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      04-08-2013, 05:22 AM   #1
Robopilingui
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Doubts about the M135i

Hi everyone. I have an M135i since January. I have made almost 7000km with it and I am am very happy with the car. Such an amazing machine. But there are a couple of things about the car that seem strange to me.
Firstly the Sport Auto gearbox. It is an impressive gearbox while driving fast, but when driving in the city at low speeds it is too jerky. I've driven an e70 X5 with the 6-speed auto gearbox and before of it an e39 5 series with the 5-speed auto gearbox and none of them behaves like this 8-speed does at low speeds. When the car is cold it is even jerkier. Sometimes uncomfortable. I don't know if it is normal. Maybe it is because the sporty character of the car, but I'm not sure. I don't want to take the car to the dealer and get embarrassed being wrong.

The other thing I am doubtful with is the tailpipes. I am almost sure that the right tailpipe is lower than the left one. They are not in the same position. Again, I would like to know if this is normal. I didn't see or try another M135i so I can't compare neither the gearbox nor the tailpipes position.

Can someone help me?

Thanks!

Last edited by Robopilingui; 04-08-2013 at 06:58 AM..
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      04-08-2013, 06:27 AM   #2
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For the tailpipes I cannot comment, but for the gearbox: Which driving mode are you using? If it is on Sport (or sport+) it is a bit jerky...try Comfort or EcoPro and it should be fine. If not, then 99% it is a software problem and should be resolved by your dealer. The 8-speed ZF autobox is smooth as a cream in its gearchanges...you should not feel them at all.
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      04-08-2013, 06:32 AM   #3
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I actually felt the same jerky feel driving the demo at my dealer. That was in comfort mode as well. Hopefully it wont happen to me when I get my car
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      04-08-2013, 07:33 AM   #4
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I get the exact same issue. BUT its only while driving at a constant speed around 20kms and the car jerks when you lift off the accelerator.

It's not the changing of gears that's jerky is the action of putting your foot off the accelerator at that speed.

It's very hard to control as the range on the pedal is very small... and even tiny letting go of pedal makes it jerk abit.
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      04-08-2013, 08:14 AM   #5
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Can't see anything different for either side of my tailpipe. You can always bust out a tape measure or caliper to record the difference in height. If you're not happy bring the car in see what they can do. The end of the pipe I think it's a screw-on, so you (or BMW guys) can adjust from there.
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      04-08-2013, 08:22 AM   #6
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I feel the jerk once in a while when the car is cold, but usually its smooth
it doesnt bother me
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      04-08-2013, 04:16 PM   #7
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Smooth for me... though not sure if there's a difference, or more aggressive mapping, between the M135i and 125i?

Sometimes I'll notice the car jerk as I downshift into 1st when coming to a stop. On Auto setting, no problems, even in Sport.
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      04-08-2013, 07:17 PM   #8
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More than likely if you take it to a dealer they will say everything is fine (even if it isn't). From my experience driveline issues are hard to get the dealership to acknowledge. I would try to take a drive with a tech or SA so that way you can precisely show them what you are talking about. Rather than just say its a little jerky. But it seems like its not an isolated issue, so maybe bmw is already working on a service bulletin.

As for the tail pipes, post a picture. More than likely BMW is going to be a little reluctant to address this. Although it can be done. LOL. I got them to repaint the roof on my mothers CPO E65, because it shouldn't have been CPO'd with such paint imperfections. So, it really depends on the argument you go in with. One way to test it would be to get two pieces of round metal and a leveler. Then rest the leveler on the two bars. If the ground your on is not level, you will need to level the ground as well. If they are the same as exhaust, then all is good. One thing to be careful about is the exhaust flap. I am not sure exactly how that mechanism fits in the exhaust. That could render this idea useless.

