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Lets talk transmissions…

Above you see three cars: a 2008 BMW M5, the 2008 BMW M3, and the 2008 BMW 535i. These are three very different cars with three different powerplants (5.0L V10, 4.2L V8, and 3.0L TwinTurbo I6 respectively). Beyond this, they differ in how they put that power to the ground. The M5 features the 7 Speed SMG (sequential manual gearbox), the M3 features the 7 Speed M DoubleClutch transmission, and the 535i features a standard “sport” automatic transmission.

So say you are in the market for a new car and you aren’t quite sure what all of these acronyms  mean, allow me to explain!

First off, there is the regular old automatic transmission which has been around just about as long as the gasoline engine. Now a days, it shifts gears via a computer, but features a torque converter so the power is always being applied to the transmission. When you put this car in drive and take your foot off the gas, the engine turns the wheels and you move forward. We have come a long way with such transmissions though. They are extremely more efficient and feature up to 8 gears. All in all, it’s not a bad feel and it’s by far the smoothest shifting gearbox of the three we are discussing. The 535i even features paddle shifters and sport mode so you can choose when to shift gears yourself. For smooth shifts and easy city and traffic driving, the 535i is the best choice with its regular “steptronic” automatic transmission. (note: steptronic is just a fancy way of saying you can change the gears yourself).

Next, we have the M5 which features a 7 speed SMG transmission. The SMG is, at the ground level, just a regular old manual transmission with a computer that does all the clutching and shifting for you. What you get here is sporty F-1 derived technology which enables you to hit the paddle and change gears WAY faster than you could yourself with an old-school clutch pedal. Now, this transmission does has some limitations. Since it is just a regular manual, it has a clutch which can wear out. Just to make sure you have enough choices, BMW has given you 6 different DriveLogic settings which effect how the car shifts gears! I don’t know about you, but I would be hard pressed to measure just how different each of the shifts settings are… So, I either have it in S3, which is gentle shifts for driving around town, or S5, when I want to pass someone or get going more quickly.

As far as drivability, the shifts, since this car only has one clutch, are rather “jerky” if you don’t know how to drive it right. I’ll go out on a limb here and make a bold statement: If you can’t drive a regular manual really well, you don’t need to drive an SMG car. I’ll say it again. If you don’t know how to feather the gas when you shift gears, then you don’t know how to drive a SMG car. Since the SMG is regular manual, you still have to feather the gas between shifts, and the car will roll backwards on a hill at a redlight. There is no “Park” gear, and when you get going if you don’t go gently on the gas, the computer is just going to dump the clutch.

 

All being said, I really respect the SMG for what it is. It’s absolutely great when you are on a track to be able to just hit the paddle and downshift in the blink of an eye. Other benefits include its lighter weight (both over the DoubleClutch and the regular old automatic). Plus, you can put it in automatic mode when you answer a phone call while driving. When paired with this M5, it makes for quite a fun driving experience. The car looks great, sounds great, and if you know from which one of the 6 settings to choose, will shift great as well. I love the M5, and would have one any day of the week. That V10 engine is unique and I, frankly, like the 7 speed gearbox since you can shift through them so quickly. But I digress. I will make one comment that BMW had the chance to put a doubleclutch transmission in the E60 (2006-2011) M5, but chose not to. “True, the dual-clutch system has a smoother automatic mode, and it performs seamless upshifts. For a 7-series, this may be the way to go. But an M car should always combine efficiency with emotion. That’s why there are six shift speeds from which to choose- “from velvet glove to iron fist.” So, if you like “emotion” with your driving, paddle shifters, and are a proficient manual driver who likes the option to shift in a blink of an eye and also have that automatic option, why not go for the SMG? (you can even get an M5 with it too!)

