BMW M5 manual mess-up

Published: 27 January 2007

North American customers were delighted when BMW bowed to their demands for a full three-pedal manual version of the current V10 M5 super saloon, but aren’t quiet so enamoured with the finished product.

The issue is not with the gearbox itself – BMW successfully replaced the European model’s seven-speed SMG box with the old-shape M5’s six-speed manual – but with the compromises that were needed to get there. Without the benefit of computer control for the opening and closing of the clutch plates, M division’s engineers couldn’t eliminate axle tramp under hard take-offs.

The only solution was to make it impossible to fully switch out the DSC stability system, although you can still employ the half-way house M Dynamic mode which is probably enough for all but the most crazed sideways obsessives. But punters in the US aren’t happy at what they see as a compromised M car. Which must be incredibly frustrating for M boss Gerhard Richter, who never believed a manual box was right for the car and was only bowing to commercial and boardroom pressure.

BMW has no plans to bring the manual M5 to Europe. And it doesn't sound like we should be too upset.

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