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We drop the clutch in BMW's latest hot-rod coupe.
Car & Driver
October 2014
By: Mike Sutton


The high-tech tour de force that is the new BMW M4 is packed with enough bits and bytes for the M faithful to seriously question what the Ultimate Driving Machine has become. Since the coupe shares its new-age guts with the equally fresh M3 sedan, we knew we needed to lay hands on a two-door with a proper enthusiast’s transmission: a row-your-own six-speed manual. As with the M3 we tested with the manual, the three-pedal setup is the best way to cut through the gauzy haze of the M4’s electronic wizardry.

Full article available at link.
 

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Just another example where an automatic equipped car thoroughly trounces a manual equipped car in almost every metric.
Do you really find this shocking? also do not consfuse the DCT with older slower planetary gearbox automatic transmissions with torque converters. Mechanically a DCT is a manual transmission (actually it is mechanically two manual transmissions). Dual clutch transmissions as well as newer automatic transmissions offer shift speeds in which a synchronous manual gear box. A good manual transmission shift can add .3 seconds to the time it take to accelerate (because it takes roughly that much time). These newer faster shifting transmissions can cut that time down, the 6 speed automatic transmission in the ZL1 Camaro was stated to shift in 200MS and had a 0-60 time .1 seconds faster then the car with a manual transmission.

Also it is pointless to compare performance numbers for two vehicles not tested on the same day at the same time and at the same location with the same driver. You end up with too much variation to tell much about the two cars when they are closely matched. If a competent drive were to drive both the DCT and manual car back to back we may only see .2 seconds difference in 0-60 time. On this day and location the DCT M4 may only have reached 60MPH in 3.9 seconds (instead of the earlier test of 3.7 seconds). Greater differences come from different temperatures resulting in different levels of power and different levels of grip on different roads. One car may be tested at near sea level and another car might be tested a mile high which obviously the car a mile high will suffer due to the thinner air.
 

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Do you really find this shocking? also do not consfuse the DCT with older slower planetary gearbox automatic transmissions with torque converters. Mechanically a DCT is a manual transmission (actually it is mechanically two manual transmissions). Dual clutch transmissions as well as newer automatic transmissions offer shift speeds in which a synchronous manual gear box. A good manual transmission shift can add .3 seconds to the time it take to accelerate (because it takes roughly that much time). These newer faster shifting transmissions can cut that time down, the 6 speed automatic transmission in the ZL1 Camaro was stated to shift in 200MS and had a 0-60 time .1 seconds faster then the car with a manual transmission.

Also it is pointless to compare performance numbers for two vehicles not tested on the same day at the same time and at the same location with the same driver. You end up with too much variation to tell much about the two cars when they are closely matched. If a competent drive were to drive both the DCT and manual car back to back we may only see .2 seconds difference in 0-60 time. On this day and location the DCT M4 may only have reached 60MPH in 3.9 seconds (instead of the earlier test of 3.7 seconds). Greater differences come from different temperatures resulting in different levels of power and different levels of grip on different roads. One car may be tested at near sea level and another car might be tested a mile high which obviously the car a mile high will suffer due to the thinner air.
It comes down to are we buying a car to enjoy or buying for the bragging rights of an easily recorded and advertised metric? That's what I find frustrating, and a trap GM fell into**, is that 0-60 is such a "wow" factor and like I said easily tested and felt by a driver. But ultimately is it a big deal and a reason to buy a car? I'll admit I'm the first one to enjoy "beating" someone from a stoplight (especially the kids in their Civic's with fart can exhaust), but unless you have a 1,000 hp Bugatti, there will almost always be someone with a faster car. In the end if you enjoy rowing your own gears, buy it. Who cares if a DCT is .3 seconds faster, my guess it will be few and far between when a manual M4 has the opportunity to get bested at a stoplight by a DCT M4. Does .3 seconds make the DCT a better car? No, just a faster car.

**Until recently GM was great at getting the fastest 0-60 times out there, but that was it. We rarely heard good things about steering feel, handling, etc. in regards to a GM - it was all straight line power. Which is why Honda and BMW always won comparisons because their cars were/are fun to drive and not just stoplight drag race kings. I'm glad GM's seen the light and now giving us cars that handle as well. It was almost like in GM's dysfunctional culture they (they being the various managers of GM with input on designing a car) could only agree that 0-60 was good and couldn't agree anywhere else.


Seems like every article I read about new BWM's almost always say they aren't as fun as the previous generation. I wonder if this will ever make an impact on their sales? Especially with Cadillac trying to make a splash and take a bite out of their sales - Cadillac only has "up" to go in regards to fun and handling, as bad as it is to hear about Cimmaron comparisons, never do we hear that today's Cadillac's don't handle as well as yesterday's Cadillac's.
 