 

Finally, on to the M3′s M DoubleClutch Transmission- What on earth is that you might be asking?  I’m here to tell you. The M DoubleClutch is like an SMG with paddles to shift gears but with one critical difference: it has two clutches. So rather than the standard procedure for the SMG in the M5 – clutch in, change gears, clutch out – the DoubleClutch gets to simply disengage one clutch with the old gear while simultaneously a second clutch with the new gear already loaded. Sounds cool right? Well it is! The M DoubleClutch especially has the ability, when in the more aggressive shift modes (yes, you still get 1000 DriveLogic settings with the M DoubleClutch) to shift way, way, way faster than you can blink. Accelerating is like snapping your fingers as it keeps gliding into the new gears. With the DoubleClutch, it’s more “grab the steering wheel and hold on” than ever! Advantages of the DoubleClutch include faster shift times, smooth shifts, easy starting off, and you even get to put it in park! Disadvantages are more weight, more stuff to break, and that’s about it. The SMG and M DoubleClutch does also have the ability to shift for you once you hit that redline – something the SMG will simply not do in manual mode. All in all, the DoubleClutch is the way of the future (and hopefully they will get lighter too) as many more cars are opting for them (from the Nissan GTR to the Mercedes SLS AMG). So, if you want to pull paddles and shift in lightning speed, want to put it in automatic mode and relax while it handles all your worrying in traffic, and still want ginger shifts while driving around town, the M DoubleClutch is the clear winner.

Now, BMW offers double clutches in nearly their entire lineup. So, while it isn’t the M tuned version, you can get a double clutch gearbox in a 5 series or 3 series now and not think twice. The SMG was almost exclusively available in M cars though. So, if you can rule out the tried and true manual, the DoubleClutch is the automatic manual paddle shifting gearbox of choice. Look below for a gallery of M5 pictures as well as some comparison shots from these cool cars.

Lincoln Fantaski

Select Luxury Cars, located in Marietta, Ga. on Highway 41, hand “Selects” every vehicle. We specialize in the highest quality automobile made all over the world. Whether you live here in the Atlanta area or anywhere around the world, we will find the exact car you are dreaming of. If you are looking for a Mercedes, BMW, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, Ferrari or other high end model, begin your search here.

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Categories: BMW

Select Stories: BMW Betty

The following is  a true story of one of my past customers:

Whenever I sell a BMW I am reminded of a twenty-something lady I know, let’s call her Betty… desperately seeking a BMW.

A few years ago I met Betty, a smart young lady with a great job. She had to give up the car of her dreams and  ”her status”… her brand spanking new BMW. Her dad warned her of signing a lease, having foresight about the lousy economy, but she was sure in her heart that she could sustain her car payments. After all Betty thought, ” I’m making good money and have a hefty saving account to boot and besides, if I can’t make the payment, Dad will.”

Then, her life plan fell apart. One month after signing, she lost her job, and started the dreaded job search. Unable to find a good paying job, and unable to sustain her car payments, her savings dwindled and she was against the wall. “This was a learning experience for her,” Dad said.  He had warned her of how unpredictable life can be. After all, he knew all his children had to make their own mistakes and pay the consequences. Betty cried all the way to the dealership with the car. Dad did help out. He offered to loan her the old SUV family car so she could get around. Then, one month after turning in the key to her BMW, she found the job of her dreams with a salary to die for. ” How I could have this luck”, she wailed.” If only I had waited. Oh well, she thought. “I will re-establish myself and get my BMW. I’m ambitious, I will make it.”

Well it’s been a few years since turning in that BMW and a few years of hard work to get her savings back up, but Betty’s Back and Beaming for that BMW.  She’s ready and set to get herself back in the driver’s seat of her dream car.  This time, she’s taking a more conservative approach. Betty called me at Select Luxury Cars, to find her a pre-owned BMW. And why not, she’s made it!!

Betty knows our mission is to provide the world market with the highest quality pre-owned luxury automobiles at a great value. We stand behind every car sale.

