• Jan 1, 2007
When BMW opted to only make the M5 available with a seven-speed SMG gearbox, the hue and cry from U.S. purists was heard across the ocean. For 2007, BMW has finally decided to appease American customers by equipping the 500 HP uber-saloon with a six-speed manual, much to the apparent disgust of Gerhard Richter, the development chief of the M division.

Automobile magazine got their hands on the manual version of the M5 and seem to have come away with the opinion that it's better, but still not as good as it should be.

Aside from the fact that the manual cog swapper slows forward momentum of the V10-powered sedan, BMW also decided to nix the ability to completely disable the traction control. This decision, surely on the part of BMW's legal wonks, will likely cause another up swell of consumer complaints.

Overall, the reviewer thought that the action of the clutch and shift linkage was up to BMW standards, but in the end, the two words that stuck with us after reading the review were, "even clumsier."

[Source: Automobile]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Manual transmission car's don't have traction control. Well not the computer traction control more like human traction control.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Aside from the fact that the manual cog swapper slows forward momentum of the V10-powered sedan, BMW also decided to nix the ability to completely disable the traction control. This decision, surely on the part of BMW's legal wonks, will likely cause another up swell of consumer complaints."

      I was going to respond to this but it looks like SOhp101 already hit the nail on the head:

      "It sucks that TCS can't be turned off, but considering the performance for the price/luxury and BMW covers all regular maintenance for the first 50,000 miles (along with the fact that the US is a litigious society) makes it understandable why BMW would choose to do this."


      • 8 Years Ago
      Is the M5 really meant to be a track car? Isn't it a bit big and heavy for that? My guess if you get used to the SMG it would probably be easier to track than a manual. F1, WRC, etc are using SMG type technology and it doesn't look like they're going back to manual...
      • 8 Years Ago
      Modern BMW motorcars go, turn and stop commendably, given that they weight as much as they do. Drivers and car magazine writers might derive more enjoyment from lightened M cars, since the sporting potential of incredibly heavy cars is limited. The M5 seems a proper choice for grand touring.

      On the autobahn, the M5 is likely very happy. For many drivers however, driving pleasure doesn't involve triple-digit speeds. At a slow pace, a massive M5 is unlikely to evoke driving excitement, ala Pontiac, even thought the M5 looks more the part.

      I drove my friend's E46 M3 with SMG and it works well enough. But shifting preference runs strong in most drivers, and it's nice to have options.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "9. Manual transmission car's don't have traction control. Well not the computer traction control more like human traction control."

      Incorrect. MT cars often have the same electronic traction and stability control systems as automatics. The systems generally use the throttle and brakes, so they can operate on any trans type.
      • 8 Years Ago
      SMG is its own transmission style, as is manual and auto; you have to drive it a specific way in order to find it enjoyable. You don't drive a manual car the way you drive an auto, and vice versa. Same applies with SMG.

      I agree with #6, BMW is offering the option of a performance/luxury vehicle that can be changed to the tastes of any driver. BMW fits the car with a special button that allows it to automatically switch to the settings you prefer. Then there's the P500 button, so overall there will only be 3-4 basic modes that almost every driver will use. The best thing about it is that each setting can be adjusted precisely to each owners' tastes.

      It sucks that TCS can't be turned off, but considering the performance for the price/luxury and BMW covers all regular maintenance for the first 50,000 miles (along with the fact that the US is a litigious society) makes it understandable why BMW would choose to do this.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Car and driver stated they like the SMG better. Well they didnt say it outright but they aluded to it. They say stability control cant be killed and hense performance is severly limited with the 6speed. They also stated the V10 was tuned and designed with the 7 SMG in mind. I dont like SMG's (at least I didnt like the M3's) I wish they would go DSG style. This was in Feb 07 issue oc Car and Driver, which is not perfict but is much better then automobile.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The key is that SMG is bad in its fully automatic mode. Who cares??? I don't understand why reviewers even try it. I never use "D" or even "S" in my car, and neither should anyone who buys an M5.

      That means all points about 11 programs, gear hunting, etc... are moot. SMG shifts in something like 100 ms (I think it's 80), so just use the paddles and enjoy the full control! That is all.

      And yes, when (and if) you decide to use "D", it won't be smooth. So don't use it!

      I personally love the 400+ customization options in the M5. Being an engineer, I love it. If you don't want to customize, just pretend those options aren't there!!! And if you DO want to customize, you can assign it all to your "M" button. Isn't that cool???

      People drive me nuts with the silly things they complain about!
      • 8 Years Ago
      BMW has lost its way. They are not the "Ultimate Driving Machine" anymore.
      These M cars are way too overloaded with techno-tricks such as 11 program SMG and different driving modes buried deep in iDrive. Sticking in a manua-trans way late is only a band-aid effort.
      Simpler is better if you are a real driver. Poseurs need driver "aids". Unfortunately, that's the market BMW is going after now with the M cars. :-(
      • 8 Years Ago
      Finally, this should be one fun car to drive.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Reviewer missed the main point...the 6-speed M5 is "...better to drive in every way." rather than "...even clumsier." Unless you're on the track, the SMG appears to be a hassle in traffic...even more so than a manual trans.

      If you haven't figured out how to override traction control with a clutch (to a certain extent the flywheel inertia will spin the tires but not smoke them like a GT500) or someone can't figure out a programming kluge, then buy an SMG and suffer it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow, no traction control over-ride. might as well drive a camry, they actually found a way to make an m5 not fun to drive. But I have to say, I'm glad we got the manual transmission at least.