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What am I missing about Cambiocorsa?

4033 Views 26 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  Rich Hale
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 . . .
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I live in LA and would be willing to let you drive my 06 gransport. The only difference is that I have some exhaust mods and I also had the dealership change the clutch engagement. But the shifts are lightning quick. I had an M5 with the smg and got rid of it after 5 months. The maserati GS CC is 10 times better.
I dunno, I drove the BMW SMG at the M5 school and the Maser system was about ten thousand times better.

But still, it is new technology with associated issues, so I got myself a good ol' fashioned stick shift. Plus I like impressing people with my heel-and-toeing :D
gransport 13:

Thanks for the reply. I've sent you a PM. The CC is 10 times better than the SMG? Just as good and I join the club.

In fact thanks to all. My experience just doesn't fit with everyone's responses. And I'm sure enough willing to blame my lack of familiarity with the CC; in fact I'm eager to do that. It's just extraordinarily puzzling after having sequential manual cars for the last four years (and having driven them vigorously) to have bumped into something so unlike my experience.

I'm looking to have a happy ending to the story.
gransport13 said:
...I live in LA and would be willing to let you drive my 06 gransport...
in that case why don't we all get together next weekend (my car is still in the shop but will surely get it back next week).

sweater- are you in? :)
Well, my two cents.
The CC transmission is totally awesome. I drive farily aggressively on the street and have tracked my car five times. On the street is is amazing, and on the track it is better than that.
Having watched various posts, it seems there is a lot of variability in the experience. It seems to get down to how your car is set up and it is hard to pinpoint what it takes to set up the car properly. The dealers seem to be fairly random in their ability to do this.
There is also a learning curve in getting comfortable with shifting up and down with the CC. For most of us it isn't something we do on day one. For example, my dealer, FMOSF, has track days for their customers at Sears Point and Thundrhill. At Sears Point the instructors spend half the day showing us how to heel/toe our CC trannys. They did this for the F360 owners and the Maser owners. It made a big difference, and I find that blipping the throttle on downshits to 3rd and always to 2nd works better than letting the computer do it.
I don't know the magic it takes, but there is a LOT of setup involved in getting the clutch engagement optimized and the computer properly adapted to your driving habits, and a LITTLE of driver expertise. But when you get it right, the experience is worth it.
So the short answer is to find another CC car and drive it aggressively (as it is meant to be driven) and I bet you will find your unhappy experience on the first car was unusualy.
Good luck,
Mike (obviously, a CC zealot/evangelist!)
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I appreciate the post very much. I've sent you a PM.
not much more to add

as you guys have said it all.. but remember the technology IS adaptive.. collating the load on the engine the clutch pressure, the accelerator points, your foot on the accellerator etc etc.. managing that info it shoses how quickly to engage the clutch etc.

the harder you drive it the faster it will shift in either mode.. so get in and DRIVE it.. it's an awesome box but not for those without the patience to work at it. :)
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