Ask The Best And Brightest: Your Shifting Paradigm?
Ladies and gentlemen… As Katt Williams once said, “this country is in turmoil.”
If you haven’t read Brendan McAleer’s CX-5 review yet, go read it! I will wait right here while you do.
Pretty good, huh? I have to admit that when I read it, I was coasting along, just kind of enjoying B-Mac’s trenchant turns of phrase, and then…
Occasionally, however, a bit of a firm prod on the accelerator is required to provoke a downshift. And the manual-shift mode is BMW-backwards
Did he say backwards? I immediately sat down, opened up my ultra-modern text editor known as “emacs”, and composed the following measured response:
OMFG HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT PUSHING FORWARD TO DOWNSHIFT IS WRONG I MEAN FFS HOMIE DID YOU EVER STOP TO THINK THAT WHEN APPROACHING A CORNER UNDER FULL BRAKING THE ONLY GOD DAMN MOTION YOU CAN COMFORTABLY AND NATURALLY EFFING PERFORM IS TO EFFING PUSH FORWARD I MEAN THINK ABOUT THE KINESWHATEVER OF THE ORTHOTHINGY I HOPE A GORILLA ESCAPES FROM THE TORONTO ZOO AND BREAKS INTO YOUR STYLISH TOWN HOME TONIGHT IN CANADA AND VIOLATES YOU REPEATEDLY UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT RAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGEEEEEEEE UHH! BULLS ON PARADE!
Unfortuantely for me, however, when I was typing I accidentally banged my head into the keyboard hard enough to force me to pause and consider the situation for a moment. Yes, the “push forward to downshift” configuration is correct for any kind of fast driving, particularly fast back-road driving in a street car where loose inertia-reel seatbelts can occasionally make it difficult to stand your whip on its nose at corner entry and pull back on a shifter. Every sequential-shift race car in the world uses push-to-downshift. Even motorcycles are push-to-downshift, and that works correctly as well because acceleration and deceleration change the way your weight rests on your feet while riding.
Let’s take a moment, however, to consider the times when drivers in “normal” situations will call for a downshift from their automatic (or double-clutch) transmissions. Typically it isn’t during deceleration; it’s during a situation where the driver wants to accelerate more. Let’s say you’re on a two-lane road and you are getting ready to pass a slower vehicle. You know you’re going to need the lower gear, so you select it ahead of time. In that situation, the “pull-to-downshift” motion makes the most sense. Veteran auto-transmission drivers who are used to pulling a shift lever back to engage one of the manually-selectable lower gears in an older vehicle are also comfortable with this motion. The oft-cited “man in the street” expects to pull back to downshift.
Some day, in the far-flung future, merely touching a car will enable it to read your DNA and know your established preference for such things. In the meantime, we need to settle this issue once and for all. Push, or pull, to downshift? What say you, B&B? No wimping-out and talking about paddle shifters, either!
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