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"Unofficial" E46 M3 SMG II FAQ
  • We (Leo/Andreas) are NO experts and do not have detailed nor technical knowledge on the subjects posted on this page.
  • Our Answers are solely based on experiences we have gathered with the intent of being shared with others.
  • This FAQ is intended for readers that are interested in the subject only.
  • We cannot be held responsible for completeness or accuracy!
Before you begin reading the FAQ please take note of some general notes that we would like to pass on:

  • If you expect SMG II to be a comfortable and fast auto transmission, you're wrong. You won't like it.
    We do not recommend purchasing SMG II for the A-MODE or D-MODE only.
  • If you like to drive aggressively on twisty roads or race tracks, then you should DEFINITELY order SMG II with your M3! That's the place where SMG II can really make a difference.
    Always keep in mind that SMG II was created for race tracks - not for convenience. SMG II provides enough comfort and it allows you to drive very tame BUT that's not it's mission!
  • If you think SMG II will make you a good driver, you're wrong ! SMG II gives you some advantages and it is quite safe to drive fast and aggressively with the system because it will never miss-shift. However, a bad driver in a SMG II equipped M3 is still a bad driver. It takes a lot more than fast and perfect shifts to be a good driver.
  • If you are a motor sports freak then we are more than convinced that you'll like SMG II because it is as close as you can get to "Formula" racing.
  • If you are always compelled to driving fast, you'll be driving even faster with SMG II!
  • The more demanding a track, the bigger the advantage of SMG II.
    This is because you have both hands on the steering wheel and you can focus on other more important things like track and traffic. On rare occasions you might have to shift with the lever though.
Select a category:
Basic Info
Where can I find a FAQ with general E46 M3 questions?

There is an excellent E46 ///M3 FAQ by loki here.

EDIT: The above link is no longer avaliable.

-LeoBack to Selection list | Monday, December 31st, 2001 - 21:07 CET [1]
Is it worth $2500 US?

I paid $2700 US in Switzerland and I believe it's a bargain. That's one fantastic package for the $$$ !

However, everyone must decide for themselves

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Friday, August 17th, 2001 - 00:43 CET [2]
Is there any visible clue that a M3 is equiped with SMG2 - beside the shift-lever and the paddles?

not from the outside.

From inside the car, yes. The display (LED), the parts you already mentioned and the lack of a clutch pedal.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, August 20th, 2001 - 00:53 CET [3]
Can you change programs on the fly - while driving?

Yes. Anytime, anywhere at any speed.

One can change the mode and/or the program.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Thursday, August 23rd, 2001 - 22:16 CET [4]
With the SMG, when you drive away, do you hear each distinctive gear like the manual or do you just hear one smooth continuous tone like an automatic or tiptronic car?

SMG II is a manual and thus you hear the car behave just as a manual.

An expert, however, might hear a difference.

-LeoBack to Selection list | Friday, May 03rd, 2002 - 19:21 CET [5]
I know this is going to sound kinda dumb to you, but just to clear somethinh up, in any mode, lets say for S3 for example, u can shift from gears 1-6 in that specified mode right?
Thanks for your help!

Yes, that's right.

SMG II provides 11 programs with 6 gears each (it's the Getrag D 6-speed gearbox known from the manual M3).

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:21 CET [6]
I am picking my M3 SMGII up from Europe in the first week of the New Year.

I would like to get my hands on a copy of the users manual so I can read up ahead of picking it up and hence get the most out of the drive back to the UK.

Do you know if anyone has copied or scaned a copy onto a web page anywhere?

Great web page - you persuaded me to wait a little longer for the SMG option.

Glad you like the website and the info we provide here Good luck with your car !


The 2002 M3 coupe U.S. owner's manual is available here (EDIT: The link is no longer avaliable)

The 2002 M3 convertible U.S. owner's manual is available here (EDIT: The link is no longer avaliable)

The 2003 M3 coupe U.S. owner's manual is available here.

The 2003 M3 convertible U.S. owner's manual is available here.

and Supplementary Owner's Handbook on SMG is available here.

The SMG training manual is available here.

-LeoBack to Selection list | Friday, June 02nd, 2006 - 18:45 CET [7]
Is there an official SMG II info site from BMW?

Yes, click here for further information.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, December 24th, 2001 - 11:17 CET [8]
Is there an information on SMG from the makers of the system?

You can find very interesting information from Getrag, the makers of the "Automated Manual Transmission" here.

-LeoBack to Selection list | Monday, December 31st, 2001 - 21:05 CET [9]
I have had my SMGII coupe for 3 months now and I am still delighted with 95% of its performance. The remaining 5% is not important enough to change my mind. A question about adaptive shifting. You mentioned that the system learns your driving style and I heard the same comment from a BMW guy at the Frankfurt Motorshow in September. Is this actually apparent to you? I cannot say that I have noticed any changes in shifting style, apart from the notoriously slow 1-2 changes getting better as the car does more miles (now 3400). I do feel that I am learning to get more from the system (better throttle modulation for smoother changes etc) but maybe the system is helping me more than I realise..
I also believe that the Auto mode is better than you suggest - you do have to give it a chance (I tend to use A3 as a good compromise) - maybe this is where any adaptation to driving style happens? What are your thoughts on this?

Basically "Drive Logic" means that every driver can find an appropriate program for his mood / his needs. On the other hand the SMG II system is very smart...

Well, I think my SMG II has changed a little bit with time - no huge change though. I think it's quite difficult to figure out what exactly happened... For me Drivelogic means that the systems provides the possibility for every driver to perform his unique style. Nonetheless, I'm quite sure that it changed slightly.

For me A4 is the best compromise. However, I have the impression that I can drive just as smooth with S5 if I must / want. I'm still not the biggest A supporter... But you're right one must give it clearly some credit !

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Friday, May 03rd, 2002 - 19:28 CET [10]
I want to get an M3 SMG II but my girl friend can't drive manuals. Do you think that she can drive it on any of the programs?

Yes, she should be able to use SMG without any problems.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Tuesday, February 08th, 2005 - 10:23 CET [11]
Shifting Techniques
Sometimes in my E36 when I come to a stop in 3rd or 4th I just stop with clutch in and knock it to Neutral.
Can you do this with the SMG II or do you have to manually go from 4-3-2-1-N?

You can roll up to a traffic light in... say 4th and just step on the brakes. When you stop the car SMG II automatically picks 1st gear (unless you already did it with the paddle or the stick). Forget about Neutral...

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:12 CET [1]
What about the gas pedal while SMG is upshifting? Do you keep the throttle at the same position [meaning SMG is so fast the car shifts smoothly]?

While shifting you keep your foot on the accelerator - also while downshifting (unless you roll up to a traffic light and want to stop the car). The whole process of shifting is being executed in a very short period of time. Therefore there's no need to lift your foot. If you lift the foot, shifts are much smoother. So, it depends what you want...

SMG II shifts are basically smooth unless you are in one of the fastest programs (S6 or S5) and you shift between 6500 and 7900 rpm. Then of course it is not the driver's intention to shift smooth but fast and precise - and that's what SMG II does.

SMG II builds "golden bridges" between the ability of very smooth shifting and uncompromising sporty behavior.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Friday, May 03rd, 2002 - 19:58 CET [2]
Is there a time lag between pulling the lever and the actual shift happening?

There's no noticeable lag.

The fastest shifts (S6 @ 6500 - 7900 rpm) feel like one strong bang right at the same time when you operate the paddle... very cool indeed

Maybe one could measure a lag with some high tech equipment. However, not noticeable for the driver.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 19:13 CET [3]
1) I frequently make 2-5 or 3-5 shifts...is this do-able w/ smg2? Is it necessary to hit each gear in sequence? Perhaps not in S-6 but in other, more "everyday" S modes?

2) I also frequently shift to nuetral and coast (watching a light or traffic ahead)...is a 6-N shift achievable? 5-N? Again, I'm guessing NOT in S4-6 but maybe in S1-3???

1) Shifting from 2-5 or 3-5 is possible (even 3 gears in one is possible if you're fast enough). This is done by pressing the paddles as fast as possible, depending on the number of gear changes you want.

2) Shifting from any gear to nuetral is possible. The only requirement is that you let go from the gas pedal.

-LeoBack to Selection list | Monday, February 25th, 2002 - 20:23 CET [4]
Let's say you're driving around 60 KM/h and you're approaching a red light - no cars at the light in front of you. You're in 5th gear in S mode. You're maybe 50 meters away from the light and you're just rolling (no downshifting). Now the light turns green, you're still going maybe 30 KM/h.
DO you
a.) Downshift and step on the gas (from 5th to 2/3rd)?
b.) Just step on the gas and the SMG will select the right gear for you?

Just wondering, because I do that a lot. I usually downshift with my manual but I'm wondering if you have to do the same with the SMG II.

The answer is --> a)

SMG II (S mode) will NOT downshift automatically (UNLESS it is forced to --> driver slowing down all the way without shifting). It will pick the next possible gear... and for sure 2nd gear at very low speed (unless you touch the accelerator again) and then it will shift down to first just as the car is about to stop (foot on the brake !).

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, February 25th, 2002 - 20:16 CET [5]
In one of the previous questions you mentioned that shifting from X-N was possible as long as you lift from the accelerator pedal. If you went 6-N, how would you go from N-3? That is, can you change the gear you will engage while in neutral or must you engage the gears then downshift from where you left?

You switch from a program to N, not from a gear to N ! If you switch back, you find yourself again in the same program that you have had before.

Anyway, you wouldn't do this while the car is in motion.

Hope this answers your Q. If not, feel free to post again.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, December 24th, 2001 - 01:10 CET [6]
Can you coast in neutral with SMG? Pressing the brake might disengage the transmission, and lifting the gas might provide engine braking, but how would you coast? (Say, approaching a red light you don't need to brake for just yet.)

Assuming you can go from program to neutral in gear 6, if you've coasted long enough and wanted to get into gear 3 how would you accomplish this? (Say, the aforementioned light turned green before you stopped completely.)

I'm sorry... I can't exactly see your point (maybe you are a bit confused with the programs and how they work [?]):

I would NEVER shift to N [--> positon "0"] when I was approaching a traffic light ! That makes no sense at all.

You don't ever have to push the stick into N... one exception: in the car wash

Don't forget: the clutch is operated by a computer - there's no need to select N. It's up to the driver to select the right gear at the right time (in S mode) - just if it was a regular manual car.

