2012 BMW M5 spy shots – Click above for high-res image gallery

As enthusiasts, we can't help but get depressed over the near-extinction of the manual transmission. More and more of our favorite performance cars are being offered without three-pedal setups, and if you believe the latest reports, the next car to fall victim to this change of engineering is the 2012 BMW M5. Don't get your hopes up for any sort of dual-clutch setup, either – Motor Trend is reporting that the next-generation M5 will be offered exclusively with an eight-speed automatic.

When the 2012 BMW M5 goes on sale, it will be powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 with direct injection. Motor Trend reports that BMW apparently tried to mate its M DCT transmission to this powerplant, a less-powerful version of which is used in both the X5 M and X6 M. The latest reports state that the 2012 M5 will produce over 550 horsepower, and while there's no word about what sort of torque numbers will be on tap, it's obviously too high to be handled by the M DCT unit. Presumably, the eight-speed autobox in question is the ZF unit that's spreading like kudzu throughout the automaker's lineup, and at least we know it to be a very agreeable and quick-shifting unit.

Look for the 2012 BMW M5 to debut in concept form at the Shanghai Motor Show this Spring, followed by the production car's debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this Fall.

[Source: Motor Trend | Images: CarPix]

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