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      04-17-2014, 11:25 PM   #1
MellowD
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Looking for a 135i and have some questions.

I've been searching like crazy for the perfect 135i but at this point I really don't know which one to go with. I though I wanted a n54 manual... but after test-driving both a 2011 DCT and 2010 Manual, I'm leaning more towards the DCT. The n54 seemed more appealing because of the tune results, but I like the DCT and the idea of having a car under warranty.

History: I had an e39 540i but didn't like the automatic transmission on it and suspected it was developing a tranny issue (sometime a hard downshift from 2nd to 1st). After selling it I purchased my current vehicle, a manual e36 m3. This is my daily driver and I feel like I wouldn't really mind driving a DCT over a manual.

On to my questions...

- What made you choose the n54 or the n54?
- What made you choose manual or DCT?
- Anyone go from manual to DCT and regret it?
- For those with DCT, do you ever get bored with it?
- Any problems with the DCT? BMW automatics have a bad track recordů are these the same?
- Is a tuned N54 really THAT much faster than a tuned N55?
- For those with the N55, do you ever wish you could get more power out of it?
- Any other issues or things I need to look out for?

Sorry for all the writing, I'm just trying to get all the info I can. I know a lot of people are going to say manual is the only way to go but I'd still love to hear everyone's thoughts.
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      11-10-2014, 11:27 PM   #2
bimski
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subbed.

I'm in the same boat as you haha. I used to have a manual FRS and currently drive a DSG vw GLI, but I miss driving a manual car with great handling so I'm looking into a 135i manual currently. I'm new to socal and I'm scared that the traffic down here will be a pain to drive in but I still find manual way more fun. Probably will go with a N55 manual though.
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      11-11-2014, 09:37 AM   #3
davis449
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- What made you choose the n54 or the n55?
I chose the N55 for reliability purposes. I know post 2009 they're more reliable...whatever, I just didn't trust it. I see a lot of European cars in various conditions on a weekly basis and from what I have seen with my own eyes, the N54 just isn't the reliability choice for me.

- What made you choose manual or DCT?
- Anyone go from manual to DCT and regret it?
I learned to drive on a manual and drove one for ~3 years. Then the the next 7 yrs. were spent in automatics. I went back to manual and swore off auto's forever when I bought and modded out my 2006 A4. Then I drove a DSG in a 2008 VW R32 when they were brand new and immediately changed my opinion on "automatics". So the next go around was a DSG K04'd 2011 A3. Naturally, going dual clutch in the car after that was a must. The only BMW I could get it in that was in my price range was a 135i, which I have really loved\wanted since they came out in 2008 (I went Audi again in 2011 due to the aforementioned knowledge of N54 powered BMW's and, at that time, a 2011 BMW 135i was WAY out of my price range). I don't regret either of my decisions to date. Yeah, I drive my friend's C2 and my dad's C2S 911 (both being 6 speed manual) all the time and start to miss that third pedal, but then I remember what they're like in traffic. I am ready to go drive a ZF8 equipped 235i (or comparable) now to see if that trans. can change my mind about "normal" autos (I reserve all judgment of the 135i vs. 235i "automatic trans." situation until I've really driven a 235i auto). There is a small, nagging part of me that wants to go back to a manual, but I get the feeling I just won't do it.

- For those with DCT, do you ever get bored with it?
Nope. I drive in manual mode A LOT and use the sport button for very aggressive driving. It doesn't bore me at all. That little button makes the DCT just so much better than the Audi S. Tronic. While I enjoyed it as my first dual clutch trans., the software was shit in D mode. The BMW is so much better in D mode. Sport modes are comparable and so are manual mode...but in D mode in traffic, that damn Audi would get so lazy and refuse to shift gears. Then, when it finally did, it would go way too low and I was almost in the guy in front of me's back seat. I had adaptation reset by my shop almost every month. The BMW just doesn't need that.

- Any problems with the DCT? BMW automatics have a bad track record… are these the same?
The DCT isn't really comparable, IMO, to past BMW automatics, as it's a completely different type of transmission. Outside of software updates to address various issues here and there (the software\hardware problems with DSG are far worse), I don't think they have a bad track record, comparatively. I haven't heard many horror stories of them just grenading themselves like I did constantly with the DSG's.

- Is a tuned N54 really THAT much faster than a tuned N55?
Can't really answer this one for myself as there are far more tuned N54's than N55's and I just don't have enough experience with both in various stages of tunes. I don't believe you would regret an N55 at all, as far as tuning is concerned.

- For those with the N55, do you ever wish you could get more power out of it?
I am satisfied with the stock power, for now. I have a lot of fun in this car just the way it is and my planned upgrade to Cobb 1+ (I have a 7/2011 manufacture date, so should be able to use the Accessport), I'm sure, is where I will stop with the engine modding and be perfectly happy, whereas with my previous Audi I went all out FBO on a K04 swap.
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Last edited by davis449; 11-11-2014 at 09:46 AM.
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      11-11-2014, 12:29 PM   #4
project jayden
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I got really lucky and i recently picked up a 2009 135i with 600 miles on it. Yup 600! I too was debating between the n54 vs n55 and it really comes down to what you want out of the car. If performance is what you want then go N54. You will spend a lot less getting to 500hp compared to N55. (not even sure if the N55 can handle that.) there are a few guys pushing around 700hp stock internals on the n54 platform with no signs of the engine giving up. N55 was BMW's answer for a more fuel efficient engine and also a cheaper engine to make.
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