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I'm looking to get an e46 m3. Which gearing would be best on it? What is the smg like?

Luke.
 

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for peice of mind and driver involvement ide go manual, manual boxes rarely go fubar and cost a fortune to put right like the complicated SMG...

SMG takes some hammer on M3's ya more likely to grenade one compared to a standard E46...
 

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manual all day long for me.
i think the novelty of the smg box would wear off and you would wish you had a manual.
and its expensive if it goes wrong.
 

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My old e46 m3 came with smg and to be honest if it were not for the car being in the perfect colour combo for me then I would not have brought it. After a little getting used to gear changes are super rapid and relatively smooth. Switch the t/c off and in the 6th setting it's a riot. The smg uses the same box as the manual only being activated by an hydro electronic pump. Also proven many times to shift faster than the human hand.
 

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Ahh I had an M3 E46 convertible, it had the SMG II transmission. The only reason I had it was because my dad had two previous M3's (MY02 and MY05), both came with SMG.

I would never have a manual, the SMG changes gear faster than any manual, it has launch control, and it was so easy and a pleasure to drive. The only downside was when sometimes putting it in reverse it took a little while for the clutch to be depressed etc. and the car to move, but we are talking about half a second or so.

I would have SMG or SMG II any day over the manual.
 

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I'd have a manual all day, in saying that i drove an E39 which had flappy paddles behind the wheel and it was BRILL !
 

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sure i read somewhere that BMW would not honour any SMG warranty claims if launch control had been used more than a certain amount of times?
 

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^^Thats kind of standard across all manufacturers. VW give you just 3 goes with the DSG box they have before they void the warranty and I know Mitsubishi are the same with there Evo's. Its like giving a kid a loaded gun and saying Dont squeeze a few rounds off into grandma.
 

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dosent exactly instill second hand confidence then in the boxes if BMW jibbed out after a bit of hearty abuse??..

ya could be buying one thats bin owned by a budding stig nutcase..

worst case scenario on a manual you have ta spring for a new clutch kit after some serious abuse..
 

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SMG is the E36 version and is a pile of crap.
SMGII is the E46 version and isn't, in fact it's an absolute ripper

Despite all the misinformation you'll get, SMG is neither unreliable, nor a particular drama to repair. For a start it's exactly (yes exactly) the same Getrag gearbox and (Sachs?) clutch as the 3 pedal manual, and is well nigh bulletproof. Most of the repair problems and expense are as a direct result of gross technical incompetence on the part of the repairer. In fact most issues are relatively minor, down to a cheap and simple relay, spring or sensor. The problem comes when assumptions are made out of ignorance, major and expensive bits are replaced on a trial and error basis- mainly error, leaving perfectly good- and expensive bits discarded for no reason.


In terms of driving, you have to learn to drive it properly, but it's not hard, very rewarding and a great deal of fun when you do. If you test drive an SMG car- and I strongly suggest you drive both, as there is a lot of personal preference involved, then you should take someone with you who can drive one properly to get a proper feel for it. Guaranteed the salesman won't and it'll feel dreadful.

On the whole SMG is much easier on the clutch than 3 pedal, you can't mis-shift and risk over-revving the engine, oh and the warranty cancelled after X launches is a myth.

I'm perfectly happy to expand on any of the above.


Cheers
JM
 

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id always read and heard the e46 smg was a lot better than the e36, i drive the auto 330 and love the box, id have the smg BUT my wife can only drive auto so its what id have to get, freedom of choice i think id have to get a manuel, but id have to think it over
 

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SMG II has an auto mode but it's pretty crappy. You've still got to work it a bit to get anywhere near smooth, not forgetting theres a clutch there, not a torque converter. My wife uses it and seems to manage ok, even tho she's perfectly at home with 3 pedals. She feels a bit intimidated by the M car and somehow using the A modes helps. Female logic. I can't stand the A modes and can drive far more smoothly in the sequential (S) modes.

Ive got a sneaking suspicion the A modes were only included for the american market- on the whole the yanks don't seem to understand 3 pedals.

Cheers
JM
 

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launch control apparently is limited in euro spec SMG cars and different control software to 30 launches..


way i see it launch control or your attempt at manual launchs is never going to do either box and cars any favours and will eventually fubar both types. but when one goes fubar any garage will touch it but when the other goes fubar a garage will prolly remove it but then hand it to a specialist and won't touch it themselves or pass on it completely..
 

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launch control apparently is limited in euro spec SMG cars and different control software to 30 launches..


where do you live?
OZ
We get euro spec cars. Launch revs for us is around 3800, no limit to the number until you blow the clutch to atoms. The yanks get a softer version- about 2500 rpm I think, and maybe some other limits. Don't care about them, given their litagatious society nothing'd surprise me.

