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Manual or Auto - which do you prefer?

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Replies : 415

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View Poll Results: I prefer the following
Manual 328 44.93%
Automatic 402 55.07%
Voters: 730. You may not vote on this poll

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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 13:00   #21
johnmorl
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Over the years I've driven both, and they've had their plus and minus points. My original reason for changing to auto was it was my first relatively high mileage second hand car purchase, and I felt an auto was less prone to having been thrashed, plus all the other bits of the drivetrain are under less stress. It was an Audi A6, and not the smoothest auto, but then I spent a year in the US with a Camry 2.4 Auto which was wonderful, especially with their roads. Then back home and into an 850 2.0 20V auto, and while it was a bit sluggish the box was a lot nicer than the Audi. Now with the diesel auto I think the setup really suits my driving style, nice and relaxed round town and for the open road there's always sport mode and kickdown!
I do have to admit to never having driven a Volvo manual - perhaps for my next car!
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 16:59   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Hutchinson View Post
I use an auto for my daily commute due to the stop start traffic but much prefer my manual as regards driving. What do folks think?
Hi Ian, I don’t believe all the old wife’s tales regarding auto’s the main advantage IMHO is they allow you to left foot brake much easier than manuals, the advantages of LFB is so worth the effort to learn whether your racing or just driving down the road (apologises to those already converted). The latest DSG boxes (see link) are looking good in this respect, Volvo/Ford variant not far away I believe.

http://paultan.org/archives/2006/04/...shift-gearbox/

If you’re interested in learning more about LFB the extract below might be worth a read, the link is the full article.

http://e46m3performance.com/installs/pedal/index.htm


"The (1997 Sauber) C17 is a conventional car with the now normal paddle gearchange, and traditional (foot pedal) clutch control...
'I have been asking for two pedal control (with a paddle clutch) for a year and a half,' adds Herbert. 'I want to try it, just to see what it is like. You can't really left foot brake with the pedals as they are now, they are too close. If you listen to the cars going into Becketts, it sounds as if Michael Schumacher is taking it flat. In fact, he is left foot braking against full power. We have to lift there."

Interview with Johnny Herbert (Sauber Driver) Race Tech Magazine #19
The quote above is meant to point out that, in top level motorsports today, the capability of a driver to left foot brake is increasingly a necessary skill if he is to succeed. Certainly this has been the case for some years now in F1 and World Rally. And as more racecars become equipped with semi-automatic gearboxes (the all conquering Audis at Le Mans for example) drivers are finding that full time left foot braking can give them an edge over competitors constrained (by ability or equipment) to traditional right foot braking.

Even in race series mandating standard sequential manual gearboxes, left foot braking is more prevalent than one might think. This is due to the fact that the "dog boxes" in such cars allow up and down shifting without the use of the clutch (up shifts aided by an electronic cutout). During the latter half of the 1990's drivers in the very popular BTCC series could be seen left foot braking from the in-car footage as they banged down through the gears. Even Winston Cup drivers can be seen left foot braking on road courses such as Infineon Raceway.

Braking with the left foot offers two distinct advantages. First, it completely eliminates the awkward transition period experienced when switching from braking, back to on-throttle. This transition occurs at the end of a braking zone when a driver has to momentarily lift the right foot from the brake pedal in order to move it over to the throttle pedal - a "dead-zone" so to speak. A skilled driver is able to reduce the unsettling effect that this transition has on the car, but it is still always there to some degree.
Second, when braking with one's left foot it is actually possible to brake while still on the throttle - to play the two effects against each other for short periods of time. This technique is most clearly illustrated by the reference to Michael Schumacher above. On many tracks there are certain corners where generally all that is needed is a momentary "lift" off the throttle in order to make it through. But anyone with a little track driving experience is aware that lifting during a corner tends to produce an unsettling effect on a car which is already near the edge of adhesion.

