Daft Question – Whats It Like Driving An Automatic?

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  • Daft Question – Whats It Like Driving An Automatic?
  • Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    No real noticeable lag from a standing start with our dsg boxes. If I think I need it I use the “S” mode for a bit more oomph to get away or overtake.

    Never bothered trying the manual mode. Autobox good enough not to bother. Only flappy paddle version I’ve tried was on a Hyundai,and the autobox seemed slicker when left alone

    Premier Icon Russell96
    Subscriber

    Driven autos for 12 years, only thing I’ll add is that I’ve been seduced by CVT now, had one for three years, went back to a normal auto for 2 years and I’m now back with another CVT. Going back the normal auto after the CVT I just didn’t like having to feel the gear change and kickdown. Driving for work it’s a lot less tiring driving experience.

    Good if you have to sit in traffic.

    Poor if you enjoy driving on open roads and in snow or wet conditions when braking through gears is preferable. Manuals make the roads come alive!!!

    I have one DSG and enjoy it much more in manual mode with the paddle shifts. Feel much more in control.

    surfer
    Member

    I have a Merc 7 speed auto with flappy paddles. Never use them the auto E mode is smoother than a smooth thing and I still get over 40 on a run.

    Would love one if it’s a new car and big engine as they work best best .
    Mate has a 135i and it’s so good together ! ( think your self past quick )

    And just drove a brand ( not mine ether ) new RR d sport and so smooth and pretty quick in real day to day driving .

    We had a 325i manual (52 plate ) and did not like the gear box one bit ! Should of gone for auto !

    Hope that helps

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    330i here an love it. Silky smooth drive and changes on motorways – no effort at all, relax and listen to the radio in traffic, stick in sport mode/steptronic when you want to have fun.

    Although I’m always surprised how many BMW auto owners don’t know about the WOT button 😈

    shifter
    Member

    allthegear – Member

    …and having just passed my A licence test for a motorbike, boy do I wish there was a DSG for motorbikes!!

    All bikes are semi-auto, or at least they are when I’m riding’em 😉

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    We hired a car in Denver which looked sporty and claimed to have 300 horse power. We drove it into the mountains and had to turn around because it couldn’t make it up a particularly steep hill.

    300bhp at sea level. Power drops off a lot at altitude, you could have been at 11,000 ft there. We had a quite fast 230bhp car at low levels that felt like a 90bhp diesel up in the mountains. Never failed to get up anything though!

    Re autos being rubbish on windy roads – bad ones are, but good ones are great. Better than manual. Such as any with the dual clutch system like DSG.

    Its a modern(ish) auto I’m looking at (BMW E91 330i Touring) so its like tiptronic (?) in that you can manually knock it up and down gears yourself if you want.

    Its not quite as good as tiptronic as you have to push the lever over to manual then you can change sequentially by moving it fore or aft. With tiptronic you just nudge the lever left to change down and right to change up.

    Unfortunately I think the model you have chosen is too old to have the 8 speed ZF box which is a thing of beauty and miles better than old BMW autos or indeed current Merc autos. I’ve got one in my 330D x drive. There’s no sensation of slushiness like you get in most autos and the changes are very fast, lightening/DSG-like fast in sport mode. The box shifts very intuitively and I very rarely shift manually using the paddle shifters except braking for a corners when pressing on in sport mode as for me the box doesn’t shift down soon enough to keep the engine fully on song.

    konabunny
    Member

    Less macho posturing on this thread than I was expecting.

    chewkw
    Member

    I was away from the far east for many years, by the time I returned for a visit I noticed all my mates were driving auto gear car. In fact, majority of the cars on the road are auto gear. I have a feeling that within the next 5 to 10 years most cars in UK will be auto gear.

    My 1.6 Toyota Corolla is brilliant and driving auto gear is so relaxing that I have plenty of time to avoid zombie maggots on the road.

    I say go for auto gear … :mrgreen:

    peterfile
    Member

    Good if you have to sit in traffic.

    Poor if you enjoy driving on open roads and in snow or wet conditions when braking through gears is preferable. Manuals make the roads come alive!!!

    My car is auto, mrs P’s is manual. We swap quite a lot.

    Going to work (mostly motorway and heavy city traffic) – mine is infinitely more relaxing both at the start and end of the day. There’s nothing fun about leaving work and instantly hitting traffic, but not having to fanny about with gears/clutch for an hour is one less thing to think about.

    Long motorway journeys – not much in it, since you spend most of your time in one gear on the motorway anyway.

    City driving – hers is way more fun, but mine is safer and more relaxing IMO. If I’m pulling out of a junction across both lanes, on a hill, in heavy traffic in the rain, it’s nice to just put the foot down and go without my hands ever leaving the steering wheel. I find being stuck in traffic in my car more relaxing.

    Weekly jaunts up north – this is where is gets interesting. Trips up the A82/A9 and further account for well over half of our overall mileage. On one hand, her car is so much more fun on bealach na ba, but it’s also hard work on a 5 hour mostly B road/singletrack drive at 5pm on a Friday. My car isn’t as fun, but given we do a 2-5 hour “engaging” drive every Friday evening and then have a packed weekend, mine tends to get me there a bit more relaxed and feeling fresher.