I'd be astounded if you could get anywhere near 30 launches out of a clutch, so it's self limiting in that respect.

Just read your second para- agree competely.

Cheers
JM
 

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a question of money if you can afford an M3 then you can afford the bills that come with them..

but as there is a breed that spend their entire budget on the car then have empty pockets for its upkeep i would deter these types from an SMG or in fact M3's..
 

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a question of money if you can afford an M3 then you can afford the bills that come with them..

but as there is a breed that spend their entire budget on the car then have empty pockets for its upkeep i would deter these types from an SMG or in fact M3's..
Yep, too right, and in my opinon the SMG doesn't make any significant difference to that equation.

Just proper maintenance and rear tyres (hehe) aren't cheap, and there's no choice with that. There are a few things that can go wrong (SMG included) that, worst case, can be a bit of a hit so if there's nothing left after purchase then it's a drama everytime there's a glitch, and lets face it you buy a car like this to enjoy, not to worry at the slightest hiccup.

Having said that, reading the forums gives you a rather distorted view of the possibilities of things going titsup, by definition most threads are there because someone's got a problem, not because everythings running sweetly. If the maintenance isn't skimped then there's every chance that you won't need to dip in too much more.

Cheers
JM
 

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by definition of complexity and actual number of parts tho an SMG all be it good is never going to be as reliable or cheep as a standard gearbox but as mentioned its a question of what if? could you take the hit if in the unlikely scenario of it going fubar?

its easier and way cheaper to buy a second hand manual box than it is to source an SMG box..

that equation only affects ppl who buy and run them on the absolute limit of their funds and would have to question themselves and their own logic in the first place...

could you take the hit? would you take the hit? some would quite happily but a lot wouldn't..why its difficult to advise somebody else on it because their logic and situtation is not your logic and situation..

way i see it if yav got plenty of walkin around cash? go for the SMG there is prolly more fun to be had..

if ya haven't go with the manual..
 

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Yes, to a certain extent, but don't forget the SMG box and 3 pedal manual box are one and the same, and it's all but bulletproof. There are a few extra/ different bits bolted on to make it SMG, ie hydraulic shift system instead of gearlever and manual shift system. The biggy with the SMG system is the pump, which, if it goes, is about 2000AUD brand spanking- about 1200 of your GBP I think, although I'm yet to be convinced they can't be rebuilt for considerably less. Yes, in the unlikely event my pump fails I'll take the hit and go on enjoying the car. If I couldn't take the hit for the pump, then I'd be more worried about things like VANOS, which are about twice as expensive as the SMG pump, and they're like a$$holes- everyones got one.

Thing is, as I said earlier, what gives the SMG system a bad reputation is the disgraceful number of times when failed diagnostic method results in the whole gearbox being replaced, because the calibration system says so, when the actual problem is a $A20 spring. It breaks in the manual version, too- remember it's the same gearbox, but all that happens is the manual shift gets a bit less precise, most people compensate for it and grumble about the crap gearshift.

Ditto for the pump, perfectly good pump chucked away, a $A15 relay is the culprit.

What I'm trying to say is that, even though there are more bits in the SMG system, the expensive bits are the same as the 3 pedal and are pretty much bulletproof, the extra bits that do fail are relatively inexpensive, and don't change the overall equation significantly- if you can't afford to maintain an SMG car properly then going to a 3 pedal is highly unlikely to tip you over the edge into affordability.

In fact if you really take it down the line, the most likely failure mode in the gearbox itself would be faulty synchro's- a much greater likelihood in a 3 pedal manual than an SMG, and with the conventional wisdom being that the gearbox can't be rebuilt because parts aren't available, you're most likely to have to replace the single most expensive part of the whole shooting match because it's a 3 pedal manual. Of course conventional wisdom isn't strictly accurate, as there are a few places 'round that can rebuild them, but they are highly specialised.

Cheers
JM
 

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The ONLY way to decide is by yourself having driven both on test drives, you can listen to the opinions of others all day long, but essentially it'll be your car and you're the one that has to be happy driving it!

Having owned a 330CI manual and now driving an SMG2 M3, I wouldn't be able to choose between the two gearboxes to be honest. The advantage of the manual is that if pelting out of a junction where you need a little speed without delay, you can comfortably turn off DSC on the manual and feather/control the clutch - with the SMG however with DSC off you only have the accelerator to feather, and its very sensitive!!

Old thread I know, but I have posted this for anyone like me, who is searching for a similar opinion.
 

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SMG are awesome to drive. The launch control is mental, but too many times and you'll knacker the gearbox.

If any SMG goes wrong, it isn't cheap and you know someone who is experienced with these types of gearboxes. Worst cast scenarios have been good couple of thousand to fix.
 
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