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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.

Categories: BMW

Speed, Space, Luxury Bake-off

March 26, 2012 Leave a comment

If you are in the market for a large luxury sedan, you may find yourself choosing between the Lexus LS, BMW 7-series, and Mercedes S-class. Say, after test-driving all combinations of model numbers imaginable, you are unimpressed. They are all spacious, drive smoothly, look great – but something is lacking.

You are missing speed.

Enter a new class of large luxury sedans. You are now sifting through pages of the Porsche Panamera, AMG S-class, and rare BMW Alpina B7. In order to place these cars within the same price range, you may consider the Panamera Turbo and S63 AMG alongside the Alpina B7, all of which have a base MSRP in the mid-$100,000’s and can run near the $200,000 mark new off the lot.

From the Mercedes S63 AMG you get 536 horsepower and a handcrafted AMG 5.5L Biturbo V-8 Engine that takes you from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds.

The Porsche Panamera Turbo houses a 500 horsepower 4.8L V8 that runs from 0-60 mph in just 4.0 seconds.

The BMW Alpina B7 has an aluminum 4.4L TwinPower Turbo V8 engine pushing 500 horsepower that gets you to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.

Judging by the performance and engine specs, it is a toss-up between these cars. Your choice may ultimately depend on aesthetics, and any additional options available in your car search.

As always, buying used will save you a considerable amount. Feel free to check out the 2011 Panamera Turbo ($157,800) and 2008 S63 AMG ($56,900) currently in our lot, and check back often for similar options!

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.

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

E39 BMW M5…. Still fast, still sleek.

February 17, 2012 Leave a comment

When we think about the year, 2012, its easy to wonder where all the time has gone. When things dated 2002 for example are already 10 years old, its hard to imagination how far we have come since then. Since 2003, BMW has introduced 2 new M5 models, each with more power than the last. But lets not forget about 2003, because at the time the M5 was the car to have!

The E39 M5 features a 4.9L V8 with an absurd 400 HP. Coupled with the luxurious interior, plenty of legroom in the back, and a solid 6-speed manual transmission, the M5 was a well rounded car that would absolutely knock your socks off.

Well, now that it is 9 years old, you can own a M5 for a fraction of the price! Prices average around 20k depending on many factors, but at the end of the day you get a 400 HP luxury sedan for the price of a Honda Accord! Thats just nuts!

Before you go and say “well I dont need an M5, I’d be happy with an Accord” I encourage you to stop and think about that. While some people would be happy with the Accord, many would also love to feel the torque from that incredible V8 or hear the quad exhaust drone as you put your foot down on the interstate entry ramp. You just cant beat the smile you get when you turn the key and hear that V8 turn over in the morning, because BMW has done the impossible: given you a fun car that you can also put the family in without sacrificing comfort or trunk space.

The M5 features a first for BMW: Drive by Wire. What that means for you is instant throttle response as the computer opens the 8 individual throttle bodies faster than your foot could have on its own. Drive By Wire has become standard in every BMW ever since, and they certainly started it off right with the M5.

The engine has a 7000 RPM redline, and you feel the umph of the torque as soon as you get above 2000, so be careful letting your foot slip as you cruise down the highway! Perhaps one of the only limitations of the M5 is that it doesn’t get the most respectable gas mileage… feeding 8 hungry cylinders does take some fuel so you have to make the trade off between exhilarating performance and MPG’s.

All in all, I love the E39 M5. The feel of that V8 is something that not many new cars can replicate. Its smooth yet powerful and really shows you whose boss with all of the usable power. For it’s size, the car is very nimble and drives remarkably smoothly while still being able to take a corner at impressive speeds without even thinking twice (You might want to make sure your rear passengers have their seat belts on first though!). The car fails to show its age anywhere, its both as nimble and as responsive as you would expect any ///M car to be.

So if you are looking for a affordable performance car for around $20,000 but still want to be able to take people for a road trip comfortable, the E39 M5 should certainly be worth a fair bit of consideration.

-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, Car Tech, Other Interests

The Ultimate Driving Machine: The BMW 7 Series

February 11, 2012 Leave a comment

How many of you remember how excited you were when you got your first cool car? Mine was a 1979 black/black 733i with a front and rear spoiler, 4 really bent wheels, and a strut tower that was welded together by the neighborhood fence man in East New York, Brooklyn. I loved that car. That was when I fell in love with BMW 7 series. There are nice cars, and then there is the ultimate driving machine! If you are looking for a full size luxury sedan bring back the excitement you lost with the mundane daily driver, then it’s time to make a change.

