There is something very right about a rear-wheel-drive sports sedan with over 500 horsepower and a manual transmission, and yet few vehicles check those boxes quite like the BMW M5. Unfortunately, most M5 buyers prefer to leave their left foot out of the gear-shifting equation, which is leading BMW to lose the manual tranny option altogether in favor of a dual-clutch-only approach.

Inside Line reports that the next M5, and the M6 for that matter, will not feature a manual transmission option. BMW M-brand Engineering chief Albert Biermann reportedly told IL that manual-equipped M5 models are topping out at 15 percent of total sales, making the MT a money-loser for the brand. Biermann claims that the volume of manual transmission buyers makes it all but impossible to make another three-pedal M5, adding "nobody wants it in Europe or anywhere else, so this will be the last time we do it."

This is most definitely not good news for stick shift-loving enthusiasts, but at the same time we can hardly argue against Biermann's point. There's no sense in offering a no-charge manual option if the vast majority of buyers don't want it. Fortunately, the M3 doesn't suffer from the same problem, so the M5's baby brother will continue to offer a row-your-own option.


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  • 114 Comments
      judgesmails
      • 3 Years Ago
      MT's offer so much more control over city driving situations, they can make a short trip to the corner store a true joy. There's no better way to explore the upper revs without going ridiculously fast. It's my own sonic playground, and I love it dearly! BMW - please listen to those of us who might be the second or third owners of your cars - it's the right thing to do!
        simianspeedster
        • 3 Years Ago
        @judgesmails
        Agreed. And one thing no automated manual can easily allow you to do is modulate acceleration situationally by slipping the clutch. With a manual, you can not only choose the rate of acceleration from a dead stop or a very slow curve, but also the type of acceleration.
      The Wasp
      • 3 Years Ago
      Seems like a logical decision -- I wonder why they don't offer the manual transmission as a with-cost option. I wouldn't pay more for a manual but I'm sure plenty of Autoblog commenters would.
        LegacyGT
        • 3 Years Ago
        @The Wasp
        I guess the problem with this idea is how to price the MT option in a way that keeps the price from being off-the-charts unreasonable. The cost to offer this option to such a small percentage of buyers is probably pretty high. Once the MT costs more, even fewer people may want it. And then the cost of the option would need to rise even higher and then you're caught in a loop where fewer and fewer buyers want it and the cost/vehicle keeps escalating. (Unless, of course, the price gets so high that the MT becomes the "must have" option at the country club and it's higher price tag makes it more attractive.)
        natron3030
        • 3 Years Ago
        @The Wasp
        While I only purchase manual cars (more engaging to drive and much easier to maintain and fix) when you're rolling around with 400hp plus the manual transmission isn't an ideal setup as your power bands are just so large you can just skip multiple gears at a time kinda making it a pointless exorcize. What manuals do really really well is make an underpowered or average powered and even slightly overpowered cars feel much much more responsive.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @The Wasp
        [blocked]
      Paul M
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't understand why car makers don't understand this simple idea: All they need to do is charge a small premium for a manual transmission. This will cover their costs, make their vehicles (and their brand) attractive to enthusiasts, and provide the option for those (like me) who value the interaction of good manual above virtually all else. As for the next M5 dropping the manual option, well, that just makes it easier to decide from the other options that still have it. They're just another bloated luxury brand now like the rest... so much for the "Ultimate 'Driving' Machine." It should just be the "Ultimate Directing Machine." Because that's all you'll be doing.
        mickrussom
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Paul M
        BMWs weigh too much. but to insist on obsolete trash clutch pedal manuals means one is a loser. Simple. Losers want the clutch pedal. Real drivers want DC SMG, SMT and SMG.
      k_m94
      • 3 Years Ago
      Honestly it would have been no great loss if this newest M5 was dual clutch only (as it is anyway in Europe). While it puts out some good numbers like dominating any acceleration run in its class (bar a Panamera Turbo S) and reportedly feels decent when near its limits, everyone has described it as being a bit of a let down and even so far as dissappointing as an M car below 9/10ths. With such high performance limits, that is pretty much any time you would want to enjoy your M5 on the road. I read a Car and Driver article that said even on the Autobahn, the biggest letdowns were steering, suspension and brakes, usually M car specialities. I'd like to add to that sheer mass and an engine note that makes the whole excercise of owning a 550hp V8 a bit pointless if it sounds bland. So bland that combined with tons of noise insulation (truly the new 5 is a baby 7) it needs a speaker to synthesize and amplify the sound. Versus an S6 and an E63 AMG it came dead last. From the mag always criticized for being BMW favorists. The E had a more connected steering, less suspension bounce, more confident brakes, less mass, a thunderous rumble that proves turbos dont have to neuter engine sounds, and most of all, felt like it wasn't completely soulless, but animalistic. The S6 won for almost equal performance (despite -100hp) and much better interior quality and ergonomics. It seems that as the BMW mainstream models grow larger, more technological, and more powerful, the M cars follow along to the point they are far removed from the original. The light, simple, almost cheap manual only BMW 1M got the honor of being lauded as the spiritual successor of the M3. While the current M3 is still brilliant to drive, it's mass, power, refinement make it closer in execution to perhaps the V8 M5 of yore: equal emphasis on the sporty and luxury aspects and further away from what the E30 (or even E46) were about: 4 door primal sportscars first, luxury cars second. What to make of this M5? Well, considering it is more a short wheelbase 7 series (think limo) than a roomier M3 now, it really isn't the driver's machine any more. It's for chauffeuring execs along stretches of Autobahn at 150mph and getting to high speeds quickly, but not passionately. And I guess chauffeurs aren't paid enough to row gears along. The M5 is a brilliantly capable car that fixes flaws/deficiencies with the last (SMG<<