James Younis

Select Luxury Cars, located in Marietta, Ga. on Highway 41, hand “Selects” every vehicle. We specialize in the highest quality automobile made all over the world. Whether you live here in the Atlanta area or anywhere around the world, we will find the exact car you are dreaming of. If you are looking for a Mercedes, BMW, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, Ferrari or other high end model, begin your search here.

Categories: Select Stories

Not all Bentleys are Made Equal

The Bentley Continental GT is a unique car that doesn’t draw much attention to itself. Powered by a twin turbocharged W12 engine, it sure isnt that car you pass on the highway either though. Lets face it, there are a lot of two door cars for over 100k, but not many of them can match the luxury and craftsmanship that Bentley puts into each and every Continental.

Now with all of that being said, not every Continental you see for sale on eBay is the same car. There are tons of color choices, and many interiors. But there are some special versions worth taking into consideration. Bentley three distinct coupe versions of this classic car: the regular Continental GT, the Series 51 Limited Edition, and finally the SuperSports.

Lets start with the regular Continental GT. It makes 552 HP from that Twin Turbo W12 (which is fundamentally two narrow angle V6’s mashed together), has room for 4 adults and is very comfortable on the road. And to be honest, it bores me. Sure its nice and luxurious, but theres just nothing THAT special about it. The styling doesnt stand out of a crowd, and when you think 552 HP dont you usually think of a Corvette or Ferrari? Granted its one of the absolute best Gran Touring coupes around, but it is by no means a sports car.

Series 51 Door Sills

Now, the Series 51 Limited Edition is just a subtle change over the standard Continental. You might or might not notice that that same powerplant now makes an even 600 HP, or that there is Series 51 engraved into the door sills. Still more subtle yet there are just little 51’s on the front fenders. There are also special upgraded 20″ wheels. The ride is also slightly dropped but to be honest, it doesnt feel that substantially different. Sure, you cant argue with the extra horses or that the interior is quilted, but its still just a Continental at the end of the day.

Now, enter the Bentley Continental GT SuperSports. Yes, its a mouth full but wow is it impressive. First off, the W12 now produces an astonishing 621 HP and 590 ft/lbs of torque! Top that off with a new double clutch transmission (which Bentley claims makes shifts 50% faster), the largest carbon ceramic breaks EVER to be fit to a production car, and 243lbs of weight shedding (you still get the soft close doors but have manual seats… seems backwards but no one asked me) and you essential get a supercar. The SuperSports will do 0-60 in 3.9 seconds, flat out you will be doing 204 mph. And thats fast in a car that still weights 4900 lbs. Granted, when you are driving the car you can feel its enormous weight, but when you feel the wheel the all wheel drive system sure does do a great job of keeping that car planted. Stopping with those enormous breaks is astonishing, due to the ceramic compound there is almost no break fade at all – not to mention that the bite and stopping power is very linear and you feel in complete control of the 5000 pound monster. Just remember one thing: there is no back seat, so you can only bring alone one friend for the ride.

Now , before I get too carried away with how the car drives and that absolutely biblical low exhaust note, lets talk about Green Energy. You might be thinking to yourself that 621 HP cant be economical, and you are absolutely correct. The SuperSports gets 19 mpg (gingerly) on the highway and 12 in the city (again, without a foot made of lead..). To compensate for this dent in the oil reserves, Bentley did something unique. The SuperSports can run on E85 ethanol and continue to purr just as effortlessly as on gasoline. Granted, E85 is not as available as regular old gasoline, but considering its grown from corn and is completely renewable, its not a bad idea. There are less emissions when running the car on ethanol too, which you can reassure yourself as you punch the gas and downshift just to hear that noise that legendary 6.0L W12 makes when the boost kicks in…

So the ultimate question, is the SuperSports or the Series 51 worth the additional spending? Probably… if you were going to buy a Bentley then why not own one that will knock your socks off? Check out some extra photos below!

