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Test drove two 335's yesterday. My exp so far.

ArabianSensation2010-08-17 16:42:10 +0000 #1
Hi guys. I'll be buying an E92 335i in the next few months (finally) and so yesterday I went to test drive a few cars and get a real feel for how the car drives with different options as my experience driving these cars in the past has been somewhat limited. I realize this post might rehash some topics that have been discussed to death, but I figured I would post my experience and see what everyone thought.

The first car I drove was a 2008 TiAg 6MT 335xi sport package with Mtech and the M shifter (52k miles). It was not an M package though. No iDrive. Surprisingly, the 6MT was not as great as I thought it would be. Shifting seemed kind of spongy and it didn't shift between gears very smoothly either. I know this is a common complaint on these cars. I was dead set on a manual transmission with this car but after driving the xi I was having second thoughts. The car was amazing but it seemed like the transmission was holding it back a bit. Since it was an xi model, no sport suspension. Ride was very smooth.

The second car was a 2007 Space Grey AT 335i loaded (iDrive, Logic7, cold weather, etc) except for the alarm (it had the wiring in there though) with 22k miles. The AT shifted much nicer than the 6MT. The ride was slightly rougher but not even close to what I was expecting which was actually a pleasant surprise. The AT definitely seemed faster than the 6MT even without the x drive. The car seemed a lot less raw than the 6MT model, which can be a good or bad thing. I love driving manual transmissions but I was more impressed with the AT in this car... I have heard many people say the N54 is a better fit with an AT.

So it seems the main decision here is 6MT or AT. I don't mind the Steptronic shifting with the paddles and it would definitely be easier to live with than a manual, but it doesn't have the allure of a "proper manual gearbox." That said, the 6MT felt cheap and out of place in a late model BMW which is a relatively high end car compared to what I'm used to driving. I brought a friend with me for a second opinion, he is definitely more experienced in the field of motorsports and regularly participates in Autocross and Track Day events. He drives a modified 1995 BMW M3 (short shift kit, stage 2 clutch, Dinan intake, Dinan tune, straight exhaust with one muffler). He normally hates automatic gearboxes, but didn't even have to drive the auto and agreed it was much nicer than the 6MT. It's unfortunate because I was looking forward to a manual car. However, I have to go with the better option to live with and also the better performer. Another guy I know was coincidentally at that dealership yesterday also and test drove the same two cars- he also agreed the AT was a much better option over the 6MT.

I have heard a CDV delete and BMW Performance Short Shift Kit makes the manual gearbox much much better, but I'm worried I'll buy the manual and add these mods only to be disappointed. I know a lot of you will say get the manual anyway as it's a sports car, but I really enjoyed the smooth ride of the automatic. I'm thinking about bringing a different friend along for another test drive and getting even another opinion.

At this point, I'm dead set on an E92 335i. The only decision I have left is MT or AT. I'm planning on adding a Limited Slip Diff, tune, and exhaust as well either way, which may have an effect on the decision.

What do you guys think? Should I go with the safe bet and take the Automatic? Or risk not liking the 6MT even with the mods?

And yes, I've done a search and read multiple topics on the subject. I still can't make a concrete decision.


Jason44862010-08-17 16:44:41 +0000 #2
Quote:

Originally Posted by ArabianSensation

Hi guys. I'll be buying an E92 335i in the next few months (finally) and so yesterday I went to test drive a few cars and get a real feel for how the car drives with different options as my experience driving these cars in the past has been somewhat limited. I realize this post might rehash some topics that have been discussed to death, but I figured I would post my experience and see what everyone thought.

The first car I drove was a 2008 TiAg 6MT 335xi sport package with Mtech and the M shifter (52k miles). It was not an M package though. No iDrive. Surprisingly, the 6MT was not as great as I thought it would be. Shifting seemed kind of spongy and it didn't shift between gears very smoothly either. I know this is a common complaint on these cars. I was dead set on a manual transmission with this car but after driving the xi I was having second thoughts. The car was amazing but it seemed like the transmission was holding it back a bit. Since it was an xi model, no sport suspension. Ride was very smooth.

