Just Drove An M3 SMG

Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by whart, Dec 12, 2003.

  1. whart

    whart F1 Veteran

    Dec 5, 2001
    Grandview NY
    Full Name:
    Herr Prof.
    What a hoot! Thinking about one (a convertible) as my commuter car. Anybody got one of these or have any insight? I know there were some issues with motors blowing up. Is the SMG any better or worse than the Marelli (sic) unit in the Ferraris? Thinking black, cinnamon brown interior, black hardroof, bling bling 19 inch, aluminum trim, can have it in about 3 weeks. Goodby, 740i?
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  3. kenny

    kenny Formula Junior

    Nov 9, 2003
    Greenwich , CT
    Full Name:
    The motor issue mostly occurred with '01 models... BMW first blamed customers for overrevving the engine causing them to blow, but when the same problem started occurring to SMG models when they were later introduced, BMW finally acknowledged there was an engineering problem, since you cannot overrev with SMG...

    I've driven an M3 SMG version as well... The exhaust sound is quite throaty, and the SMG shifts very rapidly, faster than I'll ever be able to shift a manual...
  4. rennen

    rennen Karting

    Nov 1, 2003
    New York
    I have a six speed and a SMG M3. The SMG is a lot of fun when you are driving aggressively. It is a little awkward during normal driving. When I say awkward, I mean the way that it shifts. The SMG 2 has the six different settings for shift speed. During normal driving I have trouble finding a good balance. The shifts seem either too fast or too slow. That being said, it is an incredible car. The six speed is a coupe, and the SMG is a cab., and they feel very close in performance.
  5. mjgermane

    mjgermane Formula Junior

    Jan 21, 2003
    From what I remember about the M3 SMG, is that at the time it came out, it was the fastest shifting transmission for production cars. The M3 has SMG II (I am pretty sure all the other BMWs with SMG are just the SMG I, which is much slower), and appearantly there will be an SMG III for the E60 M5 coming in about a year.

    Any reason why you would not just get the 6-speed? I have heard from a lot of different E46 M3 owners that the SMG is fun, but it wears off and they wish they had a 6-speed.
  6. whart

    whart F1 Veteran

    Dec 5, 2001
    Grandview NY
    Full Name:
    Herr Prof.
    The only reason i am even considering the SMG is that this will be the car i drive down the Palisades Parkway, and then, over the GW Bridge. The waiting time at ramp to the bridge is a good 10 minutes, and then you get to do the "West Side Crawl" for 150 or so blocks, in bumper to bumper traffic, until you finally get "free" of the congestion, and wind up in mid-town Manhattan, hardly a driver's paradise. My real preference would be a helicopter, but, on 4 wheels, i like the option of going "auto" or at least not having to heave the clutch pedal in and out 150 times in each direction. Don't even ask me why i live here....
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  8. kenny

    kenny Formula Junior

    Nov 9, 2003
    Greenwich , CT
    Full Name:
    Watch out for potholes,,, 19-inch wheels do not react very well to manhattan roads, nor do the tires handle well in slippery weather..
  9. BigHead

    BigHead Formula Junior

    Oct 31, 2003
    Outside of Boston
    Full Name:
    Howdy, WHart!

    FWIW, I had an M3 with SMG on order a couple of years ago, but ended up canceling it (bought a 996 instead). I've driven the SMG a bit, on the street and on the track, and remain UNIMPRESSED.

    On the track, it's actually not bad, and it takes some getting used to. It does allow left-foot braking, which can make one significantly quicker.

    But on the street, it really is not acceptable. If you're driving in heavy traffic daily, get a good slushbox. In slower driving, the shifting is awkward and slow; SMG gets better if you're driving more aggressively - but that's when you'd enjoy a manual transmission more. And you'll end up spending $$$ on clutches - the computer isn't as good as you are at avoiding clutch use when stuck in traffic.

    Go check out some of the BMW boards, and you'll find a lot of comments on the suitability (or lack thereof) of SMG for "daily use".


  10. pdiack

    pdiack Karting

    Nov 19, 2003
    I've got a 6 sped convertible ('02) and think it is a great car for the commute. Top is really pretty quiet at highway speeds - I had a 911 cab before this and it was much louder. My car has the 19's and I think they look great - but if you are in an area with potholes - I'd stay away. can't speak to the SMG tranny - I went traditional...

  11. 134282

    134282 Four Time F1 World Champ

    Aug 3, 2002
    Full Name:
    Carbon McCoy
    You know, the Porsche 962 street has that option... Have you considered that...? :)
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  13. rodsky

    rodsky Formula 3

    Mar 24, 2003
    Los Angeles
    The motor blowing issue was confined to those built in Oct 2001 and a few months thereafter. Never buy a German car built in October - OKTOBERFEST :).

    They since extended the warranty on the engine.

    I have an M3 Convertible but with 6 speed and have put 29K miles on it. Not one single issue.

