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View Full Version : Why was SMG developed for street cars?


AMG_POWER
09-30-2004, 03:44 PM
Copied from BMWm5board... It's acctually intresting and true...what do you tnink?

Think about it:

1) The M5 is almost never driven on the track, where many skilled drivers can extract additional performance when using an SMG.
2) I would guess that less than 0.01% of the average M5's miles are driven in conditions that offer the ability to fully expolit SMG's benefits.
3) Manuals have always been difficult to drive, and many people, especially in the US never learned to drive them. Many countries have 2 classes of driver licenses, one which restricts the driver only to automatics, and one allowing all transmissions.
4) BMW was losing customers that did not drive manuals; these guys were buying the RS6 and E55 instead of the M5.
5) BMW knew that manual drivers can compromise and drive an SMG.
6) BMW knew that automatic drivers cannot compromise and drive a manual.
7) BMW clearly saw more revenue from moving away from a manual.
8) There is a stigma on sports car drivers who do not know how to drive a manual. The SMG presented the perfect way out, by offering something that can be perceived to be more like a manual, thereby helping to eliminate the stigma of an automatic, without requiring the skill of a manual. SMG has been marketed to make drivers of automatics now feel like they are part of the "more skilled" group of manual drivers.
9) SMG has been marketed to make manual drivers "think" they are getting a more suitable transmission. We can thank F1 for this, as it has provided the perfect backdrop to help market SMG. However, please do not forget F1 is moving away from SMG; SMG is passe in F1, whch is a fact, not speculation. They are moving back to manual transmissions. There are plenty of credible reports in the press talking about the overhaul of F1.
10) How can anyone deny that it is more fun shifting gears manually? The definition of "fun" is subjective, but as automotive enthusiasts, I believe you know what I mean here.
11) How can anyone deny that shifting manually requires more skill? I would like to here someone argue that SMG requires more skill.
12) How can anyone deny that the greatest satisfaction in life comes from mastering complex and challenging processes such as manual shifting? Being a couch potato never made anyone happy in the long-run.
13) The target market for the M5 clearly prefers an SMG to a manual. I don't have the exact demographics, but I would guess that the average potential customer for the M5, RS6 or E55 is a male, in their 40s, is married, has 2 kids, makes a very good income, has additional cars, commutes to a regular job, is stuck in traffic for part of the commute, does not do burn-outs, does not drive on the track, etc. This is not the profile you want to sell a manual to.

In summary, I firmly believe that SMG exists solely as a result of business economics, and has been marketed to capture the largest market share. BMW is a business, and is doing what is correct in order to protect the interests of its shareholders. Those who insist on driving a manual, have plenty of options on the market, both new and used.

Knowing all this, shouldn't we come to terms with the fact that SMG is not a "better" replacement for a manual, but could possibly be a "better" replacement for an automatic?

M3ti Compact
09-30-2004, 04:02 PM
You can say the same thing about SUV's and Minivans.

How often do SUV's go off road or pull things? Probably only 5-10% do.
How often to Minivan's carry 6 or more people? Probably only 5-10% of the time.
How often do M5's get tracked? Probably 5-10% will actually see track time.

You can also ask the same question about Manuals- how often do you need to override an automatic's decision of gear in normal everyday driving?

IMO, with the M5's power and size, a manual shift will throw off the car's balance under hard driving (anyone who has had the privildege of driving a 300+ HP car would probably attest). We're now talking 500hp. I would say that SMG is a replacement for the manual...in this situation.

e36_freak
09-30-2004, 04:08 PM
i agree totally........
i love/MISSED driving a manual car......... damnit... sincei 've sold my car about a year ago.. i haven't drove standard...... :( :(

nothing like banging the gears around *th-up*

Kamikaze
09-30-2004, 04:36 PM
good arguments.

Kinda OT: - ppl who make fun of drivers of automatics are morons. what's the big deal in manuals?! *sleep* majority of my cousins (girls) drive sticks. you can also make the argument that ppl who buy automatics do so because driving manuals in rush hour traffic in the am and pm is a PITA. :moon:

my 0.2: smg is the future 5-10 years from now

SickFinga
10-01-2004, 02:31 AM
blah blah blah all BS.


