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Car reviews - BMW - 3 Series - M3 coupe

Transmission

BMW logo13 Jun 2002

By MARTON PETTENDY

AH, TRANSMISSION. It's one of M3's fortes and the best news is the vastly improved second generation Sequential M Gearbox is now also a no-cost option to the standard six-speed manual transmission. Identical externally, the self-shifting M3 comprises a different shift lever and gate, a paddle behind each side of the steering wheel - and no clutch pedal. One of the few true sequential manual transmissions available today, unlike the plethora of semi-automatic transmissions on offer, SMG takes full control of clutch operation and provides full-throttle upshifting (via the right-hand paddle or by pushing the gearlever forward) and seamless downshifting (via the left-hand paddle or by pulling the gearlever backwards). Apart from greatly improved shift times, SMGII is also vastly improved in the area of shift quality and offers six different shift programs: from a slow but smooth-shifting fully automatic mode through to more abrupt but super-quick shifting sports modes. There is even a launch control mode, called "acceleration assistant", which provides blisteringly quick automated take-offs at full throttle.

Did you know?

SMGII also offers "hill recognition" which ensures appropriate gear choice when climbing hills in automatic mode, "gradient assistant" which allows for hill starts with virtually no roll-back and "slip recognition" which prevents torque drag by careful matching of engine revs

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