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What i do not get is why people are making such a big deal out of 0-60 time difference between manual and automatics. I drive sticks, when I do, because i love the control I have in turns, from a light, or just period. Sometimes i love that connect feeling with the car that you get in a manual. So i could care less which version is faster because for me it is not about that. Now I know guys that came up in the muscle car era are fixated on 0-60 times but to me that has no bearing I take a more holistic approach.
 
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The article in four sentences:

...the DCT’s extra adjustments mostly just distance the driver farther from the action. . . .

Actually driving with the manual, however, is far more enjoyable as you work the well-oiled shifter and the perfectly spaced pedals. . . .

The DCT automatic is definitely easier to commute with day-to-day, but we wouldn’t spend three grand on it. . . .

We could live without most of this test car’s add-ons, but not its manual transmission.
No one who buys an automatic M4 will ever notice (let alone appreciate) the difference between a 12.0 and 12.4 second quarter mile. However, those who buy a manual M4 will appreciate the enjoyment they get out of the manual transmission every time they drive it.
 

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It comes down to are we buying a car to enjoy or buying for the bragging rights of an easily recorded and advertised metric? That's what I find frustrating, and a trap GM fell into**, is that 0-60 is such a "wow" factor and like I said easily tested and felt by a driver. But ultimately is it a big deal and a reason to buy a car? I'll admit I'm the first one to enjoy "beating" someone from a stoplight (especially the kids in their Civic's with fart can exhaust), but unless you have a 1,000 hp Bugatti, there will almost always be someone with a faster car. In the end if you enjoy rowing your own gears, buy it. Who cares if a DCT is .3 seconds faster, my guess it will be few and far between when a manual M4 has the opportunity to get bested at a stoplight by a DCT M4. Does .3 seconds make the DCT a better car? No, just a faster car.

**Until recently GM was great at getting the fastest 0-60 times out there, but that was it. We rarely heard good things about steering feel, handling, etc. in regards to a GM - it was all straight line power. Which is why Honda and BMW always won comparisons because their cars were/are fun to drive and not just stoplight drag race kings. I'm glad GM's seen the light and now giving us cars that handle as well. It was almost like in GM's dysfunctional culture they (they being the various managers of GM with input on designing a car) could only agree that 0-60 was good and couldn't agree anywhere else.


Seems like every article I read about new BWM's almost always say they aren't as fun as the previous generation. I wonder if this will ever make an impact on their sales? Especially with Cadillac trying to make a splash and take a bite out of their sales - Cadillac only has "up" to go in regards to fun and handling, as bad as it is to hear about Cimmaron comparisons, never do we hear that today's Cadillac's don't handle as well as yesterday's Cadillac's.
You know, I am a strong believer in that most people can not tell by the seat of their pants the difference between going from 0 to 60 in 5 secnds and 4 seconds. When you are driving on a canyon road or a mountain road will you be able to tell that the M4 with the DCT gets to 60MPH fsater then the 6 speed manual M4?. Also I agree that people confuse having a faster 0-60 time with a car being faster in every regard. On your favorite road is it not the driving experience and the control that rewards you the most? and not just a slightly faster 0-60 time. I guess if you were into drag racing then a faster 1/4 mile time is all that matters to you and if you race on the street then a faster 0-60 is what matters.

Though I think it even gets worse, some people are going to look at the M4s 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds and assume that it puts down a faster lap time then lets say a 1LE Camaro. Last year at VIR the 1LE ran a 3.01.5 second lap time, this year an M4 ran a 3:00.7 second lap time. However here is the problem, due to changes at the track this year the track is faster then it was last year and the 2014 1LE is stated to be improved over last years. Truth be told in a head to head race the new M4 with DCT just might be beaten by a 1LE Camaro with a manual transmission.
 

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M3/m4 should be DCT only for performance. The manuals are for those who live in the past and enjoy being one with the machine etc....

To be fastest.....order the automatic..

Jmo
 

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Another factor in the sprint difference times is probably the extra ratio in the DCT. Means it probably has a lower gearing spread through the indirect ratios, too. While DCT might offer a tenth or two here or there, I wouldn't have one myself. Autos are fine in luxury/commuter cars and DCT - taking it to the track, yes. Driver involvement is why I would own a car like that, and manuals are it as far as that is concerned. No doubt DCTs are getting very good - no torque converter and isolating the gears on one shaft is good from an economy/efficiency standpoint although you give a little weight/compactness away: and one day you won't have the option, so I'll take it while I can. Choice is good, no?

This car's broad spread of peak torque makes gear selection less critical to maintain a quick time on the road.