    Snow/ice – hard one to call for me since my car is RWD/Auto but has snow tyres and hers is FWD/Manual and doesn’t. I’d prefer to be in mine for the tyres, but it’s nice to have more control over the gears in hers (although mine is tiptronic)

    Overall – main word is “relaxing” i suppose. If you LOVE shifting because it makes you feel like you’re a driving god, then i can understand how dull and pointless an auto must feel. But to me, shifting seems a bit pointless for about 75% plus of the mileage I do, and perhaps even an inconvenience for that 75%.

    My plan is to buy something cheap and quick (350z etc) for those days when I feel like I just have to make the roads come alive 😉

    JCL
    Member

    I hate them but they’re everywhere in North America. I’ve had a lot more near misses in automatics than manuals because you forget you’re driving. In short, it isn’t driving.

    CountZero
    Member

    I guess if you’re spending much of your time in stop-start, urban traffic, then an auto makes perfect sense. If you live in the country, driving around winding, narrow lanes with steep hills, and twisty A-roads, with lots of mud and puddles, etc, then I much prefer a manual, I shift without thinking about it, using the engine for braking, so when it’s really wet and slippery with mud, or it snows, not using brakes is second nature.
    I have driven an auto, in LA. Bit of a shock to the system, using a column-shift auto-box, sat on the wrong side of the car, on the wrong side of the road, having never driven one before! In those sort of surroundings, the auto made perfect sense, and if I lived in or drove in city traffic, then a DSG-equipped car would be my choice, something like Rachel’s little Fabia.

    samuri
    Member

    @samuri – were you at altitude?

    Denver is over 5000 feet high and after hitting Boulder we just kept going up. So yes. 😉

    Premier Icon flap_jack
    Subscriber

    oldskool vacuum merc autos are absolutely brilliant…

    djglover
    Member

    The ZF 6 speed gearbox in BMWS only uses slush upto 1800 (or something in that area) RPM

    The new 8 speed only uses it on set off so resembles a dual clutch all other times. It’s an amazing gearbox.

    samuri
    Member

    I hate them but they’re everywhere in North America. I’ve had a lot more near misses in automatics than manuals because you forget you’re driving. In short, it isn’t driving.

    Americans have the worst lane control of any country I’ve ever driven in. They just drift in and out. No indication, no looking, no attempt to feed in, nothing. Worse was in Dallas but all over they are pretty poor.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    In short, it isn’t driving

    What a ridiculous statement. You’re in control of a moving car, of course it’s bloody driving. Don’t be daft.

    If you love to shift, just get a dsg. You still control the whole car, it just shifts far better than you ever will. I believe the thing was invented for racing, so it should be fine for us.

    I was used to shifting in a manual, I’m very good at it being both quick and smooth, but it’s still better in a DSG. Hands down. DSGs still engine brake in the exact same way a manual does by the way.

    konabunny
    Member

    I hate them but they’re everywhere in North America. I’ve had a lot more near misses in automatics than manuals because you forget you’re driving. In short, it isn’t driving.

    Ahh, there the macho posturing is!

    shifter
    Member

    JCL – Member

    I hate them but they’re everywhere in North America. I’ve had a lot more near misses in automatics than manuals because you forget you’re driving. In short, it isn’t driving.

    Blimey JCL, if you often forget you’re driving you need to assess whether you should be!

    loddrik
    Member

    Absolutely hate driving manual cars. Both the cars in the house now have DSG. A truly wonderful invention. Even my works vehicle is automatic and slow as buggery but it beats having to change gears.

    All this ‘driving a manual is real driving’ nonsense, what utter bullshit.

    If I’m hammering it in the wife’s golf gti and don’t change up in manual mode, the engine just bounces off the rev limiter like a manual would until I pull the paddle. Yet 99% of the time it’s only ever in ‘D’ because it’s jus too good.

    Marmoset
    Member

    I’ve got a 6 speed zf in my discovery 3 and it’s great, beautifully smooth shifts, a couple of modes(auto, sport and manual command shift) and it even knocks down a few gears for engine braking. My last discovery 2 auto was dog awful and I was always frustrated by it. The newer gearboxes and software are a lot easier to live with. I do miss driving a manual but my car is best suited to an auto, if I got something smaller for a blast bat the weekends then I’d go manual, but for general driving around I’d not be averse to a good auto.

    wurzelcube
    Member

    I’ve got a 2010 330d – it’s the first auto I’ve owned and has the steering wheel paddles. I’ve no regrets on my choice to go auto and don’t plan to go back to a manual

    I can’t comment for other autos but the BMW is fantastic – particularly since having the latest SW applied; it seems very intelligent varying when it shifts depending how you are driving; sports mode is fantastic as is the manual mode which is very similar to a manual except no stick or clutch! It will hold a gear when engine braking and will allow you to hit the rev limiter but won’t let you labor the engine.

