Car and Driver reviews the 2013 BMW M5 Manual Transmission. BMWBLOG also spent some time last year with the F10 M5 Manual at the famous Laguna Seca race track.
Here is our conclusion from the review:
The manual-equipped M5 shows no such duality. It’s always the sports car, lunging forward through each gear, tugging on your passengers during downshifts, climbing to higher engine revs and making more engine noise all the while. Is it less of a car for it? I suppose that depends on what you expect of your M5. If it’s a Sunday driver, a track toy, a collector car – the engagement and romance of the manual is likely to win you over. But if your back-road blasts, track days and drift sessions are punctuated by grocery runs, soccer practice, and daily commutes, I say buy the DCT. You’ll have struck a shocking bargain: you’ll have bought a slightly shrunk 7 series and an M car, all in one.
Now let’s have a look at an excerpt from the Car and Driver test drive.
The surprise was that, after our time in the manual-equipped car, we might actually choose the DCT, were we buying an M5. Yes, we’re the “Save the Manuals!” guys. And we’re delighted that BMW decided to make the manual available. But this marriage of manual transmission to M5 is not an especially happy one. The clutch takeup is abrupt. Perhaps it will mellow with age, but our tester, with 4800 miles, is all we have to judge. What’s less likely to improve over the car’s life is the shifter, which is long of throw and rubbery in action. The M5 manual also suffers from a distressing amount of fore-aft movement, which we’re attributing to driveline windup and inappropriate throttle mapping. Try as hard as we might, a run through all the gears had all of our passengers nodding their heads in sympathy with every shift. This is a difficult car to drive smoothly.
At least its downshifts are smoothed by an automatic rev-matching function, similar to the optional system in the Nissan 370Z. As with the Nissan, the M5 gives you a perfectly timed throttle blip on down-shifts. It works well, but there’s no easy means of disabling this function the way there is on the Nissan. The only means of turning it off is to set the throttle in sport-plus mode. The manual-transmission car inherits most of the dual-clutch car’s embarrassment of choices, but it doesn’t provide the one setting choice we’d like.