When Truth Crushes Our Enthusiast Souls American automotive enthusiasts are a crazy bunch. While the rest of the world embraces quick, innovative and efficient dual-clutch automated gearboxes, a good portion of Yankee gearheads still scream for old-school manual transmissions. Despite all of the inadequacies with driver-directed gear changes, car nuts still enjoy rowing their own gears. BMW tried to force enthusiasts into a single-clutch semi-automatic transmission when it launched the E60 M5 in 2005, but enthusiasts (and the automotive press) wailed so loudly that the Germans reversed course and delivered a six-speed option to the North American market. While performance actually dropped with the manual gearbox, its arrival quelled a rebellion. The all-new fifth-generation 2013 F10 M5 debuted last fall with a standard – and much improved – lightning-quick dual-clutch transmission. But rather than send North American enthusiasts into yet another frenzy, BMW is adopting a conciliatory tone, offering buyers in the States the chance to opt for a manual gearbox at no additional cost. We recently found ourselves on the starting grid at California's Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca sitting in a bright Sakhir Orange Metallic BMW M5. Nestled comfortably in the palm of our right hand, wrapped in soft leather with a bright aluminum collar, was a traditional manual gearshift knob. Our European scribe, Matt Davis, was the first person on Autoblog's team to flog BMW's highly anticipated F10 M5 when he reviewed it last September in Spain. While he was fortunate enough to spend the day with the four-door on Spain's spectacular Ascari race circuit (put the track on your bucket list and thank us later), the automaker only supplied vehicles with its new M-DCT seven-speed dual-clutch automated gearbox. It is Europe's only choice. BMW says the M5 6MT will sprint to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. Assuming, of course, a very capable driver is behind the wheel. But as we mentioned, BMW is offering North American buyers a manual gearbox option that is the focus of this road test. The F10 M5 boasts a twin-scroll turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 (internally referred to as the S63Tü) rated at 560 horsepower from 5,750 to 7,000 rpm and 500 pound-feet of torque between 1,500 and 5,750 rpm. Redline is 7,200 rpm. In standard configuration, the engine is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (M DCT) with BMW's Drivelogic System and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. According to the automaker, the M5 7DCT weighs 4,387 pounds and it will accelerate from a standstill to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds with your grandmother behind the wheel (Motor Trend is reporting a 0-60 time of just 3.7 seconds with launch control assistance and BMW is known for being conservative with its numbers). The no-cost manual transmission option alters things a bit. The six-speed short-throw box is fitted with the same final drive ratio and special M differential, but the six gear ratios have been optimized for acceleration. Tipping the scales at 4,354 pounds (30 pounds lighter than the automatic), BMW says the M5 6MT …
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|MPG||14 City / 20 Hwy|
|Transmission||7-spd auto-shift man w/OD|
|Power||560 @ 6000 rpm|
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