In Reply to: 540i auto vs. manual -long- posted by Norm on January 28, 2000 at 23:26:28:
Read the same reviews - bought the 6-speed ('00). Love it! I have alternated manuals and automatics over the years (I'm not a 20 or 30 something) and really enjoy driving the most when I shift. I do think this manual drives differently than any other sports car I've owned (all the others were American). I can still stall this one on takeoff if I under power it in 1st. I've found that 1st to 2nd is very smooth if you shift at a lower speed and lower RPM then you would normally "feel" is right. Aggressive driving with "winding it out" is one thing, but you can drive this car very smoothly with minimal effort if you practice a little. Tried the steptronic but I did not feel it was an adequate substitute for the feel I desired. I took a used 540i of each type home for a few days to drive to really decide - its also a great way to see what one drives like after a few years. See if your dealership would let you do the same. Best of luck - I'm sure you'd love either.
: Considering buying 540i sport (6spd) but got confused after visiting edmunds.com (re: 1998 model):
: First, before I start - I know the decision is all mine and I should really drive both to see for myself. But I'd really appreciate opinions of those who have experience already to help me decide.
: Quote1: "The 540i that competed in our last comparison test suffered from a balky six-speed manual transmission. The clutch was constantly slipping between first and second gears, and it generally made our lives a driving hell in urban corridors. Nevertheless, we were impressed by the rest of the car enough to forgive this one transgression (or transmission, in this case). Still, the thought in the back of everyone's mind was, "How would an automatic perform?" Now we know. The 540i's automatic transmission is simply better than its manual counterpart. That statement is difficult to comprehend until one drives them both, but it's true."
: Quote2: "Devotees of the manual transmission and believers in its importance to sporting driving should clutch their chests, gasp deeply and sit down hard. We absolutely despised the 540iís six-speed manual. OK, take a deep breath, and weíll explain. In West Los Angeles, the car was virtually impossible to drive smoothly. Clean launches that didnít snap passengersí necks or require excessive slipping of the clutch proved elusive. Modulating the clutch to ensure a smooth shift from first gear into second stymied our test drivers. But once in third gear, the BMW behaved in a more characteristically composed manner."
: So do you guys who have driven both manual and automatic agree? For automatic, would steptronic be a better choice? Or maybe they fixed this "problem" in '99,'00' models?
: Any opinions greatly appreciated!