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Getting used to no shift knob

 
Old 01-02-2014, 11:52 PM
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Getting used to no shift knob

Hello everyone,

I'm a previous CLK 55 owner now driving a Porsche Cayenne. My wife and I will be in the market for a new suv this year and we are entertaining the 350BlueTeC, Audi Q7 & Cayenne Diesels since we put on about 40k+ miles a year on the car.

The MB seems like the best bang for the buck, HOWEVER, I don't know if I can get over the fact that Mercedes has gotten rid of the shift knob in the center console. Putting on about 160 miles a day and doing a chunk of that through mountains makes you want to use the tiptronic shifting as much as you can. I've always been a fan of it, use it almost all the time (have even gotten the wifey into using it), it's where my hand rests, and i'm not sure if I can get over the fact that the MB doesn't have it. I know the MB has paddles on the wheel which would suffice if the up/down shifting was on each side of steering wheel like the Porsche has.

I'd love to hear people's opinions on this. Did you get over it? Are you day dreaming about MB going back to having the shifter there?

Thanks everyone.
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Old 01-03-2014, 12:28 AM
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Well... there is wide spread misunderstanding of MB/paddles - since their major function is to provide a faster/smoother method to access "power" gear/downshift for either passing or deceleration - procedure is 3 sec hold left paddle - 1st second downshifts 1 gears, between 2nd-3rd second will continue to jump/downshift/remaining multi-gear to available power gear for that speed/situation - 3 second hold right paddle takes you back to auto. That said 1 sec left hold drops 1 gear - right hold 1 sec upshifts 1 gear... with 7 gear box, with normal takeoff from stop in 2nd gear, and cluster of 5/6/7 gear the 1 sec hold procedure good for start from stop in 1st... 3 sec hold up/down for on-the-fly by situations.. try it, smooth as silk and 350BT has wider power RPM range than the VW twerkie disel which has much more limited torque band... "disels" like "gassers" are not created equal.. BTW, do the 350BT for '14 - you "probably" will not have that same engine option for MY2015..
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:28 AM
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What's with the 3 sec hold? That's clear as mud.
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:32 AM
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1999 E430, 2014 ML350 4Matic
I don't miss the shifter on the console that much, but the paddles as implemented on my ML350 are pretty useless. You can grab a downshift or upshift pretty easily, but once you have made the shift it doesn't hold the gear. Let's say you down shift to 4th to use engine braking; as soon as you touch the gas it goes back to auto mode. I find this annoying. In heavy traffic I like to hold a gear rather than going back and forth between the accelerator and the brakes.

My old C280 Sport would hold whatever gear I chose; I used that feature a lot.
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by vinceC View Post
I don't miss the shifter on the console that much, but the paddles as implemented on my ML350 are pretty useless. You can grab a downshift or upshift pretty easily, but once you have made the shift it doesn't hold the gear. Let's say you down shift to 4th to use engine braking; as soon as you touch the gas it goes back to auto mode. I find this annoying. In heavy traffic I like to hold a gear rather than going back and forth between the accelerator and the brakes.

My old C280 Sport would hold whatever gear I chose; I used that feature a lot.
OK, mine doesn't do that. Once I up/down shift it stays in that gear until I shift it. To get out of this I have to go all the way up to 7th. Bought mine used, so it could have been set to stay in Manual? All I need to do is hold for 3 sec to change it back? Which side or does it matter?
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:57 AM
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1999 E430, 2014 ML350 4Matic
You don't say what year yours is. Also, it is a diesel. Perhaps they are programmed differently. I know the sedans respond differently. I'm going to ask the dealer if this can be changed because, as I say, it can be annoying.
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by vinceC View Post
You don't say what year yours is. Also, it is a diesel. Perhaps they are programmed differently. I know the sedans respond differently. I'm going to ask the dealer if this can be changed because, as I say, it can be annoying.
I have a 2013 ML350BT. Looks like I do have the Restricted shifting as well as manual shifting modes available.
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Last edited by Chasvs; 01-03-2014 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:14 AM
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Having the shift lever in the steering column is great, you get more space in the center console.
On the other hand I never got that tip shifting thing, the MB auto slush box is so slow to respond that paddle shifting is a useless feature. (Audi Q/Cayenne too)
You should get the new Porsche Macan with the ulta fast PDK (double clutch auto) transmission, that will be so sporty and fun to drive.
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Old 01-07-2014, 06:59 AM
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1999 E430, 2014 ML350 4Matic
[QUOTE] You should get the new Porsche Macan with the ulta fast PDK (double clutch auto) transmission, that will be so sporty and fun to drive.
/QUOTE

