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Hey gang. A few weeks back, I purchased a new 2017 M3 Manual, The car is fantastic and was a great buy.

However, one thing that I'm not really confident in is the 'shift indicator' on the dash which makes shifting recommendations on the car. It constantly tells me to go into 5th, or even 6th, when I'm just cruising and not really taxing the car at all. I was curious from other Mazda Owners, should I take this shifting indicator more seriously than I am? Personally, I feel like I know how and when to shift, but maybe I am wrong.
 

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I found it helpful to understand my new car better in the beginning, now I don't even notice it usually.

First understand the relationship between torque and engine rpm. If you want to accelerate hard, you need engine speed. This is when you want to delay shifting to get more torque out of the engine. If I need to get on the highway hard, sometimes I'll accelerate in 4th or even 3rd and then shift up to 6th once ive reached the speed I want.

On the flipside the lower your engine speed is, the better your fuel economy will be. If that's what you want, shift up sooner.

Know that the shift indicator on your dash tells you to shift for better fuel economy. It does back off a little when you've got the throttle wide open. Quite often if I'm on a flat road just cruising, I'll go 60km/h in 6th just for the fuel economy benefits. I can always drop down if I need the power.

Bottom line is understand your car.
 

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Yeah, it wants you to drive the car like an old lady basically...once in a great while i'll follow it's recommendation just for kicks...but usually no, i don't listen to it.
 

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I ignore the shift indicator most of time but I've noticed it sometimes indicates shifting from 5th to 6th earlier than I would normally do to save fuel I guess. You can always shift up/down 2 gears depending on the road ahead, road speed and engine revs e.g. 2nd to 4th or 3rd to 5th. The shift indicator never tells you to do that.
 

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I ignore the shift indicator most of time but I've noticed it sometimes indicates shifting from 5th to 6th earlier than I would normally do to save fuel I guess. You can always shift up/down 2 gears depending on the road ahead, road speed and engine revs e.g. 2nd to 4th or 3rd to 5th. The shift indicator never tells you to do that.
Yes it does. At least mine will say to shift 3-5, 3-6 or 4-6. It doesn't really call out a 1-3 or 2-4 that I've noticed, but it will start calling for 5th or 6th by 35-40mph, regardless of current hoon level.
 

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Yes it does. At least mine will say to shift 3-5, 3-6 or 4-6. It doesn't really call out a 1-3 or 2-4 that I've noticed, but it will start calling for 5th or 6th by 35-40mph, regardless of current hoon level.
I haven't noticed this yet but I've only had my car a few weeks. Do you have to drive like a maniac for the shift indicator to show a double gear shift? I don't watch it too often since I have to look down - perhaps the shift indicator should be on the Active Driving Display?
 

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I tend to see it out of laziness. I do think the indicator is just based on speed, with a slight consideration on throttle opening. So 4th usually lights up around 30, 5th seems to be right around 36 and 6th is usually showing by 42. So if I've jumped off a light, run it up to 4k in 1st, 2nd and 3rd, it's usually already telling me to be in 6th, aka displaying 3 -> 6.
 

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Do you have to drive like a maniac for the shift indicator to show a double gear shift?
I get the 3->5 and 4->6 pretty much every time I am waiting for someone to pass as I merge into the highway. Which makes sense because all the computer sees is me coasting at 60-70km/h on 3rd/4th which isn't the best for fuel economy.
 

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Like others have said, it's suggesting the gear to get the best MPG and obviously that will happen when you use the highest gear possible as soon as possible. No different than what an automatic tranny would be doing for you, which is why I didn't buy an automatic. On the plus side it has shown me I could use 5th when I would have normally been cruising in 4th.

Cheer up, it could be like the Corvette's system (on a manual) that forces you to go 1-4th by blocking out the other gears. That works a little better with 460hp than 155hp!

BTW - I've seen the 3->5 several times. I like the fact it even does a 4->3 to prolong brake life.
 

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Yes it does. At least mine will say to shift 3-5, 3-6 or 4-6. It doesn't really call out a 1-3 or 2-4 that I've noticed, but it will start calling for 5th or 6th by 35-40mph, regardless of current hoon level.
It does, I've had that many times. What it doesn't and cannot do is tell you to shift preemptively. In my humble opinion, that's a big part of driving stick.
 

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It does, I've had that many times. What it doesn't and cannot do is tell you to shift preemptively. In my humble opinion, that's a big part of driving stick.
Well said. Predicting the road ahead is key skill for effective driving and is one of many reasons why 'driverless cars' will fail to impress. The shift indicator does seem more 'intelligent' than I originally thought.
 

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Other factors to consider: Has the car just been started, for once the blue indicator light comes off (pretty quickly), our engines are no longer cold, but they are still not up to full operating temperature.

I never listen to a shift lift indicator telling me to upshift until my car is fully warmed up. And that takes, even on our small engined Mazda's, several miles.

Second is the issue of whether on flat ground. I never upshift solely based on the indicator light when I am going up a moderate or steep hill.

As many have mentioned, the shifting indicator is a fuel economy "urge'r." It is not for those who like to drive with passion, have the car reading to surge forward when needed, like to drive spiritedly, but built in for the casual cruiser.

So while I mostly ignore it, there are times when it on flat ground, just cruising, it properly reminds me that shifting up would be a good thing. For me, usually when I am going with moving traffic, braked to respond to it, downshifted to 4th from 6th, but as traffic slowly increased, I forgot to get back into 6th. So in that regard, it has a use, i.e., overall it is helpful to me about 10% of the time.
 

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It's programmed for economy except I wonder sometimes when it tells me to downshift on a slight rise.

I generally just use the tach. Where the gear change indicator tells me to shift up 1 gear is 1750 rpm (on a 2.5). If I want to go up 2 gears, 2250 rpm. However, that only smoothly works for 3rd to 5th; it seems.

Ralph
 
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