Lincoln Fantaski

Select Luxury Cars, located in Marietta, Ga. on Highway 41, hand “Selects” every vehicle. We specialize in the highest quality automobile made all over the world. Whether you live here in the Atlanta area or anywhere around the world, we will find the exact car you are dreaming of. If you are looking for a Mercedes, BMW, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, Ferrari or other high end model, begin your search here.

Categories: Bentley

When the Rubber meets the Road

When looking for a new car, we tend to concentrate on things like the interior and exterior color, and the engine that sits under the hood. We also dwell on things such as how many miles it has or condition of the tires. Things that sometimes slip by are when the last oil change was performed or if it recently passed emissions.

Now when you add in questions such as “has it been wrecked?”, “is the windshield the original?”, “does it have the navigation disk?”, or “where are the other keys?”, we’re starting to get more thorough. That being said, I believe we have missed one very important detail here: tire quality.

The single most important part of how a car rides is between the road and the car itself. What sits between the suspension and the road is rubber! Now, you might be thinking that all tires are made alike, but you would be very misled if that was the case. Tires come in all different varieties and serve all sorts of different purposes. Take the Nissan GTR for example – this car sits on extremely sticky tires. When you look from the side, they almost look like they have no tread left on them at all. That is because the less tread on these tires, the more surface area those tires have to stick to the road. A large portion of what makes the GTR such an agile and quick car is its grip. If you throw $100 on those rims, you would be amazed at just how quickly the GTR goes from being a Corvette Killer to being just some other rough riding sports car.

There is a similar story for an S-Class Mercedes. A large part of why that car rides so smoothly, yet is able to deliver a pleasing driving experience, is due to the quality of rubber on which it is riding. Take a BMW X5, as well- the thicker tires with the larger sidewall means there is more room to absorb bumps and drive smoothly on the highway. You can even go another direction entirely, and look for off road tires with the ability to conquer the gravel roads you’ve always dreamed of exploring.

Cheap tires often cause a rougher ride, significantly more road noise, and wear out quicker than their more expensive counterparts. If you want your car to perform at its best, you have to keep giving it the parts with which it was designed. There is a reason BMW doesn’t put $50 dollar tires on their 3 series. It is because it really does matter. However, it’s not just about the money when it comes to tires. It’s about a mindset. If you spend $60,000 on an S-Class or $40,000 on a BMW X5, why would you skimp on the tires? These are expensive cars designed to deliver a superb driving experience with little road noise, smooth handling, and easy going highway driving. By putting cheap tires on them, and you take away that cusp- that edge that makes those cars worth $40k-60k. You take away what makes them drive better, feel better, and last longer than some other boring car like a Kia or a Honda. I’m not saying that Kia and Honda’s are bad cars. They are just geared for a different audience. Someone looking for an X5 should not be considering a Kia as well – they are in a different league. The Kia is able to be cheaper by not worrying so much about road noise or how smooth they can make the ride for the people sitting in the back. They also don’t equip their cars with expensive tires out of the factory. This is the other side of the coin from such Luxury Cars we were discussing earlier.

So in conclusion, if you buy a BMW or a Mercedes or even the Nissan (I know the GTR is a rule breaker) you should be prepared to spend more money maintaining its integrity. From Synthetic Oil Changes (yes, it will cost more than $20 to change the oil) to tires, naturally it will cost more to keep these well designed cars delivering the driving experience that you deemed was worth the extra money. So treat it well, give it good tires, a fresh oil change, and, frankly, just the respect the treatment it deserves. In return, it will keep performing the way it was designed to: better than the rest.

 

Lincoln Fantaski

Select Luxury Cars, located in Marietta, Ga. on Highway 41, hand “Selects” every vehicle. We specialize in the highest quality automobiles available in the market. Whether you live here in the Atlanta area or anywhere around the world, we will find the exact car you are dreaming of. If you are looking for a Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari or other high end model, begin your search here and we won’t disappoint.

Categories: Car Tech, Used Car Tips

Inefficiency on the road – The issue isn’t where you think it is!