Just my 0.02
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      04-09-2013, 01:56 AM   #9
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The 8 speed sport auto is one of the most remarkable elements of the M135i, along with its engine. Many reviewers have compared it favourably with DCT, and indeed some even commenting that it may make the heavier and more expensive DCT redundant. Millisecond shift times and almost immediate lock-up are what makes this box so remarkable. The 'slush box' that was the 6 speed X5 transmission slurs from gear to gear, taking seconds and only locking up at higher revs.

The price you pay for this high performance is that in situations of slow speed and slowly increasing revs, you can sometimes feel the shifts. Basically the reason they can make the box as fast and smooth as it is is due to the closeness of the ratios. If this were a 6 speed, with wider spaced ratios, both shift speed and lock up would need to compromised to achieve smoother shifts....and I would be driving the 6 speed MT because that old 6 speed AT in the X5 was smooth, horribly slow and ponderous.

I doubt there's anything wrong with your gearbox. Try an M5 DCT in town if you want to know how far the new 8 speed Sport Auto has come.
EcoPro remaps the throttle response to be a lot less sensitive. Try that in slow town traffic
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      04-09-2013, 02:49 AM   #10
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Thank you all for your replies. I am not saying there's anything wrong with the gearbox as I have never tried it before. I think it is brilliant 95% of the time, impressively fast. I just wanted to share my thoughts and get people's experiences with the gearbox. It is an expensive car (compared to what I had before), a whim car, and I want to get sure it drives, sounds and feels like it should.

Like bimmerjph said, if I take the car to the dealer without being sure of what problem it has, they will probably say everything is fine. Furthermore, I don't want to go to the dealer complaining about a thing that is fine.

Referring to the tailpipes, I will upload a photo ASAP, just for curiosity.

After that, I just want to say: what an amazing car! Every day I like it more and more. Masterpiece.
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      04-09-2013, 05:13 AM   #11
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I am the owner of a 116i M Sport with the 8 speed auto. I too find it very jerky for the initial few minutes of each journey - this is even worse in the colder weather.
I previously owned a E81 with the 6 speed auto and whilst the 8 speed is better in that it always seems to be in the correct gear, I found the 6 speed to be significantly smoother and I am somewhat disappointed with the ZF 8 speed.
I have seen various posts now on different forums complaining of this 'jerkiness' but other members soon post comments in reply disagreeing so I am beginning to wonder if there are quality control issues. Personally, I would not buy another car with this auto gearbox because I drive mainly at slow speeds through the London commuter traffic and for me smoothness is all important.
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      04-09-2013, 05:23 AM   #12
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My observations are as a new owner. First, I find the zf8AT much smoother than our Golf 7sp DSG

I think I have a sense of what you're describing as "jerkiness". If what I think it is is correct, it is the g/b shuffling gears (usually downshifting) while you are traveling slowly. It's doing this to prepare for anticipated acceleration, rather than staying in a higher gear, and then putting a fairly uncomfortable kick-down jerk through the transmission when you accelerate. This sensation is even more evident to me when in Sport, or Sport+ mode, but I don't find it unpleasant.

To test this, you can simply push the lever over to manual, and see if the jerkiness is eliminated while you hold the car in, say, 3rd gear, and speed up or slow down
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      04-09-2013, 06:11 AM   #13
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The ZF8 is a very nice box and pretty quick through the gears and on the whole smooth.

For the first 30 seconds or so you can feel the box changing although its not too bad, I just think we get spoilt at how smooth it is normally.

However I still don't think its a patch on my r32's DSG box. It seems to be even quicker at changing gear and also blips the throttle on down changes. However very happy with the ZF8 :-)
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      04-17-2013, 04:51 AM   #14
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I have measured the position of both tailpipes and they are in the same place. It was just an optical effect. I think I need glasses .

About the gearbox: the other day I was driving in comfort and D, and I was braking to stop from around 60 km/h. When I was nearly stopped (say 5 km/h), the car made three shakes and then stopped. It happened only once, but it didn't seem normal to me. Moreover, last week I was exiting a toll from 20 km/h and slammed the throttle pedal to kick-down in S. The gearbox reduced from 3rd to 1rst (completely unnecessary in my opinion, but this is not the main problem here) and then when changing to 2nd it took about two seconds to do it, but made the next changes correctly. All the examples with the car in COMFORT mode.