I think the issue with this particular car as a concept is, it is so competent, it is way beyond the abilities of 99.9% of the planet to ever fully use it's capabilites. It'd probably be a bit more fun if they left a bit to the driver's abilities.' And the electrickery taking control of various functions adds a layer between the driver and the vehicles, which in some respects could sap confidence.

I don't know about SOTP stopwatches - my Speed Triple was pulling 3.6 sec 0-60s when it was new in tests in 2001, I can tell the diff between it and my Monaro, even idling off the line and revving it to 4-5 grand (9500rpm redline), it's probably still a second quicker than the car: as in, blink, and your're there.

Just due to weighing about 700lb full of juice and with me on it, with 120-some hp and a nice, fat, lazy torque curve. The car feels like it takes - not forever, but considerably longer. I don't know if I could feel two tenths, but half a second - yep, that's a long time.

As I said though, wouldn't stop me picking the manual. Most 'races' are won by reaction time if the vehicles are more or less equal.
 

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Just another example where an automatic equipped car thoroughly trounces a manual equipped car in almost every metric.
automatics don't let me have control over the car that an auto driver wouldn't understand I don't care if they auto was 2 sec faster. you auto guys just don't understand.... its ok just enjoy your auto while the teens crash into you because one of their hands have nothing to do =D
 

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the auto industry is heavily "wrapped up" in a stat they can "sell", sports cars it is 0 to 60 trucks it is trailer towing and cuvs it is hi way fuel usage and all of those stats them selves do NOT make a good car/truck ETC
and in some cases a LESS capable car is more fun in NORMAL environments then the top number bringer, for a normal person in a normal PUBLIC environment a Mini Cooper will be more "FUN" then a GT-R
Top Gear once remarked testing the Nissan GT-R that it is blazingly fast but is a LOT like playing a racing game on the PS3 because the computers did ALL of the work for you
 

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M3/m4 should be DCT only for performance. The manuals are for those who live in the past and enjoy being one with the machine etc....

To be fastest.....order the automatic..

Jmo
M3/m4 should be manual only for driving. The autos are for those who are lazy and care only about a stat....

To be fastest driver.....order the manual..



For the record, my actual views are somewhere closer to the middle, but still.
 

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Seems what we have here are a group of people on the fringes of the bell curve. Both at odd extremes on this issue.....is it really that much of an issue either way? Younger people never learned to drive sticks because they did not have to and so they don't understand or value the experience. Older guys came up in the V8 0-60 time era where people would brag about being a 10th of a second faster. Any balanced person can see how the experience is about what you feel and what you get out of it. Who cares what some old rag says these "auto journalist" are so out of touch. Younger guys sometime don't have a clue when they think they do and older guys think they know it all when actually the game has changed. What can you do about? nothing.
 

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$83k as tested for an M4 with only 425 hp and 400 lb ft. Not a chance.

That being said, isn't this supposed to be the last generation M3/4 that will even offer a stick shift? I know BMW has stated that is the case regarding the current M5.
 

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M3/m4 should be manual only for driving. The autos are for those who are lazy and care only about a stat....

To be fastest driver.....order the manual..



For the record, my actual views are somewhere closer to the middle, but still.
I've been digging driving manuals for over 35 years and my present z51 c6 is a manual......but the automatic technology is just so good the new automated transmissions are faster...

Check out any auto cross and the DCT and new automatic transmission cars are fastest.

The new 8L90 c7 z06 is insane...

The Ferrari 458 and Lamborghini hurran (sp) are awesome...

Driving manuals are fun yet the new technology cars are even faster.

Driving skill can evolve to steering accelerating and braking.....it doesn't have to include a clutch pedal...

I personally see the new advanced transmission technology either the zf8, the 8L90 or the DCT technologies are far superior to what existed just a few years back..

These new technologies leap frogged the manual transmission ...

I see this much in the same way I see the driving advancement of ABS and active handling

Luckily for those that want manuals.....there are a few left..

I totally understand your position....I just don't happen to agree any longer.

I used to.
 

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you must be kidding when you say "today's Cadillac's don't handle as well as yesterday's Cadillac's."
No, not kidding, Cadillac has nowhere to go but up. So no one will hear that this generation of Cadillac doesn't handle as well as the last generation as we hear with BMW. To hear that this generation of BMW isn't as good as the last generation wouldn't be a strong selling point for me were I to me in the market for a BMW.
 

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Suprised no one mentioned the ATS-V coupe yet. Is it just me or is anyone else not looking forward to the V??? Why does Cadillac drop the V version right when the whole car needs a refresh? I hope the new head of Cadillac changes that if anything and I will be proud of him.
 
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