The biggest inefficiency in transportation these days is not where you would expect – in fact it doesn’t have to do with MPG’s or even gasoline at all. The truth is that the inefficiency lies with the fact that 80% of seats on the road go unoccupied. John Zimmer analyzes this phenomenon and offers insight into using social technology and collaboration to try to increase this issue.

Click here to read his article. 

Select Luxury Cars, located in Marietta, Ga. on Highway 41, hand “Selects” every vehicle. We specialize in the highest quality automobiles available in the market. Whether you live here in the Atlanta area or anywhere around the world, we will find the exact car you are dreaming of. If you are looking for a Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari or other high end model, begin your search here and we won’t disappoint.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Sporty and topless – the E89 BMW Z4

When you first lay eyes on BMW’s new Z4, it shocks you just how aggressive it looks. The hood is massive, the headlights seem to have attitude to them, and the sweeping lines run sleekly down the sides. The car has aggressive looking wheels, those iconic kidney grills, and a hard top roof that disappears into the trunk. It has everything that makes for a fun little roadster: style, a drop top, and a short throw 6 speed manual transmission.

All the Z4’s feature a nicely laid out dash, but it certainly feels different than your normal 5 series or 3 series. The buttons for the AC are on top of the radio – almost at gauge cluster level. The radio is normal, however the cup holders are hidden inside the center console. Which just doesn’t make sense. Luckily for the Z4, the convertible top drops with ease and you barely have time to look behind you before you get going with the wind in your hair. The parking break is electric, which in a roadster is something you have to get used to, but isn’t all that bad of an idea. The one odd part about driving the Z4 is that when you are at a read light, and you are on a hill, and you take your foot OFF of the brake in order to get ON the gas, the car does NOT roll backwards. And if you have grown up driving a normal manual, that’s a very odd feeling: taking your foot off the brake, and staying exactly where you are.

The interior is gorgeous, especially if you opt for Cinnamon or Imola red which accent the Alpine White exterior brilliantly. The seats offer plenty of support while also keeping you planted in the event you feel like driving a little bit spottily. 

This particular model features the 3.0 L straight 6 and has a delightfully throaty exhaust note. Step on the gas though, and you just keep waiting for something truly exciting to happen. The car looks mean and aggressive. it looks like it wants to hunt down little Infiniti G’s and Mercedes SLK’s and eat them for breakfast. Sadly, the SDrive3.0 doesn’t really do that… The car is tight and nimble around the corners and the transmission shifts beautifully smooth, but the kick you in the pants feel just isn’t there.

Luckily, BMW also makes a different variant of the Z4: the SDrive35 (pictured in Blue) which features the same engine form the 335i. And that, is quite a power plant for a roadster barely larger than your bathtub. The engine hardly sounds boosted, but it drives just as well planted as you would expect from BMW’s roadster. Compare the Z4 to the 135i and the Z4 wins in almost every category, despite sharing the same motor. The 135i doesn’t feel as planted, nor as nimble as the Z4 does. The Z4 feels much more refined, much more stable, and successfully puts down all of that twin turbo power. Perhaps the best part about the SDrive35 is that when you downshift, the exhaust gurgles! The SDrive35 is an incredible car, and despite testing it with BMW’s double clutch gearbox rather than the 6-speed, the car was an absolute blast on the road. Its not an M car, just based on the feel you get from both the petals and the steering wheel, but its a damn good car that embodies all of the spirit you would expect from a Bimmer.

I’m not saying I wouldn’t own a 135i, Id just save up and buy the Z4 if I had any say in the matter. If you want something nimble and small that you can drop the top in, the twin turbo Z4 is clearly the winner. With a 6 speed of course. And that killer Imola red interior.

Click here to view our 2009 sDrive35 Blue Z4.
Click here to view our 2011 sDrive30 White over Red Z4.