N is not involved in the process of driving whatsoever.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 11:37 CET [7]
With SMG I, shift times depended on your actual driving style, accelerator position, revs. etc. Now I know that with SMG II that is what the programs are for, but I somehow got the impression that, except for S5+6, I also felt that SMG II changes shift times dependent on the way you drive. Let's say you drive real easy in S4, shift times seemed to take a bit longer, where as in the same S4 when you really step on it, you also get quite quick shift times.
Does SMG II also adjust shift times according to your driving style?

Thanks for your most appreciated feedback

Well, yes... speed of the shifts depends not only on the program but also on the rev. of the engine. The higher you rev the engine, the faster SMG II shifts.

SMG II also adjusts according to your driving style... according to my experience Drive Logic is not only a marketing thing (that's what it is for sure !). I have the impression that my SMG II changed with time.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, February 25th, 2002 - 20:18 CET [8]
Can you downshift and use the motor to help slow the car?

In an earlier response posted on Sep. 20 you made it sound like if you are not on the gas the car automatically goes to neutral sorry 1st or 2nd gear depending on speed.

Absolutely ! Actually I make this all the time !!

you can slow down the car beautifully with downshifts ! I often don't even have to touch the brake. Furthermore it sounds very NICE

But still... if you do NOT DOWNSHIFT and roll up to a traffic light and then just stop, SMG II will automatically pick 1st gear (as you stop the car) - already 2nd at slow speed.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:47 CET [9]
I was wondering what happens in the shifting if you did a lift throttle just before clicking the paddles. I realize it's not necessary, but I rode with a friend in his Ferrari 360 Modena and he was shifting with lift throttle and the shifts were very tame (no sudden jolt) and it actually felt like a manual transmission with an external clutch. I was wondering if shifting like this would preserve the clutch and lessen the jolt in normal driving. Of course, it's really not the way to drive it, but I was just wondering if the computer gets confused.

It behaves quite similarly. Shifts are very tame when you lift your right foot before shifting. But there's no need to do so (read below). The system doesn't get confused at all.

As shifts get faster the higher you rev the engine, you do not have to lift the throttle for this purpose because those shifts around 2000 - 3000 rpm are agreeable and tame. Even in the faster Programs. Now, the closer you come to the redline the more aggressive and faster SMG II shifts. That's something that I appreciate the most because it is excellent for daily driving - you have the best of both worlds "at your fingertips": easy cruisin' and/or fast and aggressive action !

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, December 24th, 2001 - 01:12 CET [10]
When approaching a stop light in a manual, I depress the clutch and coast up near the light, then apply the brake. I do not downshift from, 4-3-2-1, using the transmission to slow me down.
What does SMG II do in this scenario..assuming you are in
4th gear and you let off the gas pedal to approach a stop light, does it engage the clutch and coast or does it stay locked in 4th gear?

We have already answered this question several times !

Please take a couple of minutes and read the FAQ

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Wednesday, January 23rd, 2002 - 20:13 CET [11]
Hi, I find your site very helpful. Great work. I have a euro spec E36 M3 EVO. My next choice will be an M3 SMGII.
Here is a short story: Once I was racing with a 360 Modena F1. When we came to a highspeed turn he easily downshifts and I heard the blip of a throttle, perfectly matched revs; I was very impressed. At that turn (a long high speed left hand turn, going 240 km/h first then had to decrease speed to 190 km/h and had to shift 4th from 5th) I couldn't even shift because I couldn't take my hand of the wheel.
I'm more concerned about downshifting. Because it is possible to upshift fast but difficult to downshift fast and it is very hard to do perfectly matched heel-toeing everytime.

1) what happens when coming to a turn in 4th gear, doing 180 km/h and then brake hard to 120 km/h downshift to 3rd gear and turn in? How does SMGII change gears?

a) Any delay or slip clutch while doing slow rev catch-up or
b) immidiate downshift with a small throttle to match up revs?

Is it also .080 sec quick while downshifting? (I'm only asking in S6 mode) My friend has an M3 SMGI, and his car doesn't downshift as 360 Modena F1 does. He bleps the throttle while downshifting just after a hard brake for a turn.
Thank you for your time..

Thank you !

SMG II downshifts are very impressive... extremely fast and absolutely precise. For me, the downshifts are maybe the most impressive part of the System !

1) Don't worry, the shift from 4th to 3rd will be fast enough (provided you have your foot firmly on the accelerator). SMG II downshifts immediately with virtually no delay (...at higher rev's). It matches the rev's perfectly well ! I don't know how quick those shifts are... but they are FAAAAAAST ! So, the answer is b)

Well, according to experts SMG II is the best and fastest sequential gearbox that is currently available. So, it performs AT LEAST as good as the F1 system known from the 360 modena.

my very personal rating: it's a blast !

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:03 CET [12]
When f.e drive in a manual mode (S5 or S6 or whatever) in the 1st gear and when i hit the rev limiter will the car remain in the 1st gear with the car at max reves or would it rather shift up? Or it doesn't shift automatically otherwise than stopping?

It will hit the rev limiter. It won't shift automatically.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, January 21st, 2002 - 18:46 CET [13]
Can you explain what actually changes in the sequential programs? I understand the automated programs (A1-A5) vary the shift points. But in sequential mode the driver shifts on his own so what is the difference between S1, S2, S3 ... etc?

Thanks, Brian

C'mon, Brian... you are kidding - right

Read the manual and you'll see that speed of the shifts vary. S6 is fastest and S1 shifts slowly (winter mode - like A1). It depends on rpm and program how fast a shift will be executed. There are some very detailed graphs available on this.

oh well... I bet you already knew this

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, January 21st, 2002 - 18:43 CET [14]
a: Lets say your on the freeway and you want to downshift to 5th do you have to take your foot of the gas or could u jus down shift while the foot is still on the gas?

b: Lets say ur on the freeway and want to down shift to 4th gear but your accidently goto 3rd would the computer let you do this or no?

a: You need not let of the gas while downshifting.

b: In certain simuations the computer will not shift gears if it would damage the engine.

-LeoBack to Selection list | Thursday, May 05th, 2005 - 02:34 CET [15]
When drag racing (1/4 mile) and in S6 can you keep the gas floored and shift or would you need to lift a little?

You can always keep the gas floored and shift.

-LeoBack to Selection list | Monday, June 05th, 2006 - 10:31 CET [16]
Is it necessary to press on the brake pedal when shifting gears with the paddles mounted to the steering wheels?

uhhh... Please read the FAQ, if you don't mind

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:45 CET [1]
Do you use left foot braking since the left foot has nothing to do?

No, under normal circumstances your left foot will go into retirement

However, left foot braking is theoretically possible - maybe difficult for tall people.

-LeoBack to Selection list | Monday, February 25th, 2002 - 20:21 CET [2]
How do you park? What gear/mode do you put it in before you turn off the engine and pull up the parking brake?

Basically it doesn't matter what gear and mode you are in when you park the car. However, you cannot park the car in neutral. This would be the same as if you park a manual car "between" the gears (no gear selected). You only need this for the car wash

So, Park the car in any program and turn off the engine. Pull the parking brake if you want. That's it.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, December 24th, 2001 - 01:08 CET [1]
Can you park a BMW SMG II in 1e gear, or do you always have to use the parking brake?

Yes, you can. You must park the car in a gear... It's basically no different than parking a manual car (also what goes for the "parking brake").

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, December 24th, 2001 - 01:11 CET [2]
What happens when you start the engine, does the SMG have to be in neutral? Or the engine can be started with the SMG engaged in either "S" or "A" mode?

Have you experienced problems with your rear differentials? Many complaints are surfacing concerning this component which appear to be poorly designed and failing at a high rate.

Great site by the way. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a SMG M3 next week.

You can only start the engine with the SMG II lever in position "0" - that's neutral. It cannot be started in S or A mode.

I haven't had any problems so far.

Keep us posted with your own SMG II experiences

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, December 24th, 2001 - 01:07 CET [3]
Compared to an Automatic
Is there an automatic mode for traffic?
My dealer said NO, but I heard YES from other sources.

Yes, there is.

SMG II provides 5 automatic programs (5 = fastest). They're OK. However, I for one could live without them. "S" programs are fine with me in city traffic. That's comfortable enough. SMG II offers too many features IMO. But hey... that's not really what I call a problem

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Saturday, December 22nd, 2001 - 12:10 CET [1]
What's the difference between one of the automatic programs and an automatic transmission?


The difference is that automatic SMG II programs still shift with the 6-speed Getrag D gearbox (from the manual M3) and without torque convertor. The computer decides when to shift - in S mode it's up to the driver. SMG II automatic programs have no idle speed.

An automatic transmission has idle speed and a torque convertor.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:20 CET [2]
Is the SMG II system up to A5 or A4? If so, can sub 5 second 0-60 accelerations be obtained with the A5? Thanks for your help.

up to A5.

I don't know how fast one can accelerate to 60 in A5. However, it's definitely one fast auto program. Actually it's the most aggressive Auto that I've driven so far (weird shifts though...)

Once again: I never use A5... If I ever use one of the auto programs, it's A4. I for one could do without the A mode.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:38 CET [3]
HI, Great site.

I am probably beating the horse to death, but--
My wife wants an automatic and I need a stick for my speed jones.

Will the A modes satisfy my wife. The reason she needs an auto is due to an accident where she cannot use her left foot for driving.


Well, she might find the A mode somewhat weird as it shifts / behaves not exactly like a real automatic transmission She could also use the S mode of course - not sure whether she would like it. I suggest she makes a test drive as soon as possible... she must decide for herself. It's very hard to answer this question reasonably from my point of view.

I for one would not buy SMG II because of the A mode. SMG II is a thing for speed addicted people (or track freaks) So, she might find it annoying... who knows.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:10 CET [4]
under the A mode does it shift smoothly or will be a gape between shiftings

what exactly do you mean ?

A mode is quite smooth. However, the shifts are not as fast as in S mode (unless you drive A5 which is quite fast). So, there's a rather big shift lag - especially in comparison to the S Programs IMO. As I already mentioned, I'm not the greatest supporter of A mode... It's OK but not exciting IMO.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:12 CET [5]
When in A mode, do you have to release the accelerator to shift or will it shift "correctly" just by keeping your foot on the accelerator?? It seems to be herky-jerky in A mode by just depressing foot on the accelerator. Am I doing something wrong?

I never release the accelerator while shifting (regardless what mode or program I'm driving in). Although... Sometimes, when I have a passenger in my car, I slightly lift the foot in order to produce a smooth shift.

Now, when I want to slow down or stop the car because of traffic or a trafiic light, it is a different story of course - then I lift the foot when down shifting !

