12 years have passed since BMW last sold an M wagon if we exclude the M Performance models. The fast estate formula is coming back this year with the first-ever M3 Touring, as an auto- and xDrive-only model. Until that happens, let’s have a look at a rare M wagon, which sadly wasn’t built like this from the factory.
Matt from Supercar Driver had the pleasure of driving an M5 Touring E61 with a manual gearbox. Yes, the much-criticized SMG has been yanked out in favor of a six-speed do-it-yourself transmission. The original seven-speed sequential ‘box didn’t do the glorious V10 justice, but a UK-based shop has addressed this issue.
After giving the iconic M3 CSL a stick shift, the skilled folks from everythingM3s led by ex-F1 mechanic Darragh Doyle decided to install a clutch pedal in the M5 Touring E61 as well. With a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter up front sending power via a manual to the rear where there’s a big cargo area, this car ticks all boxes. The rev-happy V10 produces just a little over 500 hp and 520 Nm (382 lb-ft) of torque.
This M5 Touring Is A Purist’s Delight
The manual’s gear lever has been neatly integrated as if BMW had put it there in the first place. How much does the conversion cost? Over £6,000, which is about $8,100 or €7,200 at current exchange rates. The asking price seems fair since replacing the SMG with a manual isn’t exactly the easiest job. Performance details have not been disclosed, but the original hit 62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.8 seconds and topped out at 190 mph (305 km/h).
As with most videos highlighting this generation of the M5, the engine steals the gearbox’s spotlight. The V10 reminds us of the era before electrification, downsizing, and stricter emissions regulations. The linear power delivery of a NA engine is unmatched, even though turbocharged engines do have more low-end punch.
It’s safe to say BMW will never make a V10 again, let alone a naturally aspirated one. We can take comfort from patents from other automakers showing encouraging signs the manual gearbox could survive in the EV era.
[Source: Supercar Driver / YouTube]