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Who uses the Paddle Shifters and why?

 
Old 06-17-2012, 04:25 PM
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Who uses the Paddle Shifters and why?

My ML350 is about three weeks old now and although I still don't understand all of it (I've read the books and manuals three times!), I'm getting pretty familiar with most of the gizmos and how they work. One more week of experimenting and I think I'll have this vehicle down pretty well. Except the paddle shifters on the steering column.

Does anyone use these? I understand what the book says regarding the activation for specific tranny ranges as sort of a temporary auto transmission override but really, why even fool with it? Can someone tell me what they are really used for? I don't even see the "sportiness" in this, especially considering we are talking about an SUV.
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Old 06-17-2012, 04:39 PM
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Sometimes it's more fun to let the engine rev higher and to do the shifting yourself. I find myself playing with it quite often on the R.

Also, sometimes I like manual control when going down a hill. I like to keep my car in 4th gear so it will stay right around 35mph and I don't have to ride the brakes the whole way down.
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Old 06-17-2012, 04:51 PM
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i have not seen much use for them so far.this is my second car with them and i don t see much use for them.i guess its a personal thing.
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Old 06-17-2012, 04:55 PM
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Yes, I can see setting the gears as an engine brake for keeping the appropriate speed up and down mountains. I live in East Texas where there are bottom lands, swamps and forests so mountains are something I don't ever see!
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Old 06-17-2012, 06:47 PM
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I have used it for the same purposes as others mentioned above, but I have to say, the automatic is so good on this truck, I rarely see the need to use the paddles.

I'm a MT guy but this 7 speed auto has me impressed.
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Old 06-17-2012, 07:31 PM
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Sometimes I like to hear my exhaust note in parking garages/ tunnels so I let the rpms go higher. =]
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Old 06-17-2012, 08:01 PM
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Good for engine braking, but plan ahead. There is a hesitation between the time the minus-paddle is pulled and the actual downshift. I can downshift my 1975 Triumph TR6 faster than my 2012 ML350.
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Old 06-17-2012, 08:02 PM
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On a tight steep mountain road, I have to lock it in 4 (or play it between 3, 4 & 5) because:

When you back off as you enter a corner, it will tend to upshift into a very high gear.
Then as you apply full throttle to pull up hill out of the hairpin, it hunts down to find the right gear, and once its found the tranny gives a thump at high revs as it powers out.
This is quite unsettling for the passengers and driver too.

But if you lock it down, the needed gear change is only one ratio, and this occurs smooth as silk.

Of course under normal highway or urban driving, I never need touch the paddles.
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Old 06-17-2012, 09:20 PM
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Thank you everyone for the information. As someone else said, I am impressed with the seven speed transmission in this vehicle and I have not heard of any reason why I would want to select or deselect the gearing for my kind of driving. Those that drive mountain roads are different and I understand that the engine breaking via downshifting gear range can be useful. However, that kind of driving does not apply to me.

Actually, I wish this had a been an option so I would not have those paddle shifters cluttering up an already somewhat busy steering column. In any event, I guess I will leave this feature well enough alone.
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by shortspark View Post
Actually, I wish this had a been an option so I would not have those paddle shifters cluttering up an already somewhat busy steering column.
The shift buttons on the back of the W164 wheel actually work really well. You can up and down shift on either side of the wheel. I haven't used the paddles yet, but the buttons seem like a better arrangement and more readily at the fingertips. I only use them for controlling my speed on downhills.

Last edited by GregW / Oregon; 06-18-2012 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:45 PM
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Whenever I make a pull and let off near the top of a gear, the tranny will stay in that gear and keep the engine reved sky high for way longer than I like... So after a pull I instantly hammer the upshift paddle a couple times so that it doesnt torture the **** out of my engine.
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:53 PM
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Yes, the transmission is SLOW at upshifting. Also annoying that it's very hard to shift when turning. Sometimes I like to play with the paddles on a freeway onramp that includes turns and I'll just end up redlining.
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Old 06-18-2012, 12:00 AM
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The paddles are nowhere near as fast as the dual clutch sequential gearbox setup in a friends Audi, or using the good old 5 speed on my 88 M3.

In addition to what I mentioned about my positive opinion of the ML's regular auto mode, perhaps another reason I don't bother with the paddles is that they're too slow to be of any use.
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:18 PM
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I have never tried them but then again I have the diesel. High revs are not what the diesel likes. :-)
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:20 PM
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I manually shift my C300 and Jag when in heavy traffic, so that I can control vehicle spacing with throttle rather than going from throttle to brake to throttle to brake.

The thing with paddle shifters is that they are great for race or sporty driving. They aren't much use in normal driving.
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:34 AM
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I'm not fond of the paddles in my ML550.
After all, would I rather put strain on my many-thousands of dollars engine or my hundred dollar brake pads?
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by spikethedog View Post
I'm not fond of the paddles in my ML550.
After all, would I rather put strain on my many-thousands of dollars engine or my hundred dollar brake pads?
Ha! Good point!
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:50 PM
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Transmission use

Originally Posted by spikethedog View Post
I'm not fond of the paddles in my ML550.
After all, would I rather put strain on my many-thousands of dollars engine or my hundred dollar brake pads?
I don't think the owner's manual would recommend it if the components weren't up to it.
Attached Thumbnails Who uses the Paddle Shifters and why?-transmission-use.jpg  
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by GregW / Oregon View Post
I don't think the owner's manual would recommend it if the components weren't up to it.
The components are up to it but at what cost? Only time will tell.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:26 PM
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IMO Paddles are a useless gizmo in an automatic slushbox, never like them, never use them. If the gearbox was a double clutch auto (DSG, DST, SMG, PDK) it would be a whole different story.

Last edited by galion; 06-19-2012 at 11:33 PM.
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Old 06-20-2012, 01:56 AM
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Why I have DSG so I don't understand. Love it wish my ML would
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:53 AM
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I did test drive the Q5 with the double clutch auto. Got a jerk with every gearchange, even with gentle driving around suburban streets.

It might work fine for a TT or R8, but I already have a sports car. The ML has been purchased as a limo - so a proper auto is required.

Hence the Q5 did not compute.
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Old 06-20-2012, 08:46 AM
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What country did u drive a Q5 with DSG?? I did not notice shift delays with paddles on test drive. What I did not like was if I used a paddle once it stayed in that mode. The VW CC I drove did not as I recall.... But kid in candy store syndrome may have distracted me LOL
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Old 06-20-2012, 09:05 AM
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I did not mean the Audi had delays on the paddles, in fact I barely used them.
The test was mainly driving as full auto, and every change on suburban corners seemed to have a jerk. I accept that some drivers may not be concerned with that, but I am. And so was my passenger who must be obeyed.
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Old 06-20-2012, 01:09 PM
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Jerky paddle upshifts/downshifts can be fun, faster agressive shift times whenever they are required is a whole different experience.
I would buy a Porsche Cayenne over any other SUV if it was avaliable with the great PDK transmission.
No need for paddles in a classic torque converter gearbox IMO.
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