Otherwise there's no need to lift the foot whatsoever.

If you want to drive extra smoothly then you can make it change up by releasing the accelerator just slightly - Your passengers might be grateful

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Saturday, January 19th, 2002 - 18:06 CET [6]



thank you We do our best...

All you read on this page is based on our very own experience and opinion. A site like this is always very subjective. Therefore I didn't write much about the A mode as I personally don't really like it

For me, driving one of the A programs is weird. It doesn't feel like a "real" auto transmission. I'm not happy with the shift points in most programs... actually A4 is the only program that I use from time to time. A5 (first shift @4000 rpm if you step gently on the accelerator !) is just too much (overdone !) unless you want to drive aggressively ... but then again S5 or S6 are of course MUCH better for this purpose ! All other A programs (A1-A3) shift way too slow for my taste. Moreover A mode is not as smooth as one of the "Top" auto transmissions. If you want a smooth and fast auto transmission you better buy a C32 AMG - if you expect SMG II A mode to be something like Mercedes' SpeedShift, you'll be very disappointed. Therefore I keep saying that one shouldn't buy SMG II only because it provides some A programs. That would definitely be a mistake (...quite a bad one !) IMO. So, to sum it up, one can say that the "timing" of the A programs is not for me. It's just weird IMO

HOWEVER, A Mode is not what SMG II is all about ! Absolutely NOT !! Basically one can say that I myself only use 2 programs: S5 and S6 - I would have paid the same amount if SMG II was only available with those two programs They are well worth the money IMO ! Nobody will ever need 11 Programs ... 3 or 4 Programs would be enough.

Well, what goes for your wife... I can image that she might not like the M3 and SMG II if she likes her 5 Series with auto transmission (especially when she thinks that the 5 Series was/is her best car). I just had such a car (525d A) as a spare car when my M was in for a diagnostic check because of an SMG II failure. The M3 is of course extremely harsh in comparison to any 5 series (exception: M5). Furthermore SMG II is nowhere as smooth as a BMW auto transmission (regardless what mode you take...). SMG II was not created to be smooth... Actually that's one of the main reasons why I like it For my taste it is smooth enough for a daily driver. But I know that some will not like it... and that's OK

Alright... I hope this was helpful

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:15 CET [7]
Is it hard to adjust from an automatic transmission to the SMG?. Can someone that can’t drive stick drive with the SMG?

It is very easy in my opinion.

The thing you have to remember is that the shifts won't be as smooth as with a real automatic.

The smoother you press the accelerator the smoother the shifts will be however.

Anyone can use the "A" modes!

-LeoBack to Selection list | Monday, December 24th, 2001 - 11:25 CET [8]
Compared to a 6-speed Manual
Do you think that the SMG is equal to the 6 speed in performance?

Yes, IMO it's equal.

I have driven both M3's and I think performance wise they are more or less the same.

Furthermore BMW claim for both M3's (SMG II and manual) the same acceleration numbers.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:14 CET [1]
What is the weight difference between the SMG II and the manual?

There was a rumor that the SMG II M3 is lighter than the manual M3 which is not correct

According to the German Sports car magazine "Sport Auto" The SMG II M3 is actually 6 Kg (ca. 12 lbs...) heavier than the manual M3. Don't know whether these cars have had different equipment (not only SMG II) which could also be responsible for the weight difference. Nonetheless - here are the "Sport Auto" results:

manual M3: 1584 Kg
SMG II M3: 1590 Kg

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:16 CET [2]
What happens as the clutch wears? If it starts to chatter, do the electronics compensate, or does it just get rougher and rougher over time like a chattering manual clutch.
Perhaps the computer treats the clutch so gently its life is extended, but I would find that hard to believe.

I'm sorry, I cannot answer this question because I only have 7000 Km on my car right now. Nothing changed so far.

However I think generally the computer treats the clutch gently. I can imagine that the SMG II clutch might have an extended life in comparison to a manual clutch. Or at least it shouldn't be worse - SMG II shifts better than I do in a manual car.

What I know for sure is that the launch control wears the clutch (of course !) - as per BMW the launch control is something that shouldn't be used frequently. I have been told when I picked up my car that the warranty is void when I bring in my car with clutch problems and they discover on the "black-box" that I used the launch control many times.

So, it would be a mistake to believe one can use launch control every day !

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:20 CET [3]
How come all tests of the E46 M3 with the Manual have been faster acceleration than the SMG version? Only this is a reason not to have SMG I am refferring to tests in Sport Auto and AMS.

Don't know. That's a good question.

I struggled with the same concern when I had to spec my M3. I told my dealer that I wasn't too impressed with the SMG II reviews because they all got slower acceleration numbers.

However, this must be a paper thing because my opinion is that the SMG II M3 is as fast as the manual M3. To be honest I think mine feels even faster than the manual M3 which I had for a testdrive (my dealer's demo car).

BMW say that both M3 are capable of running the same times. It is of course easier with the SMG II M3.

Furthermore I wonder whether BMW cheated with the pre-production test cars. Because those test results are still the best. No mag managed to match their own results from their initial M3 test. "Sport Auto" and "Auto Motor und Sport" now have the same acceleration numbers for the manual M3... ca. 0.3 s slower than in their first review. Btw... "Autobild" actually quoted that the SMG II was faster than the manual M3 in their test. There really is a wide range of results.

Well, I just returned from a fantastic day in the Swiss mountains and it was very demanding for my car It happened today that I thought to myself: "this car is a monster" Breathtaking performance all day long (up to 2600 m above sea level). In the end I can assure you that my SMG II M3 is a very fast car - So, therefore I think other SMG II M3's might be fast too

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:21 CET [4]
Do you feel that it isn't as fun without a clutch pedal and a H-pattern shifter even though the SMG does behave like a real manual transmission?

Please read the FAQ.

I think you'll find an answer...

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:26 CET [5]
I just ordered my M3 yesterday ... with a manual tranny.
Please talk me into believing SMG isn't a lazy poseur.
I will change my order if I believe the SMG is a superior RACE option. Please help

Please read this site and others on the web.

Visit message boards or forums to get more information what other people think.

If possible do a test drive!

You will have to convince yourself if you want SMG II or not.

-LeoBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:28 CET [6]
Is the SMG II system in your opinion better for performance or is the manual?

SMG II is definitely better for performance.
Faster shifting and no clutch activity by the driver make for higher concentration on the tasks at hand - driving.
My opinion this puts SMG II in an unbeatable position for track use.

-LeoBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:36 CET [7]
Just to clear some stuff up about the SMG II, the 0-62 acceleration is 5.2 seconds and 0-60 acceleration is below 5 seconds correct? Since the SMG II is supposed to be equal to the six speed in performance. Thanks for your help.

Thats correct.

For both manual and SMG II they are

0-60 mph 4.8 sec
0-62 mph (= 0-100 Km/h) 5.2 sec

-LeoBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:56 CET [8]
In your own opinion, does the SMG II accelerate as fast as the manual M3, because in recent reviews I've seen 0-60 acceleration figures for the manual at a disappointing 5 seconds, while BMW NA claims a 0-60 of at least 4.8 seconds. Then again, I've read in another magazine that the manual M3 they tested accelerated from 0-60 in 4.65 seconds. =)

A very skilled driver using a manual will be just as fast as SMG II. It might even be slightly faster (given a perfect launch). The problem is that hardly anybody will be able to launch a manual car all the time in such a perfect way.

On the Nurburgring both systems achieved the same lap times (with pro drivers !).

-LeoBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:15 CET [9]
Fast Starts, Launch Control and the S6 Program
Can you burnout the same in an M3 SMG II as in a regular M3? And if so, how do you do it?


One can beautifully burnout an SMG II equipped M3. Just step on it as hard as you can... and I really mean "hard" (DSC off - of course...) and your tyres are going bye bye

I practised burnout's today and still have this big grin on my face Way cool !

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, December 24th, 2001 - 01:16 CET [1]
are you able to post faster times without LC, 1300 rpms and very little wheelspin. M/T magazine netted 0-60 in 4.65 seconds with this technique. No need for LC with 3500 rpms clutch drops.

I cannot answer this question.

However, LC is the fastest possible way to launch the car (as per BMW). I'm not able to match the LC performance whatsoever. The biggest advantage of LC is that the system controls wheel spin --> limited slip ! You need good grip though

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Thursday, January 03rd, 2002 - 21:14 CET [2]
With your LC, How many times are you allowed to use before your warranty is void? I hear 30

Don't know if there is an official limit.

However, I have been told that I shouldn't use it too often. I only used it twice so far...

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:36 CET [3]
How do you launch the SMG car when not using LC? Would you do a brake-launch like an automatic car?

Very easy...

Put into 1st gear and just step on it. The only problem is to avoid extensive wheel spin (with DSC off).

You can take off fast enough - very easy indeed.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Tuesday, February 19th, 2002 - 14:31 CET [4]
So would you say that if you got good enough at the starts could you be as quick as the LC?

No, I couldn't.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:38 CET [5]
What is LC? And how does it work?

LC stands for Launch Control.
It gives you maximum possible acceleration for the M3.

Here is how it works:

First deactivate DSC.

Then select S6 mode.

While the car is standing still push the select lever forward and hold it there.

Then fully depress ('slowly' for optimal acceleration or 'fast' for wheel spin) the accelerator peddal.

The engine will then go up to 3,500 rpm (1,800 rpm in NA). Now all you have to do is let go of the select lever and POW, your of doing the best possible acceleration with limited slip

Here the official Data sheet from BMW.

-LeoBack to Selection list | Tuesday, December 24th, 2002 - 17:44 CET [6]
How would you rate a launch in S6 without launch control? Would you be competitive if going against a good driver in a manual M3?

Yes, you would rate it to be just as competitive going against a manual M3.
Again, it always comes down to driver skills.

-LeoBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 19:14 CET [7]
Do you think you can achieve a 0-60 time of under 5.0 sec if launching in S6 without lauch control. I know you don't have the equipment to precisely answer this question, but a rough guess would suffice. I am just trying to get an idea of how fast a lauch without LC is or could be. Thanks for all the help.

I think you'll understand that I cannot answer this Q with "yes" or "no" - because I just don't know (and I can't measure it).

