If you are ordering a car and are not sure if you should get the SMG transmission(Sequential Manual Gearbox), the following information may be helpful in your decision:
- A short test drive of any SMG car is not an accurate measure of how the car will feel over time. SMG's are entirely new and need to be driven in a way that is entirely different than what you are probably accustomed to. Most SMG owners learn over an extended time (30 days or longer) how to shift the car properly. It has a steep learning curve. Your brain needs time to "reprogram" the timing of everything, etc.
- Because the SMG has an "automatic mode," many people compare this choice to the Steptronic transmission. This comparison is not an equitable one. It is more equitable to compare the SMG to a traditional manual that has a clutch pedal. If you are traditionally a buyer of automatics because you do not like to shift, you may be disappointed with the SMG. If you are traditionally a buyer of manuals, you may find that the SMG far exceeds your expectations but only after owning it past the individual learning curve.
- In addition to upshifting, SMG's need to be downshifted by the driver (as opposed to allowing the SMG to downshift automatically because of impending strain on the drivetrain) to reach optimum performance and satisfaction. Just like driving a manual transmission, you need to keep the car in the proper gear relative to the vehicle's speed. The SMG will execute downshifts flawlessly by "blipping" the throttle to the required RPM before engaging the lower gear. In other words, it executes a perfect "heel and toe" downshift every time. This process prevents the car from becoming unbalanced and reduces the possibility of a loss-of-control situation. It's the downshifts that truly differentiate the SMG from both the traditional manual and the automatic transmission choices!
Additional informaton on how the Sequential Manual Gearbox works, including a short video, can be found in the BMW Technology Guide.