1. If that the way he is thinking, why BMW making M cars in the first place? Majority of them ends up in traffics and never see the track
2. maybe, doesnt mean that it should be there.
3. Manuals are not difficult to drive, its just harder to learn
4. Sure BMW was losing customers who dont like stick, so is Mercedes with their automatics. If you think BMW switched to SMG, just because if that, guy is a moron, because most M5s are being sold in Europe, where most people drive stick and prefer stick over automatic.
5. Sure
6. Sure
7. Sure, is that bad?, if he thinks he belongs to a more skilled driver group just cause he is driving manual, he is a retard and should start the whole debate.
8. ummmm ok
9. No BMW offers SMG to buyer because new technology sells, and its quicker. Never heard of F1 going away from sequential gearboxes but if its true, so what? They make them slower and slower with every season, ( i head they are proposing V8 2.4l engines) so soon, they all be driving civics and call it F1. and F1 is not the only sport using sequential gearboxes. There are alot of them out there.
10. yep its fun, you can shift gears with SMG too, whats the point
11. maybe, but its a small fraction
12. Statisfaction comes from a complex things? Frustration comes from the complex things, you dont want a car to be a complex thing. Ohh and if he thinks manual is complex, he is on crack.
13. Maybe you he is right on the average M5 owner, but again he forgets that most M5 owners are in europe and they prefer stick over manual

Sure SMG is a business tool to make money for BMW.
Same with anything in the car, suspension, brakes, design, engine. EVERYTHING.
Cars are made to be sold, and new technology sells.

lvan
10-01-2004, 03:24 AM
I think that SMG is some sort of idea to make auto car be quick as manual for people that preefer to drive auto . AS well as for BMW to make some nice cash .

Alezone
10-01-2004, 06:43 AM
I've driven the M3 with SMG II, something u can't do better with manual. It shifts faster than you and me, anyone. When you paddle down-shift, it gives a little gas to match the rev, no more heel-toe, keep your foot on the brake. At the launch? SMG is more precise.

still, i'd buy manual over SMG, for the fun factor. :D but if i had to drive it in rush hour everyday? SMG please.

tlaselva
10-01-2004, 09:06 AM
If and when I buy another M3 (ram a V8 in that thing already) I wouldn't hesitate buying the SMG again. I love banging gears as much as the next guy, but the extra dimension the SMG adds to the whole driving experience far outweighs the loss of manually shifting. When you downshifted from 6th to 3rd with just 3 clicks of the paddle, the sound of the engine matching rev's three times in rapid succession just made me giggle. (You should have seen the look on the guy's face I was just about to race.....:D )

windwagen
10-02-2004, 12:01 AM
All Valid considerations, but the main reason why a lot of things are done - MARKETING!

golden
10-02-2004, 12:51 PM
M cars are made for performance.. and SMG outperforms the manual. done deal :)

PrinceE30
10-05-2004, 02:50 PM
In my humble opinion...

The "performance" gain of SMG is fluff. There are quite a few tricks you can do with the use of a clutch that you can't in an SMG. There's still a degree of control you get with a manual that you don't with SMG. SMG does add a new dimension of driving that allows you to pay more attention to the track (or road) you're on and less on making sure the car is working propertly / optimally. There's deffinatly something to be said for the paddles. Whereas it's not the same as a full manual car, there's an air or "F1" about it (or even reminiscient of sequential boxes in GT cars).

To say that SMG takes away the "pure driving experiance" of a car would be overboard. Saying that it changes how you drive and gives you a different experiance would be far more fair to say.

Either are GREAT. If you use your M as a DD as well as a Track Rat, then SMG would probably be the best way to go (assuming you work somewhere with a lot of traffic where the lack of clutch is a godsend). If you only deal with track events or weekend drives, both transmissions are great.

-Prince