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2010 2011 BMW 5 Series Forum F10 BMW 5-Series (F10) Forums General 5-Series Sedan and Wagon (F10 / F11) Forum How often do you use the shift paddles vs fully automatic ?
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      09-20-2011, 03:48 PM   #1
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How often do you use the shift paddles vs fully automatic ?

I'm planning to buy a 2012 535i, but I'm still struggling with the 8-speed auto with paddles vs. 6-speed manual transmission decision. I love shifting for myself, and currently drive a 5-speed Z3. I previously drove a 2001 740i with the Sport Package / Steptronic transmission, but after the first week of playing with the shifter, I just left it in automatic for the next 6 years.

So here's my question: for those of you who own an F10 5-series with the 8-speed and paddles, what percent of the time are you shifting it yourself with the paddles, vs. just leaving it in fully automatic mode?

My theory is that other than occasional bouts of paddle shifting, for the majority of your driving around town, commuting to work, running errands, etc., you don't bother with paddles and just leave the car in fully automatic mode. At least with a manual, you're ALWAYS engaged and shifting gears for yourself, and more involved with the car, even when just tooling around town. The paddles might be fun for 10% of the time when you're driving in the mountains or hot-dogging it, but in general, you don't use 'em. Correct ?
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      09-20-2011, 04:04 PM   #2
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I use the shift knob almost always besides when my hand is out of my window. I wish both the left and right paddle shifter worked the same way instead of the left being for downshifts and right for up shifts.
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      09-20-2011, 04:26 PM   #3
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I used them a total of 2 times over 7 months of ownership. All else failing - given the price difference I'd say get them it's also good for the resale value of the car me thinks.
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      09-20-2011, 04:36 PM   #4
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Almost never - if I want to do some 'enthusiastic' driving, I shift manually using the shifter....but I do concur that it's reasonable enough to add on for resale....
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      09-20-2011, 05:06 PM   #5
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Never. Since I own an M3 with DCT and paddles I now know why.

Using the paddles in a lightning fast (DCT) shifting car with a usable rev range somewhere between 2000 and 8000 rpm is tremendous fun, I use the paddles all the time in the M3.

However in the 535d, the experience feels silly and very artificial. Because of the small usable rev range (1500-4000?) the motor management system keeps overruling the manual shifts. IMO the laidback nature of the diesel powertrain doesn't suit the manual mode.
Obviously, it could be a different story in a petrol F10.
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      09-20-2011, 05:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Breach View Post
given the price difference I'd say get them it's also good for the resale value of the car me thinks.
I'm with you on this.
Plus the paddles look sexy
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      09-20-2011, 05:20 PM   #7
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Only use them when I want some extra fun, or want to max the feeling
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      09-20-2011, 05:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdwinF10 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breach View Post
given the price difference I'd say get them it's also good for the resale value of the car me thinks.
I'm with you on this.
Plus the paddles look sexy
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      09-20-2011, 05:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rost1n View Post
Only use them when I want some extra fun, or want to max the feeling
Did you consider getting the 6-speed manual transmission instead ? What percentage of the time do you think you use the paddles to shift ? Thanks.
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      09-20-2011, 06:00 PM   #10
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If I shift manually I use the shifter because it seems to give me quicker shifts than using the paddles. I would have thought the shifts would be same speed using either but they are not or I don't feel they are. Overall I am a bit dissappointed with the slush box - most shifts are slow and "lazy" in my opinion. I realize it's not a DCT but I had hoped for sharper shifts.
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      09-20-2011, 06:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TunedIn View Post
Did you consider getting the 6-speed manual transmission instead ? What percentage of the time do you think you use the paddles to shift ? Thanks.
Nope, never, hate manual. Like 5-10% I think, but the sportauto is lovely!
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      09-20-2011, 06:42 PM   #12
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I never use them.

Oh...wait...that's right. I have a manual transmission.
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      09-20-2011, 09:25 PM   #13
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In 11.5K miles, just a few times and then only to provide engine braking on long descents. As Edwin says, the lazy low-revving diesel doesn't suit paddle shifting and besides that, I think the 8 speed auto is pretty good at its job, so I let it do the work - it's what I paid it to do.
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      09-20-2011, 09:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EBRSKIH View Post
I wish both the left and right paddle shifter worked the same way instead of the left being for downshifts and right for up shifts.
I agree, I never use them but would if they operated similiar to the sport console shifter in manual mode.
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      09-21-2011, 03:43 AM   #15
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Just as many post above, almost never.
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      09-21-2011, 04:31 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdwinF10 View Post
Never. Since I own an M3 with DCT and paddles I now know why.

Using the paddles in a lightning fast (DCT) shifting car with a usable rev range somewhere between 2000 and 8000 rpm is tremendous fun, I use the paddles all the time in the M3.

However in the 535d, the experience feels silly and very artificial. Because of the small usable rev range (1500-4000?) the motor management system keeps overruling the manual shifts. IMO the laidback nature of the diesel powertrain doesn't suit the manual mode.
Obviously, it could be a different story in a petrol F10.
Yep. Similar experience with my 535d.
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      09-21-2011, 04:54 AM   #17
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Very rarely.

They are hardly usable within city. For instance, starting from standstill (traffic light) and immediately turning right, first gear is very short and you would of course need to shift up while your steering wheel is completely turned... hardly convenient or easy. It's better for me to use the shift stick into manual mode and turn the wheel with one hand. Could be different for gas engines since they need to shift less often.

Also, with a sports steering wheel the shift paddles block view to both stick controls (wiper and signaling/lights).
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      09-21-2011, 05:21 AM   #18
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I dont use them at all. The sports transmission option provides more then just the shifter paddles and have been discussed in great detail on this forum.

I find "slapping" the shifter over to the left, engaging S mode, turns my 550i into a rabid beast. Why shift when the S gets it. Quite frankly when running at high speeds I dont want my hands off the steering wheel to shift, the S mode should stand for simplified not sport.
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      09-21-2011, 11:00 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdwinF10 View Post
I'm with you on this.
Plus the paddles look sexy
ditto
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      09-21-2011, 11:13 AM   #20
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A few times a day... Sport + is a nice alternative also!
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      09-21-2011, 11:54 AM   #21
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On the 528i with the N52 NA engine that goes to 7k rpm, the paddles are a bit more useful, although 8 gears is a little busy at times.
No experience with the diesels, turbos, or DCT, so no comparison, but 8sp+ 7k rpm petrol engine can be fun, with the caveat that it is very engaging due to the number of gears, thus only engaged when one is feeling energetic, say 10-20% of the time, traffic permitting.
Driven this way, it is quite uncharacteristic of what one would imagine in a car like the f10, acts more like a Z3/4.
Interesting to consider the presence of turbo, ie. does turbo lag kill manual paddle shifting usability, b.c. longer response times make 8sps even more impractical, and does the car shift better itself in this case.
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      09-21-2011, 12:15 PM   #22
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I did never use shift paddles nor the manual position of the gearbox. Only the sport stand.
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