Shortly to be available in Europe, the roofless German arrives in Australia mid-year, when the new transmission becomes available in both hard and soft top M3s as an alternative to the current six-speed manual. In the previous generation.
M3, the company’s SMG transmission was overwhelmingly the buyer’s choice.
With the success of the Volkswagen Group’s Direct Shift Gearbox in everything from a humble Golf diesel to the specialised version in Audi’s R8, a BMW take has been expected for some time.
Specifically designed to handle the high-revving abilities of the M3’s 309kW/400Nm 4.0 litre V8, BMW’s new automated manual is imbued with Drivelogic, which has eleven electronically controlled driving programs in M-specific set-up; five shift programs in the automatic mode, six shift programs in the manual mode including Launch Control for maximum acceleration from a standstill; efficiency-enhancing transmission control in the automatic mode; and sequential gear selection in the manual mode.
Unlike the sometimes harsh SMGs of old, the new device promises to be as adept in suburban traffic as full-on racetrack deployment. Like similar set-ups it produces fewer emissions and lower consumption than either a conventional manual or a torque converter automatic.
Pricing for Australia has yet to be finalised, but expect a premium of several thousand dollars for cars with the double clutch transmission over the $157,000 M3 manual coupe and as much as $15K more for the convertible
As to the sedan version of the M3, which was previewed on Carsguide a few months ago, BMW Australia has yet to make a decision.