I am not saying it is not working properly, but as I have never driven another M135i or a BMW with the sport auto gearbox, I can't conclude if it is normal or not.

Supposing it is not normal, would it look like a mechanical or an electronic problem?
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      04-17-2013, 06:07 AM   #15
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Sounds completely normal to me. Imagine you were driving an 8sp manual in each situation, what would you be doing in terms of gear shifts? The box is trying to make those same decisions, albeit without seeing what you're seeing. As for the "unnecessary" kick down, you did say you "slammed the throttle pedal". It's in Sports mode, it gets kicked in the guts, so it responds as I would expect this gearbox to, by dropping down two gears and holding the changes until redline.
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      04-17-2013, 08:18 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttimbo
Sounds completely normal to me. Imagine you were driving an 8sp manual in each situation, what would you be doing in terms of gear shifts? The box is trying to make those same decisions, albeit without seeing what you're seeing. As for the "unnecessary" kick down, you did say you "slammed the throttle pedal". It's in Sports mode, it gets kicked in the guts, so it responds as I would expect this gearbox to, by dropping down two gears and holding the changes until redline.
When I say three shakes I don't mean three gear changes. Car was almost stopped, maybe not 5 km/h but 1 km/h. I can recognize when car is decreasing gears and that was not a normal gear decreasing. Let me explain it in another way: car was stopped (or should have stopped) with the brake pedal pressure I was doing. It unbraked and made 3 shakes and stopped again. Very strange.

The kick-down itself doesn't bother me a lot as I am sure BMW engineers are far better than me on deciding which gear to choose, what I found strange was the time spent changing gears. I think I read that gear changes are done in 0.2 seconds, well, that took almost 2 seconds, as if the gearbox didn't know what to do.

Sorry if I don't explain myself clearly enough and thank you for you reply...
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      04-17-2013, 02:12 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robopilingui View Post
About the gearbox: the other day I was driving in comfort and D, and I was braking to stop from around 60 km/h. When I was nearly stopped (say 5 km/h), the car made three shakes and then stopped. It happened only once, but it didn't seem normal to me.
Did you have your foot on the brake pedal constantly till you stopped or did you release the pedal while the car was still rolling with a speed of 5 km/h?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robopilingui View Post
Moreover, last week I was exiting a toll from 20 km/h and slammed the throttle pedal to kick-down in S. The gearbox reduced from 3rd to 1rst (completely unnecessary in my opinion, but this is not the main problem here) and then when changing to 2nd it took about two seconds to do it, but made the next changes correctly. All the examples with the car in COMFORT mode.
From the little experience I have with this awesome gear box, if you hit the pedal hard (kickdown), it will downshift by two gears. It's normal. The delay from 1st to 2nd gear is also due to kickdown. This happens whenever you press the accelerator pedal harder than normal in any other gear. Try this: start with 1st and 2nd gear normally and hit the accelerator pedal in 3rd. You' ll see that it won't change in e.g. 3,000 rpm but in 5,000 or 6,000 rpm. When pressing the pedal hard, the gear box detects ("feels") that you need more speed (higher revs) so it will change gear in higher rpm. I don't know if I am wrong but this is how I perceive it...
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      04-17-2013, 04:25 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttimbo View Post
My observations are as a new owner. First, I find the zf8AT much smoother than our Golf 7sp DSG

I think I have a sense of what you're describing as "jerkiness". If what I think it is is correct, it is the g/b shuffling gears (usually downshifting) while you are traveling slowly. It's doing this to prepare for anticipated acceleration, rather than staying in a higher gear, and then putting a fairly uncomfortable kick-down jerk through the transmission when you accelerate. This sensation is even more evident to me when in Sport, or Sport+ mode, but I don't find it unpleasant.