      JonZeke
      • 3 Years Ago
      Seems like most, if not all of the people complaining on here couldn't/didn't buy one... ...so why do you care? If it mattered, you would've bought one. Face it: few people are left who both have the means and care about the experience of mechanical interaction. That number is only going to continue to decrease as today's youth doesn't care at all about driving, let alone driving a manual. When they grow up - if they choose to drive at all - they likely won't be interested in manual cars. Those of this new car-averse generation will be early adopters of Google-drive cars. Thing is though, when a car has over 450+hp, a manual is an added level of complexity that your average driver simply can't manage. I don't mean because they are texting while driving; the sheer intensity of managing all that mass and power is really more than most of us can safely handle in public, let alone people who only have a passing interest in cars.
        jboogiezx6
        • 3 Years Ago
        @JonZeke
        and that is why your avg driver doesnt drive a 450hp vehicle. even with an auto tranny.
      jonnybimmer
      • 3 Years Ago
      And this is shocking how? Remember, this is the car that introduced faux engine noise. Besides, as we move further into the future, more and more cars will lose their manual option regardless of their brand. A very sad and troubling truth.
      Chris
      • 3 Years Ago
      since most of the people I personally know that own BMW's don't know how to drive stick and would look at you like you were a dirty homeless guy in a cardboard box under a bridge if you said they should buy stick...Gasp...I totally understand BMW's point.
        Gorgenapper
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Chris
        Your post pretty much confirms that there are a lot of douchebags that buy BMW, so it's no surprise.
      nsk
      • 3 Years Ago
      Manual transmission is a bad match for the M5. The bigger and more complicated a car - or truck - gets, the less suited it is to a true three-pedal manual trans. BMW is making the right move not only for its balance sheet, but also for the driving experience with its cars. 1M and Z4 - great with manuals. E46 M3 - manual by default was a better choice only because SMG was such a clunky disaster. E92 M3 - tossup. F10 M5 - DCT is a far superior choice since it matches better with all the whiz-bang drivetrain gadgetry in the car. For those of us who love manuals (and I have in my B5 A4, two E46 M3s, B7 S4, 135i coupe, and now Cayman R), there will always be manual transmissions available in cars which are well suited to them. This M5 just isn't a good match for three pedals.
      Azazel
      • 3 Years Ago
      A darn shame, but that's business.
      Autoblogist
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'll lose about this much sleep>>>>>0<<<<< over this news. BMW has been heading in this direction since the last gen M5. Remember the manual was available until a year or two later after launch and it proved to be an after thought with it's performance. It's much the same with the new M5. Since the introduction of the current CTS-V, the M5 has lost it's appeal. Being dethroned performance was more than info of an indicator that, BMW had lost the plot. The irony of it all is that Cadillac is now benchmarking older BMW chassis for performance and weight, while BMW seems to be headed in Cadillac former direction becoming softer and less connected. Cadillac's performance models are more lustworthy to me these days. I'd be willing to pit the new M5 against the 3 year old CTS-V. With the ATS and eventual ATS-V on its way, I'm not sure the 3-series is gonna as high up on my shopping list as before. I'm already drooling a the next gen CTS's spy shots with the twin turbo V-6 and those huge brakes. The next CTS-V should be something special indeed.
      mawhalen53
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wonder if it's worth simply charging a premium for the MT. Let the consumer decide if they're willing to cover the R&D costs.
        Hazdaz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mawhalen53
        I've been saying this for a while. I'd be willing to pay EXTRA for the privileged of rowing my own gears even though manuals tend to be cheaper and less complex components than DSGs or autos.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Hazdaz
          [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Hazdaz
          [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Hazdaz
          [blocked]
          Hazdaz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Hazdaz
          @ SVX pearlie I am not sure why you are throwing out such outlandish prices and basing the price on a percentage of the total car's cost!? That really makes no sense. Jumping on the BMW site right now and it looks like on the current M5 sedan, a manual is a no-cost option so I can't base it on that. OK fine... so then I jumped down to a 550i and if you already include the Sport Package, an Automatic adds $500 to the cost of the car. For most other cars, automatics run in the neighborhood of $1000. So with that, I see absolutely no reason how a carmaker could charge more than $500-1000 for the option of a manual transmission when typically a manual is cheaper to build than an automatic. I would absolutely be willing to pay $500-1000 extra for the privilege of shifting for myself.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Hazdaz
          [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Hazdaz
          [blocked]
      oRenj9
      • 3 Years Ago
      A 15% take-rate seems high enough to justify its existence. But, BMW has been aggressively removing the MT from their lineup anyway, so this shouldn't be much of a surprise. Mercedes did the same thing quite a while ago with no ill-effects and Audi is moving in the same direction. Most people can't drive them and there are some people that don't even know they exist. In the days of eight and nine-speed transmissions, a six-speed tri-pedal seems almost farcical. That doesn't matter to me though, as long as one is offered, it will be my preferred setup. But the time they are completely phased out in the U.S., we will have a selection self-driving cars on the market anyway. So there won't be much reason to lament its passing.
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