In Reply to: 323 Automatic Owner Poll posted by DP on October 07, 1999 at 02:37:27:
Over the last two days, I test drove both 323 and 328 steptronics, the dealer just got them in. As I reported below, I liked the step better than the tiptronic and the sportshift(Acura), mainly because the step does nor autmatically shift into second from first as it does on the others. If you are a manual person, you probably wouldn't be converted to an auto by the step.
Performance wise, the 323auto is, according to BMW numbers, about 1 second slower to 60 than the 328 auto, and it is noticeable. Interesting enough the 323 manual is only .5 seconds slower. This is probably due to the fact that the 323 manual overall gearing is taller than the 328 manual which helps to minimize the difference at lower speeds. On the automatic, however, the overall gearing is the same.
Bottom line is, as always, a matter of personal preference. Both cars are, after all BMW's, and they both handle, stop and go superbly. You have to decide is the 1 second difference is worth the $4k.