BMW 6 Series Gearbox
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The Different types of Gearboxes for the BMW 6 Series
Both the six speed manual gearbox and the six-speed sports automatic gearbox are designed to help you use the power of your BMW 6 Series Coupé to the full. The sports automatic gearbox Steptronic (see below) has paddle shifters that let you shift up and down sequentially, without using the clutch and with both hands on the wheel. Pressing the sports button makes the whole process even more dynamic.
The BMW 6 Series 630i is powered by a six cylinder, 24 valve, a six speed manual gearbox, the BMW 6 Series 650i pumps out a massive 367 bhp through its six speed manual gearbox. Both cars come with the options of automatic gearbox or the SMG sequential manual gearbox (see below).
Steptronic gearbox in the 6 Series
Makes your driving pleasure more pleasant. Steptronic makes shifting gears in a BMW with an automatic gearbox as dynamic and sporting as it is with a manual transmission.
This flexible feature quickly transforms the 6 speed automatic gearbox in your BMW to a 6 speed manual. When the gear selector lever is moved easily to activate Steptronic, you can shift gears up and down as with a manual gearbox.
The sequential shift is quicker. For example, to go from 2nd to 3rd gear on the “H” pattern, you have to push the lever up, over and up again. That takes time. On a sequential gearbox, you simply push the lever up for every gear change.
- The sequential shift is consistent. You do not have to think, “Let’s see, I’m in second gear so I have to go up-over-up to get to third.” You simply push the lever forward — it’s the same motion for every gear.
- The hand location is consistent. With the “H” pattern, the location of the shift lever changes, so you have to think about where to put your hand depending on which gear you are in. With a sequential gearbox, the shift lever is always in the same place for the next shift.
- The sequential shift has no surprises. If you mis-shift with the “H” pattern in a race (for example, down-shifting to 2nd when you meant to go to 4th), it is possible to blow up the engine. That can never happen with a sequential gearbox.
- The other advantage is that the sequential shift lever takes up less space in the race car cockpit. You only need space for the forward/backward motion of the lever, not left / right.
The drum is rotated manually by a lever in the cockpit, or it is rotated by solenoids, pneumatics or hydraulics that are activated electronically. In the electronic case, the driver has a pair of paddle switches on the steering wheel to control the mechanism and never has to move his/her hands from the steering wheel.
Because of the advantages of the sequential approach, this type of transmission is starting to appear on cars in the high-end tuner market. A sequential manual transmission is not to be confused with a “tiptronic” sort of automatic transmission.
SMG sequential manual gearbox in the 6 Series
In German, it is called Sequentiellen M Getriebe, but it translates in English to Sequential M Gearbox. Once you use it, you may think of it as Suddenly M Goes and if you thought the standard M3 was a screamer, wait until you try the SMG with its Sequential Manual Gearbox.
SMG was first made available on the Euro E36 M3 in 1997. Under the console there’s a six-speed manual gearbox, but rather than the conventional H pattern, the SMG gearstick moves backwards for shifting up and forwards for shifting down.
Because you don’t have to think about shift points and heel and toe driving – matching revs and finding the right gear – driving is smoother, quicker and easier on the gearbox … and your legs!
The new SMG II gearbox has these features and benefits:
- You can choose between two shift modes, the sequential (“S”) mode or the automated (“A”) mode.
- “Drivelogic” allows you to individually match the SMG’s shift characteristic to your preferred driving habits, with eleven different driving programs.
- When downshifting, the engine will automatically double-declutch.
- There is no need for a clutch, clutch pedal or torque converter.
- It is easy to select the optimum shift point with the “shift lights”, LEDs in the cockpit indicating the optimum shift point on the tachometer.
With SMG, you can use S mode (sequential manual) or A mode (automated). The “A” Mode was called “E” Mode (economy) in SMG I.
- A Mode provides the convenience of an automatic transmission for start and stop driving, while S Mode provides lightning fast gear shifts even with the accelerator pedal fully depressed.
- You can easily perform a racing start! Select the S mode, push the gear lever forward, and depress the accelerator.
- You can change modes “on the fly” at any time.
Other than sheer driving pleasure, there are many benefits to using SMG:
- The life of the clutch, gearbox and drive line components are extended due to the precise control of clutch and gear actuation.
- SMG uses less horsepower, provides better fuel efficiency, is lighter, less complex and cheaper to manufacture.
- Since there is no clutch pedal, SMG reduces driver fatique.
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