BMW Steptronic

Soldato
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I'm currently looking at buying a BMW and a nice example has come up, a 2001 330d SE, 77k, for around 10k. thing is it has steptronic which I don't know a lot about. I have google'd away and haven't found anything untoward about the system (apart from costs if it does fail). This could be a good thing, or I just have missed all the uproar about the problems it has! Anyone have any info?
 
Soldato
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I’ve got a steptronic in my 330 and it’s basically an automatic gear box with a couple of extras. In normally mode it acts like a standard automatic gearbox, but if you push the stick to the left it sets it to sport mode. In sport mode it’s still fully automatic but stays in the lower gears longer and provides a more....well.. ‘sportier’ drive, this is how I have mine set whilst driving 90% of the time.

Now whilst in sport mode you can then push the stick up or down to override the automatic changes and have a manual feel to your drive.
 
Soldato
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Yeah if an auto box breaks it will cost you thousands yes. If you have the savings to cover than contingency then thats great as Im sure it wont fail. It's just something to bear in mind.

However, the steptronic is pretty good, its not just a BMW thing a lot of manufacturers use it. :)
 
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Used to love driving the (now ex) GF's dads 330d with the steptronic box, its about exactly how I'd like an auto to be should I ever buy one. The lag between changes definately wasn't that bad (especially compared to the similar system in her mothers A4 Cabrio, my god that was dire), but don't expect it to shift instantly.
 
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In Diesel mode, your fuel economy using this box will also drop my upto 22% over the manual. Make sure you have included this into your choice for a Diesel over a petrol variant, they also dont respond well to remapping or chipping and cant take as much torque as the manual boxes..

HTH
 
Man of Honour
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The BMW Steptronic gearbox is fundamentally a reliable box. It will bankrupt you if it breaks, but faliure is rare.

It's actually a nice box - in regular mode the changes are very smooth indeed, and you can whack it into Sport mode if you want to approach the redline in every gear.

As for the manual control part - it's good but it's not as good as a manual box. I found there was a very short delay before it would actually change down, and of course, if it thinks you've forgotton to change up or down, it'll do it for you anyway.
 
Soldato
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Ah, that's pretty good going. :)

Even being conservative, it's hard to get much above 40mpg with varied driving, 60% motorway. Last tank averaged 36mpg with town/dual carriageway driving. Although one bonus is that even with a thrashing it won't drop much below 30.
 
Soldato
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Well I went ahead and bought it in the end. MPG down to 36.6 now :D
330d.jpg
 
Soldato
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Very nice. I'm a big fan of beemers in that colour - kind of reminds me of a WW2 military colour, but in a good way :)

I love having an auto box - makes for a much more relaxing drive, but can still be entertaining when over ridden.
 
Soldato
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Update for anyone interested. After 1100 business miles, mainly motorway but including a fair chunk of "car park" M25 and M42 action and I'm getting 42.1 mpg. I'm well happy with that :) Actually there is also about 250 miles of private mileage on top of that as well...

...and I just LOVE cruise control, it's almost like playing xbox!
 
Caporegime
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On the road....
Direct "Cut 'n Paste" from This thread.

"Steptronic" It's a marketing weasel-around allowing people to pretend they're manually changing gear imo. Just leave it in "Drive" tbh. Why?

Steptronic does what you tell it, but only if it's in the mood. It doesn't always follow directions as any real manual transmission does.

It does not keep the transmission in one gear even if you've told it to do so. If it feels like downshifting it will.

The Steptronic lacks Mercedes' one-touch ability to send the transmission to the lowest safe gear. With steptronic you need to "jerk it off" gear-by-gear till you get there, this I find infuriating.

The steptronic could be likened to a BMW motorcycle's autobox, except the motorcycle never shifts for you in manual mode as steptronic does. For instance, if you have steptronic in 5 and come to a stop it brings you down to 3. Take off and and it stays in 3. It's more work keeping track of what Steptronic is doing than it is trying to second-guess any traditional automatic. You have to take your eyes off the road and peer at the dashboard, a bad thing.....

As for the "Sport" mode, that just seems to let the engine rev right into the red-line, way past peak power & torque, which is plain daft imo, BMW claim it is the way there designed to operate and this trait will not harm the engine of gearbox, I'm not convinced.

If I want to go fast, I'll disregard Sport mode completely, and use the manual, I just hope the gearbox will behave itself! My Dads complained of the same issue with his e39 Steptronic 528i.

Steptronic, very good, but just a bit to clever for its own good. That said, I'd not have a problem with buying another thus equipped BMW.
:)
 
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[TW]Fox said:
The BMW Steptronic gearbox is fundamentally a reliable box. It will bankrupt you if it breaks, but faliure is rare.

It's actually a nice box - in regular mode the changes are very smooth indeed, and you can whack it into Sport mode if you want to approach the redline in every gear.

As for the manual control part - it's good but it's not as good as a manual box. I found there was a very short delay before it would actually change down, and of course, if it thinks you've forgotton to change up or down, it'll do it for you anyway.

Have you driven a 330?
 
Man of Honour
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gaz1234 said:
Have you driven a 330?

No, only non-manual e46 I have driven is the 325Ci Sport SMG.

I have, however, driven Steptronic 02 530i Sport and 06 530d Sport so I am familier with both box and the m54 3.0.
 
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