Saturday, February 23, 2013

New BMW M5 with 6-Speed Manual Tested by MT: Is it the Driver’s Choice Over the Dual-Clutch Version?

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BMW is quite busy these days, what with the coupe version of the 3-Series (likely to be named4-Series), the M6 Gran Coupe, the all-new turbocharged M3 sedan and M4 Coupe, the 1.5-liter three-cylinder engines and so on. Thus, the fact that it offers the M5 with a manual gearbox, too, may not sound like a big deal.If it were for an everyday car, no one would probably care, but here we’re talking about the2013 M5, the super saloon that ticks most boxes in a car enthusiast’s list.
It’s got supercar-matching performance thanks to the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8's 560HP, it’s rear-wheel drive, the electronic nannies can be fully disengaged if you so wish, and as an added bonus, it’s as practical as any mid-size saloon, so you can use it as an everyday car and even give it to the Miss's, too.
Many BMW enthusiasts, though, had taken issue with BMW offering just the DCT dual-clutch semi-automatic transmission on the new M5. They claimed that, since this is a driver’s car, not having a stick shift with a clutch pedal robs them of the total control they want to exert over the M5.
Now, the world is moving on, and that’s really a great thing or else we’d still be living in cages instead of being depressed that the M5 doesn’t have a manual gearbox.
Even Ferrari, which for a long time made the chrome gearbox gate one of its supercars’ attractions, is going the dual-clutch-only way. Apparently so is Porsche: despite making fuss about the world’s first seven-speed manual in the 991, the hardcore GT3 version will apparently be offered only with a PDK transmission.
BMW decided to fit a six-speed manual transmission to the M5 exclusively for the U.S. market cars and offer it along the dual-clutch version. That’s a bit weird: isn’t America supposed to be the country where a large percentage of drivers don't want to know how to drive a stick shift?
Well, it's also a hugely important market for BMW so what its clients want, that's what they (mostly) get. Motor Trend’s associate road test editor Carlos Lago took a manual-box M5 to find out whether it really is the hardcore driver’s choice or if the strides in technology have made it obsolete.
Is the slower, one gear short manual M5 more engaging and attractive to the purist than the twin-clutch, seven speed DCT?
You can watch the video after the jump to find out.
By Andrew Tsaousis



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