The second car was a 2007 Space Grey AT 335i loaded (iDrive, Logic7, cold weather, etc) except for the alarm (it had the wiring in there though) with 22k miles. The AT shifted much nicer than the 6MT. The ride was slightly rougher but not even close to what I was expecting which was actually a pleasant surprise. The AT definitely seemed faster than the 6MT even without the x drive. The car seemed a lot less raw than the 6MT model, which can be a good or bad thing. I love driving manual transmissions but I was more impressed with the AT in this car... I have heard many people say the N54 is a better fit with an AT.

So it seems the main decision here is 6MT or AT. I don't mind the Steptronic shifting with the paddles and it would definitely be easier to live with than a manual, but it doesn't have the allure of a "proper manual gearbox." That said, the 6MT felt cheap and out of place in a late model BMW which is a relatively high end car compared to what I'm used to driving. I brought a friend with me for a second opinion, he is definitely more experienced in the field of motorsports and regularly participates in Autocross and Track Day events. He drives a modified 1995 BMW M3 (short shift kit, stage 2 clutch, Dinan intake, Dinan tune, straight exhaust with one muffler). He normally hates automatic gearboxes, but didn't even have to drive the auto and agreed it was much nicer than the 6MT. It's unfortunate because I was looking forward to a manual car. However, I have to go with the better option to live with and also the better performer. Another guy I know was coincidentally at that dealership yesterday also and test drove the same two cars- he also agreed the AT was a much better option over the 6MT.

I have heard a CDV delete and BMW Performance Short Shift Kit makes the manual gearbox much much better, but I'm worried I'll buy the manual and add these mods only to be disappointed. I know a lot of you will say get the manual anyway as it's a sports car, but I really enjoyed the smooth ride of the automatic. I'm thinking about bringing a different friend along for another test drive and getting even another opinion.

At this point, I'm dead set on an E92 335i. The only decision I have left is MT or AT. I'm planning on adding a Limited Slip Diff, tune, and exhaust as well either way, which may have an effect on the decision.

What do you guys think? Should I go with the safe bet and take the Automatic? Or risk not liking the 6MT even with the mods?

And yes, I've done a search and read multiple topics on the subject. I still can't make a concrete decision.

Real men drive manuals. Girls find it sexy. Don't be a schmuck!
I3352010-08-17 17:26:34 +0000 #3
If you were talking about a DCT I'd understand, but the regular AT in these cars, while very good, are just too boring for me.
aleckzandr2010-08-17 17:39:50 +0000 #4
You come from a very good gear box, I'm not surprised by what you stated. If at all possible, find a 6MT with CDV deleted to test drive.
BayMoWe3352010-08-17 17:06:54 +0000 #5
Manual.
BMWorNOTHING2010-08-17 17:40:04 +0000 #6
E92 FTMFW. I have an auto and I would go manual any day of the week. It's a lot more fun and it feels like you control the car more IMO. However if you drive in bumper to bumper traffic a lot, it may not be for you.
Addicted2Boost2010-08-17 17:23:36 +0000 #7
ive driven both the auto and manual, and i find that the manual is definitely more fun
buckshizzo2010-08-17 18:25:05 +0000 #8
Get a manual. You're more in control with a manual. I don't regret getting a manual at all.
ZneeK2010-08-17 17:18:55 +0000 #9
I drove a manual E90 and now an AT E92... i would think twice before going back to manual.... Even without DCT i think i would out-accelerate myself in my AT over my MT. But maybe i just suck at driving MT...

Even though almost every car overhere is MT.
bkr3352010-08-17 20:50:39 +0000 #10
chicktronic belongs in a non-sport E90 filled with ann taylor bags. get a 6MT.
TheBaronSG2010-08-17 18:44:43 +0000 #11
Quote:

Originally Posted by I335

If you were talking about a DCT I'd understand, but the regular AT in these cars, while very good, are just too boring for me.

+1; i get so bored if i don't have to shift... almost not worth the driving experience
yabcoder2010-08-17 20:31:25 +0000 #12
LOL i have to jump on this thread and say MT as well

I dunno though with me when i test drive AT's i never like, you actually said that you like the AT ?? wierd HAHA,

i hate not being in control of what the car is doing

it also sounds like the MT your drove had a beat up gear box, the shifting on my 335 is smooth with the exception of first gear being a little rough

test drive move before you make a decision cause youll have to live with it for a long time and you might regret not getting a manual very soon after your purchase

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