Here's what I can say:
- you can launch it FAST in S6 - without LC (I did only 3 launches so far with LC)
- you're constantly fast
- Don't think that I could launch a manual M3 CONSTANTLY faster. The manual might (should) be slightly faster given a perfect launch IMO.
- launching an SMG II equipped car is a sure bet (no mistakes !) --> great if you like street racing...
- Only problem is to avoid too much wheel spin (...if you really step on it aggressively !)
- I wasn't able to launch my (manual) M Roadster as fast as the M3
- Don't think that there are many people out there who are able to launch a car faster than SMG II (S6)
- trust me, it's fast... and it provides plain REAL LIFE performance
- I'd take SMG II every day over a manual for any kind of performance driving because it takes an excellent driver in a manual car to equalize the advantages of SMG II (given a good driver !)... now, if you are an excellent driver and you have SMG II, it's even better

MAKE NO MISTAKE, not everybody is able to get the best out of SMG II !! A bad driver in an SMG II equipped M3 is STILL a bad driver !

Hope this was somewhat helpful

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:57 CET [8]
I know you guy love these questions, so I will appologize now for it.

A. Do you think it is possible to hit the 4.8 sec 0-60 in S5 mode with Lauch Control off and obviously no Lauch Control. (You can guess) Not looking for facts, just opinion.

B. Is the performance still amazing in S5, does it still make you go, "This is the coolist thing I have ever driven," or do you think I will be dissapointed.

P.S. We have no chance of a test drive here in the states. So you are the only good source for information. The dealers have really no idea whats going on with SMG II.

Ok, enough is enough!

One more LC or S6 question and I'm going to bust

I can't take this anymore!

I'm going to answer this one....

... when I find the right words

Stay tuned

-LeoBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:58 CET [9]
Guess you have answered almost any question's, even the very stupid one's (mostly from Uncle Sam's son's)...both of you deserve at least a medal from BMW's sales + marketing dept. or better even a credit note on the SMG II order

Earlier you talked about LC (S6) and some "limited" warranty, based on how many LC starts your SMG II system would had to sustain.
Sounds rather unlikely that a company like BMW would market such a system under these conditions.

French "sport-auto" magazine in its comparison of M3 SMG vs. F360 (in which the SMG II is rated higher then the sequencial gearbox from the F360) just talked about a big "bang" coming from the differencial at each gear change in LC mode. They say that only time will decide on it's reliability

1. Is there any clearly written evidence on this fact in the user manual, or is this just a nice joke from your dealer?

2. Is there any clear statement about a certain number of permitted LC starts covered by the warranty.

3. How would this comply with the unlimited 100.000 km warranty BMW offers in Switzerland?

Should get my M3 SMG arround April 2002 :fire (by then my M3 Lim. will round up 200.000 km) which I ordered after a short test drive arround the block.

Thanks for your patience!

thank you very much

1./2. Well, regarding LC... I didn't find anything in the SMG II manual. It only states that LC wears the clutch above-average. According to BMW one LC start equals 10'000 Km of normal driving in clutch wear! However, there's no official limit as far as I know

Yes, SMG II shifts can be quite loud... I know what "bang" they mean. Nonetheless, there's nothing that I wouldn't consider "normal"... hey man, that's a sports car, not a luxurious cruiser - such a car makes some noises Anyway, since I have the Eisenmann exhaust, I don't hear the shifts anymore

3. Clutch wear is anyway not covered by the "Service Plus" warranty (free Service for 100'000 Km or 3 Years)

Keep us posted with your own SMG II experiences !

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:08 CET [10]
True or false: You have to switch DSC OFF before the S6 program is made available.

I've heard that this is true in the U.S. but don't know about other markets.

This is true.

Same goes for Europe.

-LeoBack to Selection list | Thursday, December 27th, 2001 - 00:45 CET [11]
Thanks for all the info!!

I was under the impression that SMGII in launch control automatically did the 1st to 2nd upshift. Got lucky and have both the speed restrictor disconnected and the 3500 RPM launch control from the factory (My previous E46M3 manual also was speed derestricted)!! However on my U.S. car, the Launch control won't shift to 2nd automatically; is this normal for all SMGIIs or just N/A?

Dan Law

SMG II in LC does not shift automatically from 1st to 2nd - it never did and it never will . You were missinformed.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, January 21st, 2002 - 18:48 CET [12]
I pose this question at risk of it going unanswered (per your rules on repetitive querys) but in reading all the posts this question hasn't been asked in 3 years and there still appears to be contradictory conclusions

So, here it goes: I have a '04 US model -- does my car have S6, does it have Launch Control, if so how do I engage / use it, and lastly, what are the warranty implications.

Many thanks in advance, and thanks for a great website -- it is by far the most comprehensive (and fun ) site I've ever seen hosted by enthusiasts, no matter what the sport! Thanks!

Yes, you're '04 has S6.

To get to S6 you need to deactivate DSC.

Then select S6 mode.

While the car is standing still push the select lever forward and hold it there.

Then fully depress ('slowly' for optimal acceleration or 'fast' for wheel spin) the accelerator pedal.

The engine will then go up to about 1,800 rpm. Now all you have to do is let go of the select lever and POW, your off doing the best possible acceleration with limited slip

Frankly there is nothing on warranty implications that I know off for the US. Nonetheless I would avoid using LC as it is rough on the clutch.

Thanks for the ultimate compliment!

-LeoBack to Selection list | Thursday, February 12th, 2004 - 21:13 CET [13]
Moving from a Stop
How about that hill start program, can you tell us a little about how that works?

That is one useful and neat feature

One must only pull (and hold) the left paddle for ca. 1-2 s (foot on the brakes). The computer measures the ascent of the hill and matches the revs so that the car almost holds the position (it still rolls slightly backwards).

One should activate the assistant just before the hill starts as it only matches the revs for ca. 4 s from the moment when one lifts the foot from the brakes. If one keeps the foot on the brakes, the system will hold the revs. I for one wouldn't keep the assistant activated for a longer time.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Saturday, January 19th, 2002 - 18:07 CET [1]
1) Can you rev the motor while stopped at a light?
2) If the answer is yes you put it in neutral, can you also do this while the car is moving?

1) Yes, you can. Push the joystick one position to the left and you're in neutral. Then you can rev the engine of course

2) If I remember correctly I tried this once and it wasn't possible (...to push the joystick to the left while driving)

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:22 CET [2]
At how many revs does the clutch start to engage, when parking, or slowly moving away on a flat surface?

I'm sorry. I can't give a precise answer here... At very low revs.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:27 CET [3]
How does it work in very heavy stop and go creeping trafffic? With a normal stick shift one would be driving in first gear and going on and off the clutch. How does the SMG II handle this? When the car is slowing does it disengage the clutch (as one would do controlling the clutch manually)? A similar question would arise in any very slow driving regime, such as in a parking garage.

Absolutely no problem... Actually it happens quite often to me that I have to drive in heavy traffic. I was already stuck in several traffic jams.

SMG II is not only impressive when driven fast and aggressive but also when driven extremely slow - in heavy traffic i.e. And don't forget... you still have the auto mode for your convenience. However, usually I drive in S5 - also in heavy traffic.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:28 CET [4]
Let's say the car comes with the SMG II, If you park the car uphill, when you change to 1st gear after started the car, and you dont give any gas, will the car move backward like the manual version, or stay where it is or moving slowly forward as the automatic version? Or if it is on the S mode will it be completely as the manual version and when it is in the A mode, will it be completely automatic?

The car will move backward like a manual car. SMG II is no auto and has no idle speed (--> does not creep). There's no difference between S and A mode what goes for this.

However, depending on the ascent of the hill you may use the climb assistant.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:28 CET [5]
Does the car creep up when you have it in Gear and the foot off the brake (and gas of course), just like an automatic? Or does it stay in place, as it would if you have the clutch pushed in all the way. Please answer for both S and A modes. Thanks, and keep up the good work.

SMG II does not creep at all.

-LeoBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:29 CET [6]
How do you get the fastest acceleration from a stoplight using the SMG?

select S6 (or S5), switch DSC off and floor it. It needs some practise because otherwise you have too much wheel spin.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:31 CET [7]
1) You guys are doing a great job!

A.) When you start the car at rest & then proceed to select 1st gear, before applying the gas pedal you are in a "netrual" state, where the engine speed is at idle & no vehicle movement occurs...is this correct?

B.)As you apply the gas pedal in 1st gear, the clutch slips and then fully engages at some engine speed & vehicle speed. Say you launch the car at 1/4 gas pedal movement, then 1/2 pedal movement, & then full pedal movement (flooring it!). Will the SMGII allow the clutch to slip the same amount, therefore fully engageing the clutch at about the same engine rpms? About what engine rpm does the clutch fully engaged at?

c.) When I launch my manual transmission at full throttle I'll slip the clutch till 2500 rpms or maybe a little higher(modulating the clutch pedal). At lower throttles launches I'll slip my clutch less, with engine speeds of 1200-1500rpm occuring when I've fully engaged the clutch. Does the SMGII compensate and allow more clutch slip to occur at higher throttle launches & less clutch slippage during lower throttle launches?

D.) I'm asking the above questions because I saw the moive of you launching your car. It look as though the vehicle's acceleration rate slows down as the clutch seems to fully engage (also this event seems to occur at low engine rpms?)? The full enagement of the clutch seems to "delay" the vehicle's acceleration a bit, as the car's nose dips down slightly, shortly after take off..then picks back up as the engine races to high engine speeds in 1st gear. Does this "engagement event" seem to delay acceleration & hurt the launch "feel" of the car? Or is this launch event smooth from in the driver's seat?

E.) During lower throttle launches does the car ever seem to "shudder" or "buck"? Or is it very smooth during these lower power launch events?

F.) Sorry for all the questions...but any help would be great (I'm ordering my car in 2 weeks)!

1) Thank you

A.) At rest: as soon as you select the program, you're automatically in 1st gear. So, actually you select the program, not the gear. The car will not move (unless you are on uneven surface)

B.) I'm sorry, but this question is almost impossible to answer. All I can say is that everything happens very quick !

C.) I cannot answer this question. Everything happens extremely precise and fast - far better than I could ever do it with a manual transmission.

D.) Please note that in the Video with my car we had a rolling start. So, I didn't launch the car in that movie ! Nothing slows down or gets delayed at all. The acceleration is immediate and strong. The acceleration gets stronger the closer you come to redline. The launch "feel" is relatively linear, smooth and strong. No delays, no lags, no miss-shifts

E.) It depends on your driving style Basically it is smooth and immediate. However, the car is very sensitive with SPORT on (same as the manual)... it all depends on the driver.

F.) Good luck with it

Hope this was somewhat helpful

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:42 CET [8]
1) can I put the car in nutral, rev the engine to 1500 rpm, then pop it into 1st and run through the gears?