    My other half has a manual it’s a bit weird switching back and you’ll forget to press the clutch when braking for traffic lights every now and then.

    mikertroid
    Member

    I’ve had a few Autos, owned three recently, of both torque converter and DSG variety.

    DSG much slicker but have very questionable longevity compared to Torque Converter boxes.

    I don’t think (based on my current driving needs) I’d get another manual for a long time.

    robhughes
    Member

    Kryton57.The wot button ?.Got an Msport five.Do you mean the button under the throttle or is there a nitro button hidden somewhere. 😆

    hora
    Member

    Sometimes I like holding onto 2nd and 3rd for waaay too long. You cant in an auto.

    allthegear
    Member

    Yes you can – either shift on the paddles or accelererate “briskly” in which case it will go to rev limiter before changing. How long is way too long???

    b r
    Member

    Sometimes I like holding onto 2nd and 3rd for waaay too long. You cant in an auto.

    Eh?

    trail_rat
    Member

    Its the sound. It gives him an illusion of speed.

    b r
    Member

    Its the sound. It gives him an illusion of speed.

    Is that a bit like why folk put loud exhaust on small motorbikes as well?

    Premier Icon tonyg2003
    Subscriber

    Americans have the worst lane control of any country I’ve ever driven in. They just drift in and out. No indication, no looking, no attempt to feed in, nothing. Worse was in Dallas but all over they are pretty poor.

    +1

    Almost ridiculously different driving styles in the USA. Off the highway, very slow, careful, polite (four way stops anyone?). On the highway as Samuri says.

    It’s nothing to do with autos though!

    mindmap3
    Member

    We’ve got an auto 330 and I really like it. For day to day driving its really relaxing and it works pretty well in sport mode because it hangs on to a gear until the redline and kicks down very quickly. Occasionally I wish I had a manual on a really nice stretch of road but everywhere is so busy these days, it’s not often that the cars legs can get stretched.

    The DSG box is fantastic, I wasn’t sure at guest but drive a few GTi’s with them in and it made them feel much, much faster. The wet six speed ones are supposed to be more reliable than the dry seven speed jobbies.

    I think autos suit diesels well because they do a good job of keeping the engine in the narrow power band. The lack of rev range drives me up the wall in my diesel company car.

    The new 8 speed box that BMW and Jaguar are using is supposed to be amazing and pretty much a must have option.

    bencooper
    Member

    Americans have the worst lane control of any country I’ve ever driven in. They just drift in and out. No indication, no looking, no attempt to feed in, nothing.

    Often it’s the cars – driving a big old American car is an experience. My uncle in Florida has several big old convertibles which I’ve driven, and they are so unresponsive it’s amazing – the steering wheel doesn’t do much more than vaguely hint that the car might want to turn.

    hora
    Member

    Holding onto gears too or kicking down and using engine braking. I use engine braking more than the brake pedal. So I’b fundamentally out of my driving comfort zone.

    Does a decent auto over ride Your use of paddles? Autos for me are for lazy old rich people, stellar mile munchers or people who have tired of driving manuals.

    Like the noise? Do you drive? I like control of the car to my particular quirks. IF I was doing 40miles a day commute everyday though I would have a diesel auto 20000% of the time.

    trail_rat
    Member

    My car has a set of cheap consumable items designed for slowing the car to save wear on the expensive drive train

    hora
    Member

    Different driving styles. You wont harm a warmed up petrol engine with revs etc.

    Does a decent auto over ride Your use of paddles?

    Only if you are going to the rev limit.

    Autos for me are for lazy old rich people, stellar mile munchers or people who have tired of driving manuals

    🙄

    Premier Icon unknown
    Subscriber

    I don’t think they even teach engine braking as the “correct” way to slow any more do they?

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    Auto boxes these days with paddle shifts are pretty good and for most day to day driving are very convenient. We have two auto cars. That being said for engagement when having some fun in the car a manual is far superior and in tricky road or off road conditions I prefer a manual.

    MarkBrewer
    Member

    Less macho posturing on this thread than I was expecting

    Better help to balance things out a bit then 😆

    hora
    Member

    I cant remember what I was taught but I was told off for gear-skipping (2-4, 3-5 etc)

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    robhughes – Member
    Kryton57.The wot button ?.Got an Msport five.Do you mean the button under the throttle or is there a nitro button hidden somewhere.

    Yes that’s what I meant (Wide Open Throttle). Because the kickdown is electronic an therefore no resistance, I’ve met some that get to the WOT button, feel resistance and don’t push hard because they assume that’s the “floor”.

    hora
    Member

    If we are doing faux-posteuring etc:

    Autos are for women and Americans 😉

    wurzelcube
    Member

    Hora, box doesn’t override paddles unless making engine labor in too a high gear and won’t let you to shift up if speed is too low for gear.

    I use the paddles for engine braking, particularly when having fun very easy to blip down through each gear. Take one for a test drive I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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