It all depends on what you use the car for. The Porsches really fall short when it comes to utility. I need 36" of height in the cargo are so I can load our high-end road bikes while removing only the front wheel. The Cayenne isn't even close. It seems Porsche emphasizes the sport and not the utility. When I looked at the Cayenne I wondered why buy it instead of a Panamera; the cargo area is pretty limited.

Frankly, I don't use the ML as a sport vehicle.

Back to the original post about the shifting, my 2014 ML350 will not hold the gears very long. The chapter of the manual quoted above is not in my manual.
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:12 AM
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Think of the MB shift "restricted range" as similar in concept to the old D1, D2 automatic trans, where selecting D2 limited the upper range to 2nd gear. The trans would not shift into 3rd under normal operation.

Same deal with the MB. Selecting, say, 5th gear limits the upper range to 5th. So, you can downshift (sluggishly) with the minus paddle on the downhills to use engine compression to slow the vehicle. And you can upshift from 1st to 2nd etc. with the plus paddle, delaying the gear changes to increase acceleration.
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:30 AM
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1999 E430, 2014 ML350 4Matic
I repeat, there is no permanent "restricted range" on my 2014 ML350. Using your example, if I shift to 5 M (5th gear), it will restrict the top gear to 5th for a while, as long as I keep my foot in it. As soon as I let up on the accelerator it upshifts to D7 (7th gear). I am not sure what it would do on a descent because we don't have any hills around here; perhaps on a downgrade it might hold a lower gear as long as I don't touch the accelerator. I don't like this because, as I stated above, in stop and go traffic I like to restrict the top gear to 1st, 2nd or 3rd as appropriate for the conditions.
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:56 AM
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I see. The shift program must have changed between the 2012 models and the 2014s.

When I first drove my 2012 BlueTEC I sometimes would find myself driving near the redline. Coming from a big diesel pickup, I was used to shifting by the engine sound. The MB was so quiet, I would forget I was stuck in (er, restricted to) 3rd gear.
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:19 PM
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Do you have the off road package? I've never tried it but there is a button marked 'M' ( page 171 of my 2013 manual) which is supposed to give total manual control to the paddles. Auto shifting only happens if you rev to the red line.
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Old 01-08-2014, 06:57 AM
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1999 E430, 2014 ML350 4Matic
frtdog - No off-road package. No "M" button.
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Old 01-08-2014, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by michael.andex View Post

The MB seems like the best bang for the buck, HOWEVER, I don't know if I can get over the fact that Mercedes has gotten rid of the shift knob in the center console. Putting on about 160 miles a day and doing a chunk of that through mountains makes you want to use the tiptronic shifting as much as you can. I've always been a fan of it, use it almost all the time (have even gotten the wifey into using it), it's where my hand rests, and i'm not sure if I can get over the fact that the MB doesn't have it. I know the MB has paddles on the wheel which would suffice if the up/down shifting was on each side of steering wheel like the Porsche has.
.
Colorado? I love the fact that there is no redundant shifter getting in the way - but then I did come from a S Class so this is not my first electronic shifter...

The paddle shifts are instant, and work very well in the mountains. I typically use "4" to hold 55MPH, and either "4" or "5" to keep me at 65. Just a touch of braking if I see a slow truck ahead.
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