2) Or would it be more effective to just have the car in 1st and nail the gas?

3) Without S6 & Launch Con. what do you think is the best way to optimise the 0-60 time?

1) hmm... good Question. I don't know - didn't try it. Such things are risky and not necessary. You're fast enough if you just floor it !

2) Yes, definitely ! that's more effective.

3) As far as I know the US will get S6. So, select S6 and then step on it - as if you launch a car with a powerful automatic transmission. It's more or less the same what goes for launching the car. only one exception: SMG II does NOT creep ! Then of course it's up to the driver to shift at the right (or desired) time...

btw: the difference between S5 and S6 is not very big.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:59 CET [9]
I don't think I've read this -what happens if you are stopped say at a light. you have L foot holding the brake and you touch the gas?

1) Does it act like being in neutral?

2) does the computer prevent the engine from revving?

3) Now depending on the above IF you are stopped, with L foot on brake and R depressing the gas, and you release the brake. Does it "pop" the clutch? dpes it decrease engine revs?

am in the process of ordering an M3 in the US and have some reservations about the smgII.


walter R in RI

1) No. It does act like a car in 1st gear - as soon as you touch the accelerator. Doesn't matter whether you have your left foot on the brake or not

2) No.

3) No. As a consequence...

why would you do this anyway ???

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:01 CET [10]
Hi Lot's of excellent info!

Here's my question. Is the "hill assist" really necessary? Why not just use the hand brake to hold the car just like a standard manual gearbox? When you feel the car start to go, just release the hand brake! This we seem to be easier on the clutch.

Just curious. I hopefully get my (US ) spec car in 3.5 weeks - just ordered it last Saturday!

- The Scotsman


Yes, that's a good question... And I believe you're right. You can use the hand brake of course... The hill assistant is nice though - it's a toy

basically there are three possibilities for hill starts:
1) you just lift your foot from the brake and immediately step on the accelerator
2) SMG II hill assistant
3) regular hill start with hand brake

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:03 CET [11]
I frequently drive my manual transmission BMW's in very slow traffic. I either engage the clutch slowly in first gear without pressing the throttle or very lightly press the throttle while engaging the clutch slowly and then release the throttle immediately. Either way, the car then moves at "idle speed" in first gear. Is this possible with the SMG II tranmission? Thank you for your time and response.

No, that's not possible. SMG II has no idle speed... it does not creep.

SMG II does everything that is necessary in such a situation. But it doesn't feel exactly the same as if you do what you described with a manual transmission.

In slow traffic you drive gently with the accelerator (more or less like an automatic). Be careful with the SPORT mode... because the car is very sensitive if SPORT is engaged.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:10 CET [12]
and another question: as far as i understand, the A1-mode launches the car in 2nd gear, all other A-modes in 1st - now, regading the upcomming snow [maybe :-)] in switzerland: how about launching the car in 2nd gear in S-modes?
is that only possible in S1, in all S-modes or is it not possible?

tnx 4 a short statement.

btw: congrats andreas and leo - gooooooood work!

Yes, one can launch the car in 2nd gear in S mode. You just shift to 2nd gear and then you step on the accelerator.

I tried it today (on snow and ice *brrrr* ) in S5. It was no problem... Moreover it was very adequate on such an icy surface

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:13 CET [13]
When you activate the climb assistant on level ground during start off, does it help a better launch?

No. It won't help for a better launch.

The climb assistant cannot be activated on even surface anyway

-LeoBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:14 CET [14]
On a manual transmission, if your car is standing still for a long period, say around 2 or more minutes at a stoplight or traffic jam, you will shift the gear into neutral to avoid having to keep the clutch depressed. With SMG II, is better to follow this practice to save wear and tear on the clutch or is it unecessary? That means shifting from 1 to 0 and then back to 1 when you are ready to go.

I wouldn't shift to "0" ! Actually I never push the lever to position "0". You can easily leave your car in the program for a longer time without moving. SMG II manages the clutch for you.

However, I cannot tell you about technical details of course.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:14 CET [15]
USA version
I have read on the bmwusa.com web site that the SMG II for US will not have the S6 option, does this mean that it wont have the .08 seconds shifts? and Launch Control will be removed?

It has been confirmed that the US version has the S6 program with the .08 second shifts and have Launch Control, albiet launch will be at 1,800 rpm instead of 3,500 rpm.

-LeoBack to Selection list | Thursday, December 27th, 2001 - 00:47 CET [1]
SMG II USA Confirmed that S5 mode for US will have 80 millisecond gear changes That means you will get the same performance as the Euro M3 in S6 This is without Launch Control BMW USA states they do not feel the Launch Control feature is worth the cost and damage it can cause to the transmission They also do not feel that DCS should be turned off at anytime, which is a requirement of Launch Control. So they just revamped the S5 mode to equal S6 in performance An yes, you can still turn DCS off at anytime

Confirmed 10/11/01 BMW USA

More info at bmwusa.com (go to build bmw, then m3 coupe,then options, next to SMG II (see small note pad to right), click and you will see they have more clearly addressed the 80 millisecond gear changes

JT Florida USA

1) yes, I hope S5 in the US equals S6 in Europe

2) LC is not very important IMO. I used it only twice so far...

3) You can switch DSC off in every single program. It has nothing to do with S6... However, S6 is ONLY available with DSC off. Think you mixed something up (?)

4) if you can a) switch off DSC and b) have 0.08 s shifts, everything is OK

Updated 26-Dec-01: The US has the S6 program. As far as we know US S5 = Europe S5 and US S6 = Europe S6. Europe LC is @ 3,500 rpm - US Launch Control is @ 1,800 rpm.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Thursday, December 27th, 2001 - 00:51 CET [2]
Is it true that SMG comes with the rear park distance control? I don't need a computer to help me parallel park, and personally I think the modules on the bumpers are a total eye sore. Thanks for the wonderful reading material

In the US, the PDC option is included with SMG at no additional charge (as of Nov '01).

Otherwise PDC is optional with SMG.

-LeoBack to Selection list | Monday, December 24th, 2001 - 01:19 CET [3]
How much the SMG II option cost? in the u.s.

Please visit BMW USA for prices.

-LeoBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:04 CET [4]
European version
Controls (Paddles, Stick, Etc.) and Displays
How long did it take you to get used to changing gear with the paddles?

Actually you learn quiet fast.

There are just a few things you have to remember:

- SMG II has no clutch pedal, so one foot rests
- You don't have a stickshift to change gears with
- Your hands do all the work now
- Gear changes in mode 5 or 6 are fast so be prepared

-LeoBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:23 CET [1]
Is it possible to shift up/down with the lever instead of the paddles?

Yes, the lever or joystick can also be used for shifting up or down gears.

You would need to shift via joystick when turning into very tight corners because your hand position might not reach the shift paddles as your making several rotations of the steering wheel.

-LeoBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:24 CET [2]
Simple question, are the SMG joystick and paddles lit up at night?

simple answer... No.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:25 CET [3]
If you're accelerating HARD (continuous max pedal) where do the shift lights illuminate? Always at redline? Variable w/ the next gear?

No, not always at redline - variable.

Don't ask me when, where and how...

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:26 CET [4]
If you move from S to A, does the system remember your last program, i.e. if you last used A4, will you get that again when switching back to A from S2, for example?


When I switch from S5 to A mode, I'm in A4 which is the last A-Program that I've driven. When I switch back to S mode, I'm back in S5.

Only exception is S6 in case you switch the DSC on and off (S6 is only available with DSC off).

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:27 CET [5]
When you shift using SMG peddles or shift stick does it make a "click" sound.

You don't hear anything at all.

It's absolutely quiet when pressing the peddles or shift stick (joystick).

-LeoBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:29 CET [6]
Is the steering wheel fixed or does it telescope? If it does telescope do the paddles move with the wheel or are THEY fixed?

The steering wheel telescopes in all directions. The paddles are fixed to the steering wheel and thus move with it
Check out "E46 M3 SMG II Impressions" or "E46 M3 SMG II from Andreas" for pictures of the paddles mounted behind the wheel.

-LeoBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:36 CET [7]
If you are using the joystick aggresivley (track event ,et c), is there any safeguard to prevent accidentally shifting into Reverse?

Good question.

I don't know... I'm sorry. But I bet you cannot select R while you're in motion.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:36 CET [8]
In SMG II can you switch to both Sport mode and switch DSC off?

yes, of course !

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:41 CET [9]
Is it possible to ruin your transmission if your in S mode and suddenly manually switch with the gear stick from...let's say 4th gear to 1st?

No, that's not possible.

The computer will avoid such stupid things

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:42 CET [10]
A "visual aesthetics" question ...do you know if the joystick and/or its surrounding base will be, or are currently, available in any other styles (eg, black high gloss, or wood trim)?

I don't think so.

However, I don't know for sure.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:43 CET [11]
I've seen pictures of the rev LEDs, and one picture showed two red LEDs at the high end and one at the lower end. I understand that the high red LEDs indicate when u shld shift up, but what I am wondering is are there red LEDs on the lower end signalling when to shift down?

No, there are no LED's that indicate when one should downshift.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:43 CET [12]
Andreas and Leo,

thanks for all the good work in this FAQ.
I have read all the questions and answers. I ordered my M3 SMG 2 in september 2001. It will be delivered in april 2002.
Here in Holland it is impossible to make a test drive in a SMG, even if you are a serieus buyer. BMW Holland is not a nice company to work with

Now my question:
when the engine is cold the shift-lights indicate the moment to shift gear, for example at 5500 rtm. Does it only give an indication or does it really reduce the engine power (or shift to the next gear in A)at 5500 rtm?

Glad you enjoy our FAQ. Good luck with your car... hope the wait is not killing you Btw... I ordered SMG II blindly too - and I love it. So, don't feel bad just because you cannot test drive it. It's a good thing

Alright, the warm-up lights... to be honest, I don't know. I never rev my car immediately to 5000 rpm when cold. Therefore I don't know whether the light's are just kind of recommendation or a real "limiter".

I THINK it's only a recommendation. Anyway, I believe it's important to warm up the car gently

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:58 CET [13]
1) Does the valet key have any effect on SMG? For example, will the valet key permit operation only in the "A" modes?

2) When you start the car, does it start up in the mode you last left it in?

Thanks for your help.

1) that was a good question... also useful for myself as I had to try it

I didn't notice any effects or changes... with the valet key, my car (SMG II) does exactly the same.