To test this, you can simply push the lever over to manual, and see if the jerkiness is eliminated while you hold the car in, say, 3rd gear, and speed up or slow down
I find the ZF8AT much smoother than my 997 5-Speed Steptronic box although obviously much busier, but then that's not surprising I suppose.

I've found that the 'S' Auto setting will immediately increase throttle sensitivity in its own right without even touching the adaptive suspension button. If you keep your foot on the gas pedal when you flick the selector across you'll see what I mean immediately. The revs jump with no extra applied pressure to the pedal, nor a gear change.

Follow this with a dab on the adaptive suspension button, from Comfort to Sport, and the revs will increase again with no appreciable gear change as far as I can tell. This takes a bit of getting used to.

Personally I'd prefer it if switching to 'S' mode on the gears would automatically switch up from the Comfort setting and avoid this secondary step change. Can't imagine anyone wanting a sportier gearbox setting without wanting a firmer ride and more aggressive throttle response to be honest.

Also I think my 'S' mode will never, ever, select 8th gear on its own at legal road speeds. Which is a bit annoying because I have to nudge it manually which switches it to Manual mode.

So for me the answer is clear, the gearbox and ECU flirt with each other by design.

There's less of an effect switching back to Comfort and Auto gears although I have noticed that the gearbox will make heavier use of engine braking if just the selector is switched.

This caught me out a bit when I pressed the Comfort button at the end of a slip road whilst still slowing down as the box changed up a gear unexpectedly when I was coasting. So in the end I had to apply more brake than I expected as less speed than I wanted was scrubbed off.
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      04-17-2013, 08:44 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robopilingui View Post
When I say three shakes I don't mean three gear changes. Car was almost stopped, maybe not 5 km/h but 1 km/h. I can recognize when car is decreasing gears and that was not a normal gear decreasing. Let me explain it in another way: car was stopped (or should have stopped) with the brake pedal pressure I was doing. It unbraked and made 3 shakes and stopped again. Very strange.
Sounds a little strange. One of the issues with Comfort mode, and with the selector in "D" is that you don't get an indication of which gear the car is in.

Maybe check with your dealer, and have a technician ride with you. But my hunch remains that what you are feeling are the gearbox down-changes as you come to a stop
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      04-17-2013, 08:52 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madgambler View Post
So for me the answer is clear, the gearbox and ECU flirt with each other by design.

There's less of an effect switching back to Comfort and Auto gears although I have noticed that the gearbox will make heavier use of engine braking if just the selector is switched.

This caught me out a bit when I pressed the Comfort button at the end of a slip road whilst still slowing down as the box changed up a gear unexpectedly when I was coasting. So in the end I had to apply more brake than I expected as less speed than I wanted was scrubbed off.
I like the expression "flirt" In addition to the driver's, there's several brains at work in this car and one hopes they are always cooperating at least, if not flirting!

No doubt, there are some parts of the coding that are openly in conflict, especially when it comes to performance vs economy, and the human brain needs to bear these in mind when you make any of those mode switch changes. Flick to Econ at the wrong time, and you're confronted with a car that responds like it's driving through molasses
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      08-22-2014, 03:15 AM   #21
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I have been driving the car for work commute (which is normally a traffic jam ) and it is getting worse. When I accelerate to 20 kph aprox. and lift off the throttle it retains excesively and shakes. I read in some places that it seems to be normal (meaning that the car is "designed" to behave like this) but as I started to accept so, I started to feel disappointed to have chosen the auto.

On the other hand, I am in love with the rest of the car.
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      08-22-2014, 04:11 AM   #22
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Yeah !! I have a love hate relationship with the gearbox in my M135i !! At light throttle and cruise and for the first 5 minutes when cold I too have experienced these issues.... but when nailing it wot its a smooth a silk !! I have just learnt to live with it now !! I will say tho I believe the Gearbox adapts to your driving style so if you are sitting in traffic all the time it may adapt to that which will enhance the negatives.
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