• Nov 7, 2006

Purists will rejoice at the news that for 2007, BMW is offering its lightning-quick M5 with a manual transmission.

Although the 500-hp super-sedan is capable of some jaw-dropping supercar-territory performance (like hitting sixty in 4.1 seconds), some enthusiasts have bemoaned its excessive use of electronic systems that interfere with a direct connection to the road.

With the no-cost option of a six-speed manual instead of the seven-speed sequential SMG gearbox, the M5 isn't expected to be any quicker. In fact, with clutchless manual transmissions always improving, the switch to the stick may in fact slow the car down a bit, especially in the hands of the average driver.

The news opens up the debate all over again: stick or paddle? If you were buying an M5, which would you take?

[Source: Kicking Tires]



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  • 49 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      its all about precision steering and control, that is the only benefit that can be had from such a downgrade, oh and the fact that you can now feel the power in your hand, so since the two aforementioned items are the only reasons for a manual transmission i would have to say stick as it is easier to shift and steer(in my opinion) and like i said, you can feel the power through the shift knob whereas paddles are so sensitive that if you kept your hands on them you would likely not feel a thing and/or would shift in one of the directions inadvertantly ruining your fun either from a blown engine or an upshift too soon slowing down your exceleration
      • 8 Years Ago
      Row or Paddle?

      My car has a 6-speed manual. I think that will be the limit for the number of ratios that can be accommodated by the conventional 'H' shift pattern.

      For 7+ ratios, give the lever a different pattern, and keep the clutch.
      • 8 Years Ago
      How much does it cost to replace the engine?

      When will BMW improve the engine? The M5 engine is weak, considering the Lamborghini has 512hp@8000, 376ft-lbs@4250, runs nearly a centimeter smaller bore, and only a 11:1 compression ratio, has variable resonance intake manifold and dual length runners. That is the world beater engine.
      • 8 Years Ago
      a manual is more enjoyable.. i'm not worried about shaving 1/10th of a second off my driving times
      • 8 Years Ago
      Even if the SMG were perfect, i would not buy one on a car like the M5. Yes it may shift faster and better than i could with a manual. But to those who prefer an SMG i have to wonder, if it were possible to get a system that steered itself better than you could ever do would you prefer that also? Wouldn't that make you a "true entusiast" like poster 2 commented?
      • 8 Years Ago
      MikeW did you just say the M5 engine is weak???

      http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=3613154069861696651&q=m5+weekend

      go to 5:10. M5 is pitted against various of cars including a Gallardo. You will be surprised by the results.
      • 8 Years Ago
      My dad has the current M5 and I've driven it extensively and driven it hard. I've also driven the M6, Z4M and M3 w/ competition package at BMW driving school. All were SMG aside from the Z4M. While having a 6 speed manual is very involving and rewarding, the SMG is better suited for this engine. You have to really rev the engine hard to get power and there is no way you could stay in the best part of the powerband with a manual like you can with the SMG. It's just too much shifting. If you haven't driven the M5 with SMG aggressively, then (not to be rude) you seriously have no idea what you're talking about.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Unless you're trying to shave a quarter second off a lap time, I don't see the point of the DSG. Sure it gives bragging rights (and maybe that's the point), but I'd much prefer to interact with the car on a mechanical level if I'm just driving for pleasure. Real bragging rights go to those that can heel-toe and double clutch the car into full submission. My grandmother could pull a paddle...
      • 8 Years Ago
      I agree with 4. It's just more fun to work the clutch and rev match yourself. Any monkey can mash a gas petal and go fast if a computer's doing the real driving for them. I think those that chose fun over convenience will stick with the stick.
      • 8 Years Ago
      No doubts that I'll chosse an six-speed manual gearbox.

      http://www.auto-power-girl.com/cars/bmw
      • 8 Years Ago
      This really points to one thing, how underdeveloped the current state of SMG is for most off track situations. There is no doubt carbon/ceramic brakes are better on the track, but ever try stopping one coming down a steep driveway on a cold morning? Coffee can't wake me up that way. SMG has advantages, but its disadvantages are severe when used out of its element. The argument can be made for two seat supercars, but its the wrong tool for a 4 door supersedan. Kudos to BMW for realizing it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      stick all the way and for the same reason i wouldn't by a video game that plays itself.
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