2) I have already answered this question in the FAQ... please look it up

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:09 CET [14]
My SMG dashboard display seems to be backwards. When I am in automated mode the display indicates "S", and when I am in sequential mode the display indicates "A". Why is this? Can it be fixed?

It was designed like that and is not broken.

What your seeing on the SMG display is the mode that you want to select next NOT the mode your in!

I will admit it is somewhat wierd but you quickly get used to it

-LeoBack to Selection list | Friday, December 28th, 2001 - 19:04 CET [15]
Ok I just got my 2002 M3 w/ SMGII, actually about 2 hours ago.
And I noticed a potential problem...
First, the large number indicator showing which gear one is in flashes after moving, and continues to flash until the car is turned off. Is this how it's supposed to be?

Second, the dash light that is indicated by a gear with an "!" in it comes on after a bit of driving. The manual says this is "bad", and that my SMGII is malfunctioning. The odd thing is... I've detected no malfunction, granted I just got the car and am taking it easy for the first 1k miles or so, but anyone else had this "issue"?

Third, when do the tach yellow and red lights "move"? Mine have stayed at 8k rpms for redline and 7.5k for yellow... this may be the aformentioned "malfunction"?


I'm no mechanic or SMG Engineer but

1. the number should not be flashing while your driving the car.

2. as stated in the manual.

3. When the car (oil) is cold all lights should be on. When the engine warms up the lights will turn of one by one with only 1 yellow and one red remaining on.

I would definitely take the car to a BMW service dealer!

-LeoBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 30th, 2001 - 20:46 CET [16]
Leo and Andreas thanks for your wonderful page on the Engineering masterpiece SMG II.

I saw a question about the gear display blinking and the SMG warning light coming on. This happened to me as well hours after I picked up M3! I immediately called the dealer and took it to get serviced. The light only came on after tha car had been driving for a while so I wasn't able to reproduce the warning light for the BMW mechanics. However the gears still blinked but nothing seemed mechanically wrong so I continued driving. The light came on a few more times and the gears continued to blink. After the 1200 mile service I saw the warning light come on only 1 time more then one day everything went back to normal gears stopped blinking and the warning light has yet to return. Was there a glitch in the early US 2002 SMG II M3 models? I got mine in December

Thanks, Brian

Is it possible that the hood of the car or one of the doors was not properly closed? If that was the case, the gear number would have blinked...

Otherwise it would be strange

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, January 21st, 2002 - 18:44 CET [17]
Personal Observations of Leo and Andreas
Andreas, you had one of the first SMGII M3s (week 26 production) - were they only available in Switzerland from week 25, or other markets as well? UK is just available now.

Yes, that's right. My car is one of the very early SMG II M3's. I don't know what happened to the UK market. However, SMG II cars have been delivered in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and other European countries as from week 25 / 26 (2001).

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:30 CET [1]
Now that you have had your car for awhile,

1) in which mode do you find yourself driving in the most?

2) How many times have you used LC? I can't wait to get mine, WK 46....

3) Did you get PDC? Us in the states, this is mandatory with SMG...

1) S5... all the time (unless I drive in S6 )

2) twice

3) Yes, I have PDC

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:37 CET [2]
Great job guy's. SMG I owner picking up new car tomorrow (02 Nov 01)

1. How often do you find yourself using the stick as opposed to the paddles.
2. With relation to (1), is this dictated by the speed, style you are driving at?
3. I've noted that you spend most of your time in S6. Do what % of the time do you have the sport button engaged?
4. During the initial 1200 mile run in period, what mode did you find the most usable?

Thanks and once again, great job guys...

Thank you !

1. quite often... I use it always (and only) in combination with the paddles - if it is not possible to operate the paddles fast enough (we already described such situation in the FAQ)

2. Yes and no... in some situations you have to shift with the stick - regardless what speed / style you are driving at.

3. No, that's not correct. Usually I drive S5. 75% of the time I have SPORT on.

4. S5 , no problem... although you should stay below 5500 rpm

Good luck with your new car Would be nice if you share your impressions with us !

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:46 CET [3]
Andreas, I know you live in Europe and that is definitely a different scenario than that of the US. I know that I would thoroughly enjoy SMG II if I lived somewhere with nice mountains and beautiful curvy roads. Unfortunately, I don't live in such a place and have to deal with a flat and boring terrain. Well, at least the perfectly straight roads make up for it . My question is the following:

1) If you lived somewhere similar to where I live, with even surfaces and grid-like roads, would you still opt for SMG II?

2) How big a part did your environment play in your selection of SMG II?

Thanks for everything; you guys have been very helpful.

1) Well, that's just me... I believe I'd get it also in your area. But it's correct that SMG II can really make a (big) difference in a place with demanding twisty roads rather than in a flat area. I believe it is important to understand that SMG II was designed for race tracks or other demanding roads - not for convenience. I would NEVER buy it because of the A mode !! That would be a mistake. There are better automatic performance cars around (CLK 55 AMG or C32 AMG with SpeedShift). I'm not the greatest supporter of SMG II A-Programs... OK, nonetheless, I for one would still opt for SMG II if I was in your area because those S Programs (S5 and S6) are so much Fun !

2) SMG II is undoubted excellent for the Swiss roads - especially for those breathtaking twisty roads in the mountains ! It was an issue but not the main reason.

Thanks for your Feedback

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:59 CET [4]
Andreas and Leo......i gotta give it to you guyz....u have the most awesome site about the SMG II on the web. Well, when you relieve the stress of answering all those questions, answer this one, hehe. What's the highest speed you ever gone on your SMG II equipped M3. Once again, great site and keep up the good work!!

178 mph when I'm done with mine

Oh... the wait is a hurt'n


that was about 155 mph... on the German Autobahn

Thanks for your feedback

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:00 CET [5]
What weaknesses of SMG II did you discover so far ?

What goes for the shifts, I think I can name three weaknesses (S mode !):

1) When one is slowly (!) driving in 2nd gear and then needs to downshift to 1st (foot tamely on the accelerator - not coasting !), the actual shift happens very slow ! That makes sense of course, because the revs are very low and one doesn't need a fast shift as one is obviously not in a hurry Nonetheless, those "lowest-end-shifts" can sometimes be annoyingly slow ! [don't forget: the higher the revs, the faster SMG II shifts !]

2) When I let the brake go and the car rolls a little bit backwards (hill start for example without assistant or hand brake), the system appears to be slightly "confused" and needs a moment to engage 1st gear - that's maybe the biggest lag you can experience with SMG II IMO. You step on the accelerator and nothing happens for a short moment

3) If you're coasting towards a traffic light, the system will automatically pick first gear as the car is about to stop. While coasting and the traffic light turns to green you will experience a slight lag when hitting the accelerator while SMG is trying to engage 1st gear.

Well, with my driving style, I usually avoid all these weaknesses (...so to speak "automatically") So, I can easily live with them Actually, if one is aware of such things, the "problem" is already solved... Nonetheless those are weaknesses !

After all, I always come to the same conclusion... the faster you drive, the better and the more impressive is SMG II !

[Disclaimer: don't get me wrong... SMG II is very agreeable in traffic !]

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:07 CET [6]
What do we know about clutch slippage, it seem that there are a few post about the car when at 1/2 to 3/4 throttle and 5500 rpm that the change of gears are rather slow and loss of rpm due to clutch slippage. If i'm at 2nd gear and 5500 rpm and hit 3rd with 3/4 throttle the gear change might feel fine but hitting the gas there is a big lag, with the tack staying one place for about 1 second.

Apparently this is no question

However, It all depends on your technique. I cannot confirm your observations...

1 second ? That appears to be exaggerated whatsoever.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, January 21st, 2002 - 18:52 CET [7]
I am a gadget guy but to depend on a computer for just being able to drive your car seem kind of dangerous or annoying if the computer fails.
What happens if a fuse blows while your driving and the SMGII gets knocked out. I could only imagine that you cannot drive the car. Would you know if this would be true or not.

I have no clue !

All I can say is that my car (my SMG II) was very reliable so far I think it's quite safe...

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:29 CET [1]
1) Is it possible to "park" the car in neutral (car wash)?
2) Andreas: you are very positive about SMG-II (of course: it is a BMW after all ). However, there must be a few little "annoyances" switching from manual to SMG?
3) If you would live in the US, would you still get SMG-II knowing that S6 is not available?

1) yes - of course

2) yes, there are... hard to explain - some little things. There's always room for further improvement !

3) S6 is available in the US, see above. I for one don't care too much for LC. It's nice but also something that can't be used very often.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, December 24th, 2001 - 01:10 CET [2]
I have ordered a convertible m3 with SMG II . Do you know if there is a loss in accelartion (0-62mph) compared to the Coupe.

M3 Coupe: 0-100 km/h / 0-62 mph = 5,1 s @ 1570 kg / 3461 pounds
M3 Cab:    0-100 km/h / 0-62 mph = 5,5 s @ 1730 kg / 3814 pounds

-LeoBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:35 CET [3]
With my SMG I find 2 significant annoyances:
1) Changes into 2nd gear (from 1st or 3rd) at low engine speeds (say 2500-3000rpm) are very slow, regardless of program
2) The throttle blip on downchanges is way too aggressive if you leave any (even slight) pressure on the accelerator.
Do you notice these annoyances too?

1) What's fast for you ? those shifts are absolutely adequate. If you shift at 2500-3000 rpm, it's obviously not your intention to drive fast or aggressive. Those shifts are OK IMO.

2) no, I don't think so... However, that's maybe my preference - I like aggressive downshifts. It's just about right for me

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:39 CET [4]
any idea what the SMG(SSG) will be like on the 325 or 330s? I can't afford an M3 now.. but I'm really impressed by the new tranny, However, the SMG on 325s or 330s are availiable in Europe now.. I am still waiting for it to arive NA market...

I'm sorry.... can't really help here

But first reviews (in Germany) featuring the SSG transmission have been very positive about it

The latest sequential transmissions are definitely very impressive - that's the future. Conventional manual transmissions might disappear sooner or later...

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:44 CET [5]
Is it possible to pop-start the car if the battery runs down? I'd imagine no, but I was wondering...

I've ordered an SMG M3 anyway, because I often drive in heavy traffic; however, besides controlling the gear in turns and heavy downshifting, one reason I like manuals is beause there's less to go wrong and running the battery down doesn't matter...

Could you please define "pop-start" ?

All I can say is that my SMG II equipped M3 has been very reliable so far. I didn't experience the slightest problem yet.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:51 CET [6]
Pop-starting is useful when the battery is dead. Get the car rolling, pop the clutch, and if you're moving fast enough the engine will catch and turn over (generally done in 1st or reverse).

