Should we be sad for the death of the manual BMW M5?

BMW M5 | April 6th, 2016 by 14
c 2014 CKCommunications bmw m5 30 jahre 5 750x500

BMW recently announced that the BMW M5 would be losing its manual transmission, along with its M6 counterpart. The six-speed manual option for the BMW …

BMW recently announced that the BMW M5 would be losing its manual transmission, along with its M6 counterpart. The six-speed manual option for the BMW M5, introduced solely for the North American market, just isn’t gaining the demand that BMW originally thought it would. “Demand had dropped to zero” said BMW M Chief, Frank van Meel. With so many enthusiasts jumping aboard the “Save the manuals” bandwagon, should we all be upset about this new?

Well, the answer can go either way. Yes, we should always be sad of the death of a manual transmission but no, because it’s our fault. A few weeks ago, we were at the New York Auto Show and a BMW representative told me flat out that BMW is willing to make and sell absolutely anything that customers will buy, something we’ve known for some time. So BMW doesn’t make or sell manual transmissions in a lot of its sports cars because we won’t buy them anymore, so it’s our fault. If we bought them, they’d still be around.

bmw manual transmission 750x500

Admittedly, the current BMW M5 wasn’t actually very good with a manual transmission. It’s such a technologically advanced car, with computers controlling literally everything, that having a manual gearbox in the middle of it all seems to actually disrupt it a bit. That was the general consensus form nearly everyone who drove one. So all three people. And because the next M5 is going to just be more technologically advanced, there’s almost no chance that we get another manual M5 ever again. So, despite it being our fault, or maybe actually because it’s our fault, it’s quite sad when thinking about it that way.

The manual transmission has always been one of the best parts of the BMW M5, from the very first E28 M5 all the way up to today’s. All the way up to E39 M5, probably the most famous iteration, the M5 was only available with manual gearbox actually. An automatic gearbox wasn’t introduced until the E60 generation, so row-your-own gearboxes have always been a staple of the BMW M5. Now, though, they’re gone and not likely to ever come back. That realization is somewhat saddening and our hand in its doom is even more so.

2013 bmw m5 manual 02 750x500

While whatever is next for the M5 will be technologically impressive, brutally fast and highly efficient, the manual gearbox will be missed. A manual transmission likely would not work well in the next generation M5 and would probably just make it worst, to be honest. But that doesn’t mean we won’t miss it. So yes, we should be sad that the M5 will likely never have its gears rowed by hand ever again.

14 responses to “Should we be sad for the death of the manual BMW M5?”

  1. Mateo Zunic says:

    ///M was built around driver, like Clarkson said when driving E60 M5 “the steering, the brakes, the power and this noise driving experience dominates everything”
    Well, today, we got no noise, no steering, no actual power just bunch of torque – that is why lot’s of drag races end up bmw losing.
    So ///M is not what it actually should be – if we are brutally honest
    So who care if ///M is manual or not, AWD or RWD, ///M is past.
    Like that guy from Head2Head with the beard said when driving i8 : “i” is the new ///M
    And he was right

    • Kaisuke971 says:

      Hum as far as i know Chris Harris, Steve Sutcliffe, the EVO guy and Carlos Lago all praised the M3/M4 for basically everything but the engine noise, and even said it was more of an M car than the E9x in terms of feeling.

      The “beard” guy you’re talking about said the M6 GC is the best driving car of its size (at the time, i think it was 2014) and one of the best M product to roll out of the factory for like a decade. In Motortrend they also praised even the F8x X5/X6 M for being incredibly agile and surprisingly true M products besides being big and fat SUVs.

      The 30 Jahre was also praised a lot in Top gear magazine’s comparison against the GS F, and again they were amazed by its handling besides its size (i’m pretty sure the E60 M5 is often said to drive worse than the F10 and to be the worst driving M5 actually).

      For the drag race thing you must be drunk: the M3 basically ties with the C63 S (its only competitor for the moment), so the comp pack has no problem. The F10 beats the RS6 and is a little bit behind the E63 S, but i assume the M6 GC Comp pack should beat both.

      The X5 M is the fastest car in its class as well, track and straight. Its closest competitor costs 150% of its sticker price.

      And finally, the M2 is, for the moment, praised by absolutely everyone and described as one of the very best sport car on the market.

      So chill out. Your only valid point is the noise but is not true for the M2 so far.

    • John says:

      “No actual power, just a bunch of torque”

      LOL You just invalidated your entire comment.

  2. LucyPup says:

    Thank you for the honesty in blaming the responsible party – the BUYERS! BMW has offered an MT up to now, thanks for putting the baby to sleep. All of those car guys running around with their hair on fire lamenting the death of the MT in the M5/M6, I wonder what they are driving – since it is apparently, NOT the M5 – maybe a 2002? Now hold on, lest you think I denigrate an icon, I OWN A 2002tii!
    Would I want a 2002 with an AT? Of course NOT! Would I want an M5 with an MT? Of course NOT!
    M is still M, even w/o a stick, or even if it has AWD, which (and I hope and believe) it will! Readily available technology simply tends to make much more of everything better and more available to a wider group of buyers. IMHO.

  3. Mario Clarke says:

    Manual transmission should be an option that if you want you pay for it in any model that’s sports especially M models. BMW should make it an option if you want to have then the consumer should pay extra. I would pay extra for Manual Transmission especially if its on a supercar like a M8 or M9 is they was to exist

  4. John D says:

    Some car maker want to make their car with only one transmission because it’s cheaper in the manufacturing process. They will push the automatic forward because it’s better for their business : better acceleration number, better fuel consumption, only one center console design, etc.. In consequence, the manual sale drop, and the car maker opportunistically blame the customer. Brainwashing…

    • John says:


      I don’t think they are blaming the customer. They’re simply saying, we would make more manuals, if you bought more manuals.

  5. charlie hustle says:

    They can be excused since they did in fact build the M2. I don’t like the primary direction of the company, but at least the 2 series seems to be somewhat maintaining some roots of driving machines instead of cellphones on wheels. And while the dual clutch transmissions aren’t as involving as the manual, it is still a pretty amazing transmission. I have a bigger complaint about the devolution of the formerly legendary steering feel.

  6. Pentium says:

    I get depressions from these news, is it only me?
    BMW is making FWD van…
    BMW is making FWD 1 Series and 2 Series…
    BMW is moving M5 to xDrive….
    BMW is killing the manual M5…

    BMW we love you stop hurting us!

    • Mateo Zunic says:

      You are not alone, just get over it. I did.
      I just don’t care about BMW anymore.
      My new everyday car will be Ford Fiesta, cheap good car, and there is E34 to enjoy the B M W.

  7. John says:

    I like AMG. Take a beautiful, luxurious, smooth, quiet, car, and give it 10 lines of cocaine!!!

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