Do the auto transmissions change down gear?


Sep 3, 2013
Hi everyone,
I sold my e46 318i last week and bought a z3. My e46 is alot different from my z3! my e46 was a single cam 318 and the z3 is a double cam 1.9 however the e46 got up the hills ALOT better.
Im going to get the z3 a good service with new fuel/oil/air filters, etc..
As its quite gutless..
However i just wanted to know if the trans in the z3 is different? the z3 doesnt change down gear when im going downhill or when i brake. The e46 would always drop a gear as if it was manual. Im just wondering if the z3 is meant to do the same but my trans isnt operating correctly?
also is the z3 meant to be quite gutless?


No the Z3 is not gutless in 1.9 16v form, it's also lighter than your old E46, may be worth getting a diagnostic on it.

I have te manual so can't answer your gear box question t the moment, but will search for you

Welcome to the M44 Massive btw

hard top

Zorg Expert (I)
Dutch Zeds
The M44 Massive
Dec 5, 2011
I have an auto box in my M44 and don't really notice it changing gear to be honest, always smooth apart from if its really cold.
Maybe you should try changing the gearbox oil....?.......


Zorg Addict
British Zeds
The M44 Massive
May 17, 2013
Model of Z
1.9 16v M44
judging by your use of language you have been listening to Clarkson or some other "expert" a lot of these guys don't like and unfairly under rate the Z3 and often quote that they are "gutless" in the smaller engined models...the one they are often referring to is the 8V 1.8 which is the earlier M43 engine, if you have the 1.9 it will be the 16V M44 which is in my experience far from gutless when compared to cars IN ITS CLASS! cannot compare it to a 2.8 or three litre Z3M or but it compares favourably with the boxster of the period and the MX5.
in short it should be more thought of as a modern replacement for an MGB or a triumph spitfire or something along those lines, its like an old english sports car without the problems...and its a "bond car"!...

...if you want real "sportscar performance" the 1.9 is not for you..go for a 2.8 or 3.0 Z3 or Z3M or Z4...however the 1.9 is a fun stylish nippy everyday drive that will be reliable (more so than the some of the other derivatives),cheap to service (for a prestige car) and will offer reasonable if not amazing fuel economy.

I think the issue is not the car but your expectations of it....

B.T.W have you driven it in sports mode ? it does make a considerable difference.