-Lincoln Fantaski

Select Luxury Cars, located in Marietta, Ga. on Highway 41, hand “Selects” every vehicle. We specialize in the highest quality automobiles available in the market. Whether you live here in the Atlanta area or anywhere around the world, we will find the exact car you are dreaming of. If you are looking for a Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari or other high end model, begin your search here and we won’t disappoint.

Categories: BMW, Newsletter

Pure, Undeniable Class: Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe.

February 25, 2012 Leave a comment

What weighs 5,800 pounds, has 453 HP and does 0-60 in just 5.7 seconds? Not some souped up Ford F-150, and not a monster truck. Its not even an SUV. No, this is something much, much classier: the Rolls Royce Drophead Coupe.

Its truly hard to put into words just how big this car feels. Its an incredible 18.5 feet long and is entirely hand made. Every single inch of the car is wrapped in leather, surfaced with hand crafted wood, or carefully shaped aluminum. Wrapped in a Blue Velvet paint color, its easy to see why this car gets called a land yacht. The engine is a hand made V12 that features the iconic Rolls Royce 6.75 liters of displacement. That engine coupled with the automatic transmission produces an astonishing 531 torques which makes acceleration feel effortless. In fact, Rolls Royce says that at 70 mph on the highway, that mighty engine uses only 10% of its available power, put your foot down and the Drophead swooshes to speeds close to 150 mph. What is truly spectacular is just how smooth riding this car really is. It truly feels like you are on a hand stitched leather cloud when you are driving around. The auto leveling suspension takes care of everything you could worry about, all you need to do is just sit back and soak in the pomp and circumstance.

Details are everywhere and the more time you spend with the car, the more you appreciate just how much work goes into the most expensive Rolls Royce ever. Each side of the coach doors has its own built in Rolls Royce umbrella, and the doors are electronically closed. The classic Rolls Royce clock disappears behind the dash in favor of a sharp LCD screen displaying settings and audio options. There are even signature Rolls Royce ash trays in each of the doors, just pull gently and they come right out. The entire car is full of carefully crafted details, and almost every panel has something to hide. From the cup holders in the floor panel to the seat controls under the center console, unless you go looking for things, all you see is mahogany and leather.

Tap the centered button on the dash and the 450 watt Logic 7 sound system comes to life through 15 individual speakers but the most impressive sight is straight up, out the windshield. The hood is absolutely enormous! Focus your eyes on the distinct Spirit of Ecstasy and you can see why its compared to a boat, it just seems to float on the road. But we have yet to get to the Drophead’s beat feature: the head drops! Open the center console and push that magic button, and the classic cloth top disappears behind a teak deck over the trunk and you are ready to go for a cruise with the wind in your hair. The back seat is surprisingly small considering the size of the car, but 4 adults can fit in the Drophead with comfort. The concept of the suicide doors does make it difficult to get in and out of the back of the car without having the doors 100% extended, however.

The coupe features a double trunk, opening like an SUV for easy access to getting as much stuff in the back as you can fit, although that may not be as much as you expected. The car does not have a huge trunk, as most of the space is taken up by the convertible top and that lengthy hood. The Rolls Royce is hardly a driver’s car, and it knows that considering how much car you can have for $498,000. No, rather the Drophead Coupe is something more: its luxury on a whole new level, the modernized version of the times when cars were the embodiment of our wealth and creativity. The Drophead is a car for someone who wants to drive around in style; for someone who wants to feel like they belong on the beach somewhere in the Hamptons or Pebble Beach. The Phantom Drophead Coupe is one thing, and one thing only: classy, on a scale you have to see to believe.

-Lincoln Fantaski
Select Luxury Cars, located in Marietta, Ga. on Highway 41, hand “Selects” every vehicle. We specialize in the highest quality automobiles available in the market. Whether you live here in the Atlanta area or anywhere around the world, we will find the exact car you are dreaming of. If you are looking for a Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari or other high end model, begin your search here and we won’t disappoint.

Categories: Rolls Royce