The many reports of the SLK slow shifts have me hesitating as I love manual mode ... Anything more about your experience you'd add?
They are going to feel super-slow at first to you - there's simply no getting away from that. But it's really a question of which is your best option for *this* car rather than trying to make comparisons with previous ones. From that frame of reference, your choices are:
controlled efficiency mode - the box hunts to 7th at every available opportunity and is pretty much always in a gear higher than you'd ideally want for sporty driving, so unless you are happy to kick down, it feels like you're adding coal to a steam engine building up the power. On the plus side, this is the mode you can enable "eco" for and have it do the cylinder deactivation so that it pushes up mpg and stop/start (if you can get that to work the way you drive - unlike me!)
sport mode - as mentioned earlier in the thread, this mode is ultra-eager to change down which can get a bit of a pain sometimes for me. On the plus side, if you're attacking a really tight, twisty bit of road, you can get the changes done quicker in this mode rather than using the paddles as it seems to respond quicker to the right foot than it does the paddles.
in both the above modes you can range limit the upper gear using the paddles - so you could range limit to 4th for example, so the transmission can change down below that, but not above it.
you don't get to see which gear the car is actually in with those modes unless you have the AMG display active in the onboard computer display.
finally there's manual mode. in the great scheme of things it's not really that slow, it's just slow compared to automated manuals/dsg type boxes and takes a bit of getting used to. I read before where someone said you just need to predict when you want to shift a bit more - and they were right. Just anticipate slightly ahead compared to the instant mechanical trigger feel you get in the dsg. There's no kick down in manual and it will not shift up at redline, it will shift down for you though if the revs get too low which can make a life a little bit easier in slower driving.
in the end, I'm glad that manual mode sits well with me now as it does give far more control over the way the car drives and its character.
Bear in mind that this car has heaps more torque than the e9x M3s at 540nm vs 400nm. In fact, the 55 is above the m3's peak 400nm output from at least 1,500rpm right through to redline. Combine that with the 55's higher hp figure between 4,000 and its (much lower) 7,200 redline and you get a car that drives very differently to the m3.
I do prefer the feel of a torque converter auto at slower speeds and in automatic mode - I pretty much never used automatic in the other performance cars I've had, just manual via paddles.
I guess the point is that in the end the transmission felt like it suited the car once I shook off the baggage I came to it with from previous cars.
If you set the side mirrors to automatically close upon locking, you would always have a visual cue that the car is locked.
true - but for some, probably irrational reason, I don't like folded mirrors on a parked car. If I was looking for a visual clue, I could look for the indicators blinking on lock too - although that isn't always easy in really bright sunlight.
I'm hoping I can live with the chirp