I test drove a GrandSport for the first time today in Southern Cal. And, well, I came away pretty disappointed and confused. First, it is in nearly every way a glorious car. I love the looks, the cockpit, the driving position, the ride, the glorious sound, and the sensational engine and its enormous pulling power. It's hard to imagine a more satisfying Coupe. At the risk of offending Porschefiles, I found it much more visceral and subjectively faster than the 911S (I know about the numbers.)
But . . . the cambiocorsa sequential transmission on the car I drove was, certainly by BMW standards, primitive to the point of my wondering if it was defective. I should say, in advance, that all the driving I did was in Sport Mode, and was under the supervision of a nervous sales rep. I've read the threads bemoaning the difficulty of launching the car from a stop, but I sort of assumed that it really wouldn't just sit there forever in first before deciding to move. Little old ladies in Civics were on the other side of the intersection before the GranSport started moving on out. Is the choice really to just sit there as it decides to move, or to stomp on it like a street racer to get its rear moving (with all the attendant drama of smoke and squeal?)
The downshifts, moreover, were molasses slow. The sequential in my BMW 550i seems to downshift twice as fast, while the downshifts in my previous 2003 M3 (in S5, not even in the most extreme S6 setting) seemed four times as fast. Is this just the way it is? If so, the transmission just seems incompetent to me. And with a technology that is certainly mature for both Ferrari and BMW, inexcusable. Tell me I'm missing something, that the sales rep just didn't know how to set it up or tell me what to do, or that there must have been something wrong, or that I just messed up. Or at least tell me that there is a new twenty-first century sequential in the pipeline.
If anyone in Southern Cal thinks I've got this wrong, I'd love a demonstration, and would gladly swap a little driving in my Z4 M Coupe (serious fun).
She's still a beauty, and the engine is fabulous, but . . .