I am writing the post as a BMW consumer, and I currently drive a 2006 750i Sport. The 7 series (reviews) commands respect whether standing still or cruising on the Highway. Its luxury appointments make you feel like you’re in your leather recliner with remotes in hand.  Now if you’re an aggressive driver or a cruiser you will not be disappointed with the performance and handling of this car. For a large sedan it is very quick (362hp) and responsive. Style wise, there is not another highline luxury sedan on the market that can compete with the styling of this car. I have seen and driven them all including the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Lexus LS which are the closest competitors in the same class.

There are some quirks that might get you annoyed with the I-Drive system in the car. But the best way to look at the system is like windows and mouse on your computer. You go on the application you want then click on it (navigation, climate, audio, etc.). Other than that, do your regular service on it and enjoy the ride. You can get hundreds of thousands of miles out of a BMW as long as you keep it properly maintained.

Every time you get in your car you should be excited. When you drive a 750i or Li, you will enjoy yourself. So, join the BMW family and you will soon understand why it is called the “ultimate driving machine”.

-Roger Evanson
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

Is the BMW M3 really that good?…

February 11, 2012 Leave a comment

In my 17+ year career in the automotive industry, I have had the opportunity to drive just about everything under the sun. There are a lot of very cool cars ranging in price from $20k to…well lets not go there. However, there are few cars that stir the soul every time you turn on the ignition. And going one step farther, a relatively practical car you can drive everyday. Somehow, someway BMW has found a combination that makes that morning commute enjoyable. Regardless of the body style, available in sedan (E90), coupe (E92) or droptop (E93), the M3 is a car that will always put a grin on your face.

The current generation M3 is powered by a fantastic naturally aspirated 4.0 liter V-8, that revs to 8,300 rpm, producing 414HP. It pulls like a freight train and the exhaust note will surely be your radio station of choice. It is available with two transmission choices. The purist’s get a 6-speed manual gearbox. Those that don’t want to push that extra pedal can opt for BMW’s M double clutch automated manual gearbox, which can shift faster than you can blink. Either way is a treat each and every time.

The chassis on the M3 is aggressive, yet docile. It is sharp without sacrificing ride quality and it never makes you wonder what it is doing. Add in BMW’s electronic damping control (EDC) and you can dial in this car to your exact taste. The brakes are strong with no noticeable fading. The standard wheel’s are 18 inchers, but 19’s are available. The balance of the M3 makes drivers of every skill level look and feel like the “Stig”.

We can’t forget about all of the creature comforts BMW is also known for. Some of the options you can get, include  navigation, competition package, comfort access, enhanced premium sound, heated seats, park distance control and satellite radio. The fact the BMW includes 4 years or 50,000 miles worth of warranty and maintenance (except tires) on this street legal racecar will make you feel warm and cozy when pushing this amazing machine to its limits.

Drive safe!

Carguy Michael

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, Car Tech, Featured Vehicle

Perhaps Performance isn’t Just a Dream…

January 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Lets be honest with ourselves for a second – we have all dreamed of owning a fast car. Be it the red Ferrari, yellow Lamborghini or the stunning Aston Martin Rapide. We all have that urge deep down that wants a cool, fast car but perhaps its practicality or the cost that has kept us from jumping into the ride of lives.

Well, with used cars a lot can change. You can buy a $440,000 Porsche for near $300,000 or buy a $120,000 7 Series for under $80,000 just a few years later. Go back a few more years and you get some unbelievable deals on cars you could only dream about driving – much less owning.

The prime example of this would be the perfect compromise between a family sedan and a sports car. Often referred to as the ultimate sports sedan… you guessed it: The BMW M5. Now for most of us, the E60 M5 (the one with the 500 HP V10 – Yeah that one..) is still a little out of reach at around $40,000. But often we forget about the E39. Built between 1996 and 2003, the E39 is a brilliant car and even more so when we see one with the ///M badge on the back.

2003 BMW M5 AngleThe E39 M5 features a 400 HP 5.0 Liter V8, quad exhaust, and a 6 speed manual transmission. Yes, 400 HP! Now you may be thinking that there is no way on earth you can afford a 400 HP luxury sedan, but you may be mistaken. E39 M5’s list for around $20,000 – with mileage being the big decision maker here. Sadly, the M5 is often customized and is “violated” so you should be careful and have the car inspected before you purchase – however thats true for any used car! So if you can find one, and it has acceptable mileage, the E39 M5 could allow you to live your dreams of having a “fun” car without destroying your bank account!

Other cars with similar stats would include the Jaguar XJR which features a supercharged, 400HP V8 and gorgeous styling or the Mercedes E55 AMG which features an astounding 469 HP and 516 ft/lb of torque! Cars we used to only dream about are now much more “available” to those of us who don’t just go out and buy a new car every year.

So while looking for your next used car, dont just make the immediate assumption the you can’t have a sports car or a luxury car. Give it a try and see what you can find!

Stay tuned – our E39 M5 road review is on the way!

-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 and we won’t disappoint.

Categories: BMW