    I would investigate the SMG for the start stop driving - however it comes maintenance free for 3 years and has a warranty for 4 years - so pretty risk free.
  14. mw575

    mw575 F1 Rookie

    May 30, 2001
    Lake Oswego,Or
    Full Name:
    Martin J Weiner,M.D.
    Have an '03 M3 with SMG and a 575 F1.Traded a '01 6spd m3 for the smg.
    The F1 in my opinion is much better in many ways than the smg.
    The shifting in the F1 is much smoother.The paddles in the smg cannot be used to shift from N to 1st gear.Must use the stick to go into first then can up shift with either the paddles or stick.The paddles in the smg rotate with the wheel so one is always searching for it.In the smg when backing up it sometimes lurches.Cannot pull on both paddles to go into N.
    The M3 is a great car with either set up however I would opt for the 6 spd.
  15. Kds

    Kds F1 World Champ

    We just traded a 2002 M3 SMG to the BMW dealer because the engine was acting up as per the problems with the 2001 models. They replaced in under warranty. So......it obviously is not confined to merely one model year as BMW would like you to believe.

    In any event......in my experience they work better than the Ferrari F-1 gearbox........having a shifter on the console is nice too .......I hate paddles........but they are also jerky at "creeping" speeds like in parking lots and you can smell the clutch if you have to jockey the car around a bit to park it as an example.

    I'd buy one....but in a 6 speed.
  16. Sharif

    Sharif Formula Junior

    Oct 19, 2003
    New York
    Full Name:
    I have a 02 SMG that I drive every day. I have put 24k miles on it and I enjoy every minute of it. From rush hour West Side Highway traffic to open roads, the car is amazing and does everything well.
    The auto modes take a little getting use to, but when you do it's just like an auto. After a while you will know exactly when the car is going to shift. My mother actually drives it once in while and has no problem with it.
    I use the S5 setting the majority of the time, even in traffic I dont find changing the gears tedious at all.
    Except 1 attempted break-in and 1 successful break-in, I have had 0 problems with the car. I drive the car "hard" and it just begs for more.
    If you have any specific questions I would be more than happy to answer.

    Edit: I apologize, I did have a bad ignition coil one time and it was fixed the next day by the dealer
  17. VanCooper

    VanCooper Formula Junior

    Oct 16, 2002
    I must say that the engine problems that occured with the '01 BMW's also affected '02 models but only until a certain build date. BMW corrected the problems after that. All the '01 and '02 that were affected got a letter from BMW NA leting them know that their warranty was extended to 6 years or ??? miles (I can't remember the mileage)

    So you will have a problem free car if you get a 2003 BMW M3 SMG. I have driven an SMG example and was VERY impressed with the SMG. Great choice if you ask me!
  18. sherpa23

    sherpa23 F1 Veteran
    Owner Rossa Subscribed

    May 28, 2003
    Rocky Mountains
    Full Name:
    After driving both, I would get the SMG. I would not buy a Ferrari with F1 but I would do SMG on the M3. Why? Well, the argument of intended uses aside, the SMG works better than the F1 (paddles move with wheel, better quality shifts ,IMO) and in a BMW you are not giving anything up by not taking the 6 speed. The 6 speed shifter they have stinks. The Ferrari manual gearbox, on the other hand, is a dream. You get that gated shifter in all its beauty and the wonderful clutch. It is almost a sin to give that up for an F1 (again, IMO). If the M3 had a manual more like Ferrari's then it would be a more difficult decision but then when you get into the intended use of the cars then it goes back to SMG for the M3.
  19. whart

    whart F1 Veteran

    Dec 5, 2001
    Grandview NY
    Full Name:
    Herr Prof.
    Thanks for all the good input, pro and con. One further question, regarding winter tires and wheels: the car i have lined up has been outfitted w/19" wheels. I would assume 18's would be better in the snow. Any winter tire recommendations? And, while we are at it, if i have to buy a set of 18s to fit them, are there reasonably priced aftermarket wheels in black? I know, i'm getting urban, but i just can't help it. (No spinners were available anyway). Regards to all,...
  20. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
    Honorary Owner

    Oct 23, 2002
    Full Name:
    Jim Glickenhaus
    In the snow you'll need a complete dif. set of wheels and tires. For the rest of the year I wouldn't go for more than 18" in NYC. SMG in parking or bumper to bumper in auto mode is a clutch killer. The $ is one thing, snorting aspesdos fumes isn't as much fun as it sounds...
  21. VanCooper

    VanCooper Formula Junior

    Oct 16, 2002
    Aside from the snow, I would be really careful with parking while running those 19 inch wheels on the M3. They are VERY prone to curbing and rashing. When my father was in the market for an M3, all the dealer had were those 19 inchers and he STRONGLY asked if they could swap them out for the standard 18 inchers and accepted. Unfortunately, he didn't buy the car but he's waiting for the next best thing from BMW, the E60 M5.

    Sorry I can't recommend snow tires, we don't need snow tires here in Vancouver and when my father had the M5, he didn't put snows on.
  22. Jet911M3

    Jet911M3 Rookie

    Oct 31, 2003
    Full Name:
    I just sold my 2003 BMW M3 Convertible SMG with 19" wheels, etc. because I could not get used to the slow speed response from the SMG. SMG was great on highway, but paddle shifting at slow speeds was jerky and less than ideal. It was easier to slow down in gear and let system downshift than trying to work the paddles and get a jerky response, which obviously put more wear and tear on the clutch and, as my mechanic believes, the brakes. The automatic setting I though was totally inadequate in all settings. Now back using a six speed in a Porsche Twin Turbo and loving it.

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