So with that definition, I was wondering whether SMG will work to start the car if the battery is dead. I would guess not, just wondering.


I think you're right. (only guessing here... )

However, unfortunately I cannot answer this question

Sorry 'bout

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:52 CET [7]
With a regular manual transmission car, you can have the ignition on (motor off), then roll down a slight grade (or get a push)and release the clutch with the transmission in gear (my experience is that a higher gear, like 2nd or 3rd, is more mechanically friendly) and the car will start immediately. Obviously, the main use for this is when there's a dead battery. I think the initial questioner wondered if there is a way to do a dead-battery start or if, as in an automatic transmission car, you're stranded until you find somebody to give you a jump start? If you haven't run across a way to make it happen, I fear that one more of the benefits of a clutch (aside from just plain fun and superior control) will be lost. I'm about 8 weeks from SMG II delivery, and will install an Eisenmann exhaust as a result of the beautiful sound your car makes!

again... I cannot answer this question. Don't know what to do with a dead battery. But I guess there's still a way to start the car. I just don't know. A dead battery is unlikely in a modern car.

Don't know what benefits you think are lost because of SMG II. I for one haven't lost anything. Definitely not "plain fun". SMG II is more fun IMO. However, to each his own

I'm quite confident that you will like your new M3 SMG II Get the Eisenmann - It's a good product and I can recommend it in a heartbeat

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 13:47 CET [8]
Can you make donuts using the SMG II

Ofcourse you can make donunts!

Big ones, small ones... You decide

-LeoBack to Selection list | Monday, December 24th, 2001 - 10:18 CET [9]
I am planning on getting the 2002 M3 with SMG II, however, do you think that BMW is going to put the SMG II into the M5?.. this would alter my decision to buy the M3, hence i would get the M5. thanks for your help.

Neither Andreas nor myself know what BMW's plans are.

However, I would not be surprised if BMW put SMG into the new upkomming 10 cylinder M5. Maybe even an improved SMG (SMG III)?

It remains to be seen...

-LeoBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 00:56 CET [10]
Hello again,
With all the questions about this "CLUNK" noise in the transmission, do you hear it with the SMG?

No, there's no unusual noise so far. So, I don't have it...

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:00 CET [11]
Hi Guys,
Congrats for some outstanding work on this site!!! Keep it up.
I am from Perth, Western Australia and own a M3 coupe (no SMG II) (June build) with 3000km. Just wondering how's the fuel consumption. I read in a UK magazine that the BMW's with sequential gear box are far more thirstier than the manual ones.
What are your experiences? Thanks guys and enjoy and keep up the good work.

Hi there ! Thanks for your comment and feedback

Well, I'm not sure... I don't think that there's a huge difference. But I assume that the SMG II is thirstier because of things like the throttle blip and other details. With my driving style I make about 400-500 Km with one filling - it depends. I could do better though !

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:02 CET [12]
Hey do you know the 1/4 mile and 0-100 time for the M3 equipped with SMG II? great site btw, keep the awesome work up

No. I've only seen some test results. Usually (in those tests) the manual test cars were slightly faster. Both E46 M3's (with or without SMG II) lapped the Nürburgring in the same time.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:06 CET [13]
The F1 and Ferrari 360 shifters are hydraulic, and can only change gears when the engine is running. Thus, there are scenarios where the engine dies while in gear, and you cannot (easily) get the transmission into neutral, for a restart or a tow. Are you familiar with any such scenarios with the M3 SMG?

1) For example, since you park the car in 1st gear, can you switch to N if you didn't have the engine started?

2) Can you switch to N if you had the key off (ie, no battery power)?

Thanks for the great summaries. Dave

Hi Dave, thanks for the feedback !

The engine dies ??? I don't think this can occur with SMG II ! At least I can't imagine such a scenario. I did not experience such scenarios whatsoever (after 7400 miles). I haven't had any problems at all yet.

1) No - I don't think so. You can push the lever to position "0" (then, it's blocked - you can't push it back to the right hand side !). However, I believe the car remains in first gear. I tried to move the car from the outside and it wasn't possible - it won't move.

2) No. --> dito 1)

I think I should look up in the SMG II manual what to do with a dead battery (although that appears to be very unlikely !)

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:07 CET [14]
Before ordering the SMG, I was apprehensive about how it would perform using the "A" setting for everyday city driving with heavy traffic as well as climbing mountainous terrain. Both are what I face on a daily drive. After a week with my PY/Kiwi SMG M3, here's some opinions:

1, In heavy bumper to bumper traffic, the "A" function performs well. Just like a normal automatic car. Brake and Throttle. Only when you are facing stop and go on an incline, you need to watch it as the car will roll backwards or forward (if decline) the second you release the brake pedal. There's the hill assist but I find it simplier just to keep my left foot on the brake and right foot on the gas pedal.

2. Also if you are climbing steep slopes, you have to set to level 4 or 5 otherwise the car doesn't appear to have enough power. If set at the lower levels (1 to 3), the transmission upshifts at lower RPM whereas the higher the setting, the engine goes to a higher RPM and stays there longer before the gear upshifts.

Other Observations:
There's a lag when the gears are upshifting. You can feel it as it's very distinct. Downshifts seem to be faster, less noticeable lag. Sometimes the lag can be too long. For example in-between gear 1 and 2, there is no power for a second or two. You hear the engine roar but there is no surge. It seems like that it took a while before gear 2 was engaged.

The SMG cars make the same clunking noise that manual transmission owners are reporting. But the clunk just comes on every now and then.

The gear shift lever is just superb. It's short and stubby and right where you want it. Looks better than the manual whereby you get this long stick poking out.

thanks for your comment

Well... select S5 or S6, take it above 6500 and then tell me again there's a "lag" No way !! However, as you are currently braking in the car I understand your statement

Don't forget the golden rule: ALWAYS keep your foot firmly on the accelerator

ohh... and regarding the "clunk": I believe some people are quite paranoid ! The M3 is a Sports car and therefore it makes some noises from time to time. I hear NOTHING that I wouldn't consider normal.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:10 CET [15]
Greetings to both Leo and Andreas! Great work on the faq; an informative and entertaining read!

My question is rather simple: will SMGII allow the engine to stall? Eg selecting a high gear, or moving off on an incline but not applying enough gas?

Will the SMG automatically declutch in these situations or what?

Keep up the excellent job your doin!

No, I can't imagine such scenarios... SMG II will not allow the engine to stall.

However, provided you drive with... like... 15 mph and you want to select 5th gear (hehe... who knows ), SMG II will not execute your command. The highest gear you can use at such a speed (ca. 15-20 mph) is 4th I believe

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:11 CET [16]
1) does the "hill-start-assistant" also work in reverse?

2) if you are in A-mode and engage the "cruise control" - does CC stay on if SMG does a gear-chance?

3) same as 2 for S-modes if you do a manual gear-chance?

tnx very much and always: stay cool!

Thank you... We do our best

1) Yes it does.

2) I didn't use "cruise control" so far. Therefor I cannot answer this question right now - I'm sorry. Have to check the manual...

3) dito 2)

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Thursday, September 19th, 2002 - 05:59 CET [17]
I have heard of many people with the manual transmission who have experienced a rattling clutch in low gears only after a few hundred miles. They have taken it to the dealer, but the dealer says that this is "normal." I wanted to know if you have experienced any problems such as this or any unusual noises or unusual shifts. Thanks

There's no noise that I wouldn't consider "normal". Anyway, since I have the Eisenmann exhaust on my car, I don't hear much from the gear changes

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:12 CET [18]
To both of you, great job. Pick mine up on Saturday after a year wait. I slipped slots to the SMG, your site really helped the decision. Just eanted to give those accoaldes and give a hand with the next question. Gradiant Assist (according to SMGII video from BMW.COM) is usable in reverse. Also if you are in A mode and Cruise Control and select S mode Cruise Control is shut off automatically. I don't know if a s gear change while in CC would do the same, one would assume so.

Thank's for your help with question 119 !

Hope you like your car... Keep us posted with your feedback in the owners observations section.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:12 CET [19]
another question: how about changing from forward to reverse and vice-versa - how fast is that change?
do you know if that is a real "mechanical" change, or a hydraulical one? if you shift to reverse in an F360 modena... you can wait for hours...
not very comfortable if you'd like to park your car...

tnx & take care!

Don't know for sure whether it is mechanical or hydraulic. I THINK it is hydraulic. However, it doesn't take a long time... it's very practical and comfortable. I have no experience with Ferrari's F1-System. Guessing from your statements, I'd say it is much better what goes for the R gear.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Sunday, December 23rd, 2001 - 01:13 CET [20]
What was SMG I?

It's the first version of BMW's sequential transmission which was only available in Europe (on the E36 M3).

As far as I know it was not a big success. Most people I know don't like it. I have never driven an E36 M3 with SMG I myself. So, that's all I can say...

Perhaps anybody with SMG I experience can share their impressions here (?).

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, January 21st, 2002 - 18:33 CET [21]

With SMG, is it possible to use the handbrake to slide around corners or to whip the rear end around for a quick U-turn? To keep the engine from stalling, I would think that SMG would have to clutch or shift to N when the handbrake is applied, does SMG know to do that?

If SMG does not handle this situation automatically, do the controls permit you to request an immediate clutch or shift to N?


I can't see why this shouldn't be possible. However, You'll understand that I didn't try it

Don't know whether Leo tried such things... perhaps he can add a comment on this when he's back from the US.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, January 21st, 2002 - 18:54 CET [22]
Your site is FANTASTIC! Thank you so much.
My question is maybe a bit too simple but even after reading the on-line owners manual I still cannot imagine - How does the car wash guy drive the SMG II without ever seeing one before? I'm worried it would be a huge ordeal at the car wash or valet at a parking garage.

(Where I live in the U.S., you don't drive it through yourself, you get out, someone pulls the car up, it goes through the wash by itself and them antoher attendant pulls it out for drying.)

Thank you.

Thank you very much

that's a good question !

You're right - things ar different in Europe. I drive my car through the carwash myself. So, I'm only guessing here... I can imagine that one must explain it briefly to the responsible person. However, when you come to the carwash (or parking) just don't turn off the car and tell him/her that she/he must switch to "0" and back in order to engage a program. Best would be if you let them drive in one of the A programs so that she/he can drive it like an Auto. So, after all it shouldn't be a big concern I think

they will get used to it

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, January 21st, 2002 - 18:37 CET [23]
First of all, thanks for the great site, I learned a lot from it!
My question is, do you know if SMG II is/will be available in Canada? If so, when? I have been trying to find out that information to no avail, please help!

glad we could help

I'm sorry... We don't know anything about BMWNA and their plans. No clue when SMG II is going to be available in Canada

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Monday, January 21st, 2002 - 18:49 CET [24]
You've done a great job with your site...keep it up. I'm finding it very informative thus far...
A few questions regarding a recently bought M3 w/SMGII (USA version)...