However, an alternative technique is to remain at the existing throttle setting at this phase, and simply apply a small feathering of the brake pedal to ease the car around the bend. This has quite the opposite effect of lifting and actually causes the car to "hunker down" a bit. It settles the car through this critical portion of the turn. An auto-x slalom is also a place where left foot braking against engine power can be used to advantage. Most proficient auto-crossers will be adept at left foot braking, and will use it most any time that they do not have to heel-toe downshift for a corner.



But left foot braking is not only advantageous on the track. Once the driver is completely comfortable with the technique it can be used to good effect on the street. It can lead to smoother transitions at stop signs and when going over speedbumps and driveway entrances. Not to mentioning having some fun trail braking into a corner to show that SUV behind you who is really "Master of the Road" ;-)

Ultimately left foot braking is a tool which can give a driver greater control over his/her car, and this is a good thing in any driving situation.
Warning - if you are not yet accustomed to left foot braking then it should only be practiced in a safe, closed environment, not on public roads or on a race track. The left foot is generally trained to modulate a clutch pedal. Learning to modulate a brake pedal with the left foot will take some time. Be safe.
One excellent place to practice left foot braking is at a karting track. All karts use a two-pedal setup and require that the left foot be used for braking. Transferring these skills to your M3 is nothing more than a change of mindset. Folks often like to say of their cars: "It handles like a go-kart!", and we know this to be true of the E46 M3, once you get it set up. Well, with the P7 pedal you can drive an M3 like a kart too 8^)
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 17:08   #23
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Thanks for that Engineer - interesting links too.

I invariably brake with my left foot when driving my auto and this feels quite natural. I have no trouble adjusting back to normal driving when in the manual.
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 17:15   #24
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Nice read there on the left foor braking.

It's not something I've tried much to be honest, enough so that I don't do the initial thing of putting everyone through the windscreen the first time you use the left foot lol, but not much more.

It could certainly have advantages in a turbo car, with the brake working against the throttle you can keep the boost pressure up and on song, quicker punt out the corner, no whack of torque coming in on the wheels to brake traction, as well as removing the unsetlling weight transfer alrady mentioned.

Never thought about trying it before but I intend to to a lot more track stuff this year so will consider trying this.

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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 17:22   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Hutchinson View Post
Thanks for that Engineer - interesting links too.

I invariably brake with my left foot when driving my auto and this feels quite natural. I have no trouble adjusting back to normal driving when in the manual.
Your welcome Ian, it's a shame so many peeps are stuck with old fashion "heel & toe" performance driving lol...........I did use LFB in my last manual a ZX300 Turbo to good effect but its easier with an auto or paddle shift hence the twin clutch box link.
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 19:44   #26
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Hi,

Have to try this LFB out I think...

I find that my application of the brake with my left foot is a bit "clunky" as I am used to using the left foot for the clutch.
The brake doesn't need quite so extreme application of force as a clutch..

Des. . .
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 19:59   #27
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auto everytime for me!!

As for LFB, i'd advise against trying this if you swap from auto to manual frequently....a quick dab on the clutch in the manual, only to find your in an auto....nuff said????
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 20:24   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoatsngroats View Post
auto everytime for me!!

As for LFB, i'd advise against trying this if you swap from auto to manual frequently....a quick dab on the clutch in the manual, only to find your in an auto....nuff said????
If your inexperienced I would totally agree take care and progress with caution as posted previously, but for those who are (experienced) then its worth pursuing
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 20:26   #29
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I use LFB in an auto, no problems swapping in between auto and manual cars.


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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 21:35   #30
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mmmm MANUAL or AUTO ..Well as a learner driver i have tried manual but always had probs with clutch but with auto no problems,easy to drive well that is unless i'm driving with the wife .She insists that you put car in drive and go no need to use other gears ,but those other gears are there for a reason,then she goes on about why i need to use the handbrake at traffic lights 'just use the footbrake 'she says ...I think she could do with some uk driving lessons.
I have to say auto for me even when i do pass test i can only drive auto's ah well like the easy life.
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