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

Rearview camera law – is it worth the cost?

Two months ago the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) made a proposal for mandatory installation of rearview cameras in all 2014 passenger vehicles. Passing this law would be another landmark in vehicle safety control, and would one day be a safety feature as familiar as the seat belt or air bag. It is interesting to think that rearview cameras have always been thought of as a luxury feature, and should now be considered commonplace according to lawmakers.

The main question is how much safety this feature produces, and if it is worth the cost to automakers that consumers ultimately incur.

Earlier this month a 3-year-old boy was accidentally run over as his older brother was backing out of the driveway. This story is part of a bigger picture, as nearly 1,000 people have died as a result of back-over accidents since 2008. The NHTSA estimates that 221 deaths and 14,000 injuries result per year in the U.S. due to such accidents (article).

The cost to add a camera and screen to a vehicle is roughly $200. This amount would ultimately be factored into the price the consumer pays when a car is purchased.

Essentially this is a tax on the consumer to benefit public welfare. Such policies are often debated, as many individuals would argue that we should leave it up to the carmakers to decide on the features they provide.

On the other hand, a rearview camera is a plausible solution that could reduce the number of deaths and injuries that result from back-over accidents. Moreover, $200 is not a significant amount when purchasing a new car, and that cost could likely decrease as the market find less expensive solutions to manufacturing and installing the components.

When human safety is involved, short-term sacrifices can often yield long-term benefits. The value of a life could certainly offset the cost of a rearview camera.

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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: Uncategorized

Did You Know…? Insurance Costs!

April 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Do you know if your auto insurance carrier offers additional discounts? My wife and I bought our daughter a car and titled it in her name. We called GEICO to remove her from our policy and start her own. During the enrollment, the representative asked her questions about her driving and college. To my surprise, she was entitled to discounts for:

 Being a college student
 High GPA
 Never being in an accident
 Completing a defensive driving course
 Completing Driver’s Education in high school

Since she attends college out of state, we signed up for membership with AAA so she could have road side assistance. Our AAA Premier Membership benefits includes more than car rentals and discounts at hotels. We can take advantage of savings on:

 Pet friendly discounts at retailers, including Walmart.com and Target.com
 Resorts and Disney vacations
 Products and Services including LifeLock Identity Theft Protection

We also discovered our membership will offer discounts for routine eye exams, lenses and eyewear at participating Target and Pearle Vision.

So when you get an opportunity, check with your auto insurance carrier to find out what discounts are available to you and your family.

Mike Goodall

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: Uncategorized

The Few in Our Lives

April 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Here is a quick story about the “few” individuals we all encounter in our daily lives. A few weeks ago I met a terrific customer. To protect her identity, we will call her Becky. Becky is one of our local Atlanta professionals who has done well in her profession and is a successful attorney in her field. Becky came into our showroom and was given the same welcome and greeting I give folks when they come to visit us at Select. She was interested in a particular red coupe, which she had researched prior to visiting the dealership. Becky, I might add, is a repeat Select Luxury client.

I have to preface this next paragraph with this: we all have to deal with the “few”. The “few” are individuals in our lives that just drive us nuts. Whether they are family members, our politicians, media outlets, co-workers, or our local LAW ENFORCEMENT, we all have met the “few”. This story is about one of the above.

I walk Becky through the car’s features and she decides she’s ready for a test drive. We go on one our regular route, but Becky decides take a detour. She chooses to go down a particular street dotted with aging strip malls, motels, bus stops, and apartment complexes. Once notorious for illegal night activities, this is an area I stay clear of because it reminds me of certain streets from my boyhood neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Less than a minute after tuning onto this street, a local Sheriff pulled over Becky and me as we continued our test drive in the bright red sports car. This is where the experience gets annoying, funny, or disturbing (depending on your perspective). Oh, I forgot to mention that Becky is an attractive, 30-something-year-old woman with blond hair and an outgoing, no-nonsense attitude. (Some of you may know me from our website picture). This OFFICER decided to be curious about me and this blond woman test driving a bright red sports car down Marietta’s Franklin Road. As we pull over and roll down the windows to answer their questions, it is clear that the Sheriff on the passenger side (my side), is visibly uncomfortable with the situation and his partners inappropriate behavior.

Knowing that Sheriffs don’t usually stop vehicles, I commented, “You guys usually don’t pull people over on traffic stops.” He replied tepidly, “Sometimes we do.”

His partner on the driver’s side of the car was a bit more colorful with his rhetoric. Becky asked the officer if everything was okay, since she had committed no moving violation.
The Sheriff responded,” I just want to make sure everything is okay since I noticed you are driving with no drive out tag.”
Readers, please note that our dealership (whose name was clearly visible on the tag), is one of the most successful, high line and exotic dealerships in the Atlanta market, and has been for the last 17 years.

The bottom line is that this person is one of the “few” individuals we encounter daily who make the rest look really bad. Think about it, most of us are invariably good people and do the right thing. Unfortunately, it’s the few bad Cops, salespeople, media outlets, politicians, you name a profession whose actions (and often poor judgment) cause us to be skeptical about folks being willing to do the right thing.

Now, I’ll end with this. This particular sheriff’s deputy was extremely curious about the test drive with our customer. In my opinion, was he being… wait for it, curious-ist? (new word I invented) Anyway, the customer purchased the car and is enjoying it with her family. The deputy in this story is still sitting at QT killing time until serves his next garnishment form or child support order from the Court or until he decides to be CURIOUS again. The “few” in our lives, can we live without them?

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: Random Car Talk

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

CONCEPT CARZ From conception to production

April 28, 2012 Leave a comment

I have always been facinated with the creative design behind what moves us to buy the cars we own. We all see the final design during production but I find myself always curious to view these cars in their most creative form. Concepts can be used by manufacturers to gauge public opinion of a new model, or even an entire design philosophy. I actually wish they would produce some of the the concept cars as a limited edition version as I believe they will become instant collectors.

At http://www.conceptcarz.com/view/concepts.aspx you can enjoy the creative view of what the cars we drive today look like before the final production version. Pretty neat stuff. The site even offers an array free wallpapers!

ENJOY!

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. http://www.selectluxury.com

Categories: Random Car Talk