1. When I shift into reverse other than after just starting the car, I hear a loud, scratchy noise that doesn't sound too healthy. Is this normal? If not, do you know the remedy?

2. Do the shift lights only come on at about 8000-8500rpm? Or is there a certain way to activate them? I'm asking because I can't figure out how to get them to come on in sequential mode, and I haven't taken it to 8000-8500rpm yet.

3. Is there a trick to the hill rollback assistant? I've tried holding the left paddle for about 2 seconds, and it doesn't seem to activate.

Thanks for your time.


1. I don't hear such a noise. However, I agree that sometimes the changes are quite loud (metal noise). That is not unusual for M cars though. But I think the noise that you described is different

2. Shiftlights come on in the higher rpm's... don't know exactly where... maybe 6500 - 7000 rpm up to redline.

3. Yes, there is: it takes a certain minimal incline... otherwise it is not available. Then stop the car, step on the brake and hold the paddle for ca. 1-2 seconds

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Friday, February 15th, 2002 - 17:57 CET [25]
Invaluable help, thanks so much for doing this site. You mentioned taking your M3 in for repairs (and you have had your car under 7000 miles). Do you have any concerns about mechanical problems associated with a first production year car? Thanks a lot.

Yes indeed... my car was in because of a (rather minor) SMG II problem. They replaced a part.

Otherwise I didn't have any problems so far. I have no concerns... the car is reliable so far.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Friday, February 15th, 2002 - 18:00 CET [26]
Hey Andreas and Leo, great site!! I have to admit that BMW should be paying you guys for all this information, because I think with out you two to getting things started, we would not be as ready as we are after reading all this info. Thank you

Ok my question, you talk about hill assist using the paddle or the hand brake. Could you use just the normal brake, using your left while giving gas with your right foot also? Maybe you wouldn't even want to do this, I don't know. I receive my car in a week. Thanks

Thank you

Honestly, I'm not sure what you mean... that makes no sense IMO

There are different ways to hill start an SMG II equipped M3. It's VERY easy.

-AndreasBack to Selection list | Friday, February 15th, 2002 - 17:59 CET [27]
Have you experience violent staggering/lurching(back and forth) during a 50%-75% throttle accelerating?

I just got delivery for USA 2002 M3 w/ SMGII and has 1000 miles now and I am still experiencing this from time to time when I start from stand still with 50%-75% throttle in A3,A4,A5 mode, not as obvious in S5 mode. The lurching occurs when the car quickly rev up to around 3500rpm, lurching becomes more and more violent if I stay on the gas. I have to let go the gas for a sec or 2 and reapply the gas padel to remove the lurching effect(where RPM drop back to 1500rpm)!!
Is this part of break in sympton just for SMGII

Some additional info
1. Feels just like the fuel gets cut off in the middle of 1st gear acceleration abruptly and come back with frequency of 2-3 times a second.

2. On slippery surface, DSC will engage during hard 1st gear accelerating and acceleration goes smooth in all A mode.
3. Lurching shows up most frequently under A3 mode with dry and good traction surface. Under S mode the problem is less obvious.
4. I am in the middle of break-in, so no full throttle test yet, but if I increase pressure on gas padel when lurching happens, increase pressure on gas padel worsen the situation(MORE AND MORE VIOLANT LURCHING, FEELS LIKE CAR IS GOING TO FALL APART)
4.1. Lurching happens when I try to be hard on the throttle, never happen in gradual throttle
5. No thump or clunk noise
6. No stick driving experience
7. Happen when engine is hot(after 50miles of highway) or cold.


I have experienced this! If you lift too abruptly, it will lurch. Try not to lift too much in 1st or 2nd gear.


-AndreasBack to Selection list | Thursday, September 19th, 2002 - 05:56 CET [28]
Open Questions
So what's better SMG or manual?

...Just kidding ;-)

My question is regarding gradient assistance. Does the clutch re-engage enough to start holding the car in place after releasing the brake or before?

An answer will be posted as soon as possible. yea.... right. It's now 202x

-Back to Selection list | Friday, February 27th, 2004 - 02:10 CET [1]
In a sudden oversteer situation (for ex. rear tire failure), you should declutch an countersteer *immediately* to avoid spinning (I had the opportunity to practice this on a training area and was able to catch the car at medium speeds after a few trials).

How would you do this with a SMG?

An answer will be posted as soon as possible. yea.... right. It's now 202x

-Back to Selection list | Wednesday, March 03rd, 2004 - 23:23 CET [2]
I am getting a 2002 M3 coupe with SMG. Is the M3 faster in S6 with the sport mode off or with S5 with the sport button on? A 6 speed manual does not have the sport button right? So basically driving a stick M3 can be compared to driving a SMG in S6 with the sport button on all the time right? So the stick M3 will have DSC on all the time but the M3 won't if the M3 is in S6 with the sport button on? Please help. Thanks!

An answer will be posted as soon as possible. yea.... right. It's now 202x

-Back to Selection list | Thursday, March 18th, 2004 - 07:02 CET [3]
Many people, including myself, believe that a manual tranny is the best way to go for driver involvement and satisfaction (despite hearing that M3 H-gearing is a big laggy). I just see no better way to have fun driving a car than having complete control over the gear change (clutch and all). I have not driven an SMG before, but do you think that the SMG system has the same driver involvement and satisfaction as a manual transmission?

An answer will be posted as soon as possible. yea.... right. It's now 202x

-Back to Selection list | Thursday, April 22nd, 2004 - 03:40 CET [4]
Thank you for valuable info on the site!

I'd like to ask - if it possible to replace auto transmission on e46 with SMG II? And if yes, where can I get an approx. cost of such replacement?

Thank you.

An answer will be posted as soon as possible. yea.... right. It's now 202x

-Back to Selection list | Sunday, August 22nd, 2004 - 12:49 CET [5]
Is it necessary to press on the brake pedal when shifting your gears, on the gear lever, from neutral to reverse or 1st gear when driving manualy?

If your car is running and in neutral, is there any safety factors to prevent your gear lever to accidently (children) be moved from N to 1st or reverse an will it, if this happens, start rolling in the gear accidenly selected?

An answer will be posted as soon as possible. yea.... right. It's now 202x

-Back to Selection list | Monday, September 13th, 2004 - 18:56 CET [6]

An answer will be posted as soon as possible. yea.... right. It's now 202x

-Back to Selection list | Monday, September 13th, 2004 - 18:59 CET [7]
What should the time delay be on shifting gears, say from 5th to 3rd gear if overtaking?

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-Back to Selection list | Monday, September 13th, 2004 - 19:02 CET [8]
What is the diff between the 1st SMG gearbox and the SMG 2?

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-Back to Selection list | Monday, September 13th, 2004 - 19:37 CET [9]
I'm driving a BMW 330 Ci Convertable with SMG the 1 st gearbox. (I believe it to be the 1st, cause you are explaining a lot of things on the SMG 11 that I surely don't have on mine.) There's a few things that I need to know, if you would be so kind.
Are the following possible on this gearbox, because it is happening to me from time to time:
1. When selecting a gear, the gear lever sometimes will move from N to
R or 1st gear, without the break padel being pressed. Then the gear console indicator reference shows reverse or 1st gear was selected, hoever the instrument panel display shows neutral. When trying ro pull off, there is no movement of the car.

An answer will be posted as soon as possible. yea.... right. It's now 202x

-Back to Selection list | Tuesday, September 14th, 2004 - 08:00 CET [10]
Howdy. Nice site and this is my second trip here, the first being before I ordered my car with SMG. My question is about driving on the track. I have been driving my car for a couple of months and 5k miles. The situation I'm wondering about is coming down a straight in 5th then braking hard and downshifting to third for a corner. I was getting relatively good at heel-toe with my old manual. I'd brake while shifting, blip the throttle and let the clutch out just as I was turning in. When I use a similar timing (granted, this is on the street), the SMGII is slow and won't always rev match and downshift until after I'm on the throttle (leaving it in neutral for a bit off brake, which is what I'm trying to avoid), or if I do it too early, while braking, it doesn't rev match and I feel the "pull" of the downshift. What is the appropriate timing for downshifting in this situation? Playing with it a bit it seems that it works best if shifting just at turn in (later than a manual), but then I'm still in neutral for just a bit. Anyone have a better idea? Hopefully this is clear. Thanks in advance.

An answer will be posted as soon as possible. yea.... right. It's now 202x

-Back to Selection list | Thursday, November 25th, 2004 - 02:55 CET [11]
Wow! What a nice community! Also, and of course, thank you for all of the answers and opinions you guys took the time to post!

From reading many of your posts it seems to me that your opinion of the Auto mode has changed since you first got your M3.

1. On a scale of 1-10, how did you feel about the A programs when you first got your M3? Why?
2. How about now?
3. Personal enjoyment aside, how easy it is to learn how to drive the SMGII smoothly so that my girlfriend doesn't bark ? (go ahead and laugh, but this is a real problem!! Lol)
4. Is smooth driving all in throttle modulation?

An answer will be posted as soon as possible. yea.... right. It's now 202x

-Back to Selection list | Saturday, December 04th, 2004 - 20:58 CET [12]
I prommise that I have read and understud every question posted in the faq, what a great faq! But.. I got an other one

If you would do a 360 spin with the SMG, how would it react to the suddan drop in wheelspeed? Will the transmission drop to first at about 180 before release the clutch when the wheels starts going backwords? And when you get around completly in the direction of travel doing about 60kmh and the wheels starts spinning again, will the thing start of in 1. gear - making even things worse?

If that got messy the simpel version goes like this: what happens if you spin 360 degrees, on purpos or not

An answer will be posted as soon as possible. yea.... right. It's now 202x

-Back to Selection list | Friday, January 21st, 2005 - 00:55 CET [13]
Can you use the padddle shifters to activate any of the special features (LC, Hill assist) or do you HAVE to use the shift lever.

An answer will be posted as soon as possible. yea.... right. It's now 202x

-Back to Selection list | Thursday, March 31st, 2005 - 19:44 CET [14]
A total of 147 questions have been posted to date.
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