. At first blush I can see why someone couldn't understand why someone would choose an auto over a stick for a sports car.
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Some of us buy fine automobiles because we've reached a stage in our lives where "fine" is more imporant than other stuff. When one reaches that point, one buys what they want not what othere think they might want.
I've seen you say that you want a stick, but you make several pursuasive arguments for a manual (your original post is confusing both ways). Think about what it takes to make YOU happy and buy it. Fuck everybody else.
Pardon me for being crude ...
If you are gonna ask, and follow the advise you asked for, blow off the Z and get a 330 convertible -- your choice, manual, automatic, or SMG. (I'd get the manual, but that's me.) Having said that, I'd really like to drive an SMG, anybody near San Diego that wants me to drive their car?
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Get whichever makes you the most comfortable. If you want a manual transmission, then get one. If you want an automatic, get one of those. Whatever you do, do not get a transmission according to what somebody else thinks is good.
A BMW transmission in either form is going to give you excellent service.
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My wife just bought a Z4si a couple of weeks ago with the automatic. The si version also has the "sports" mode and the 255 hp engine version.
To be honest, I was not overly impressed I first drove the car in the normal "D" mode. (I drive a Porsche 996TT manual, so the Z wasn't really a fair comparison) The Z4si was ok ... but goes through the gears quickly .... like an American built sedan, so at 45 mph on a back road it is in 5th or 6th gear at low RPM. If you give it a bit of gas, it's response was sluggish, IMO, unless you caused it to downshift. That is, until I tried the sports mode .....
We've had several BMW's before, some with a "sports" mode that makes subtle changes to the shift points and the suspension stiffness. In the Z4si the sports mode is not subtle at all. It causes the automatic shifts to behave very much like how you should drive a high revving, manual sports car. It selects a gear that keeps the engine RPM up and won't shift until it should ... rather than trying to get into a higher gear quickly. It also automatically downshifts when you are slowing down as if it were a manual, again keeping the engine RPM up in a sweet spot on the hp and torque curve. It really is effective and makes the Z perform like a European sports car.
I think the sports mode is only available in the si version .... it isn't offered in the Z4i as far as I know.
You can also shift "manually" with the BMW Steptronic (or whatever they call it) but I was very impressed with the auto/sports mode.
BTW ... this is an '06 model. I don't know about earlier years.
Eisboch
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Eisboch wrote:

I have the step-tronic in my 740 and it makes the car a totally different animal so if you can get one with the manual option I'd recommend it. I often use it to lock the car in gear on twisty roads etc so it's not running away or doesn't kick down on a corner.
I have the regular torque converter and I'm sure one with a lower stall speed (like in the sport model) would reduce the slushiness feel.
Mine has the adaptive box and it's alright but it takes a while to learn. I'd prefer a manual override other than the full sports mode.
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We've had two 750's ... an '01 (12 cylinder) and an '06 (8 cylinder). Obviously, both had the Steptronic automatic transmission with the "manual" shifting capability and both had a "sports" mode that modified the shift points and suspension dampening settings. They worked, but neither of these sport modes had the same effect of the sports mode in the Z4si. Using sports mode in it has a much more pronounced effect and makes it feel like a true sports car. It doesn't simply modify the shift points ... it will hold the car in the appropriate gear to maximize engine RPM in the power curve and maximize responsiveness for a given speed. You can do the same thing with the manual shifting setting, but I found the automatic mode (in sports mode) to be very effective and fun.
Eisboch
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Well I'm buying a E92 335d and with the massive torque it has at low revs, the Steptronic is a standard option, since the MT can't handle it. I took the car out for a testdrive and really love it! DS mode really reads my thaughts, and you can always go in manual mode :)
F.
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