BMW Official Says No Manual Transmission for Next M5

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  • BMW M5 Picture

    BMW M5 Picture

    On the left is the first M5, which only came with a manual transmission. On the right is the current M5, which will be the last version to offer a manual transmission as an option. | June 20, 2012


BMW Official Says No Manual Transmission for Next M5

    35 Ratings
    Just the Facts:
    • The next-generation BMW M5 will not be engineered to offer a manual transmission.
    • The M division's head of engineering says it is not cost-effective given the manual's low take rate.
    • The M3 will continue to offer a manual transmission.

    MALAGA, Spain — Stick shift-loving M owners should prepare for bad news, because BMW will only engineer the next M5 or M6 with double-clutch transmissions.

    M's head of engineering, Albert Biermann, admitted this week that there were no plans to fit three pedals in the next-generation M6 and M5 because the order rate was too low to justify the added work.

    "Last year, maybe 15-20 percent of our M5s in the U.S. were manuals and maybe this year it will be 15 percent. It's declining," Biermann warned.

    "The trouble is that nobody wants it in Europe or anywhere else, so this will be the last time we do it, even for the hard-core U.S. buyers."

    The M5's six-speed manual transmission has been heavily reworked from its 5 Series origins and sells alongside the seven-speed double-clutch unit as a no-cost option in the U.S. The gearbox will also be a no-cost option on the upcoming M6 Coupe and Convertible. BMW does not offer it for sale on any other continent.

    "We just can't justify it anymore. It's a no-cost option, but it's been very difficult to do.

    "Theoretically the stick is cheaper, but it's very low volumes and we have to strengthen everything in the gearbox and find space for the shifter and another pedal, so it doesn't work out cheaper."

    It's not all bad news, though, with Biermann promising that at least one hard-core M tradition will remain into the foreseeable future.

    "The M3 needs to have a stick shift. It will always have a stick shift," he insisted.

    Inside Line says: Sooner or later the economics of offering a manual in the U.S. only was going to force this decision. At least the M3 is safe.

    Sort By:

    tbone85 says:

    09:41 AM, 06/23/2012

    In considering what the M5 has become over time, I think the M5 target market simply doesn't fit with manual transmissions. The M5 is no longer a classic sports sedan given it's weight and luxury. The M3 is nearly the same size as an M5 from two generations ago. Hardcore driving enthusiasts who used to drive the M5 will either opt for the next M3 (or the one to follow), or their needs will have changed to match where the M5 is heading.

    I've had a manual transmission in at least one of my cars since I bought my first car. However, the advantages it used to provide in mileage and performance is being eclipsed by automated manuals and at times automatics, and CVTs on the mileage side. I personally love the additional control and involvement manuals offer. Manuals also still offer significant repair/maintenance cost advantages for long term or used car owners.

    It's more of a mixed bag now with transmission selection criteria, but the manufacturers are clearly making decisions about the future of our beloved manuals. Hopefully we'll have another couple of generations before manuals fade out altogether in anything other than specialty vehicles.

    viper74 says:

    05:09 AM, 06/22/2012

    @ needsdecaf2,

    "Almost all M5's are custom order.  I had a BMWNA official tell me a while back what the % of stock units the M cars were and it was ridiculously low."


    That's heresay.  Let's deal with just the facts.

    jmaroun says:

    02:15 PM, 06/21/2012

    Ochlocracy!  Mob Rule!  Just as in Democracy, it is an illusion to think that capitalism has our best interests at heart.  A parent denies as well as yields to the cries.  It's not love, but passion that runs the world.  


    rks838 says:

    11:52 AM, 06/21/2012

    The M3 is NOT safe with a manual! How many years ago was the head of M preaching it would be sacrilege for M cars to not be naturally aspirated?

    jmaroun says:

    10:58 AM, 06/21/2012

    talk about a terrible PR announcement

    iskch says:

    07:50 AM, 06/21/2012

    Looks like all cars heading to the slush boxes & belts (cvt).

    awbmw6spd1 says:

    07:48 AM, 06/21/2012

    Its not BMW that deciding it. READ the article. No one is buying the manual. I sold BMW for 7 years and like someone else said 90% of M5 are sold before the hit the dealership and the customers are buying and wanting the SMG/DCT. Wehn selling the M3 every year I sold more and more DSG cars. Not surprisingly the majority of M3 convertibles I sold were DCT.

    carguy622 says:

    07:07 AM, 06/21/2012


    lzks says:

    06:42 AM, 06/21/2012

    That's what happens when fanboys who only know about shaving .1 seconds off 0-60 times troll around the internet. Using the "DCT is faster" excuse for their inability to shift manually. But then BMW has been going the "wrong" direction for some time now.

    captobvious says:

    05:56 AM, 06/21/2012

    Makes sense. Who would spend this kind of coin on a car and want to spill that $5 starbucks all over their $3k Rolex and 5k suit when trying to shift? pfff

    In all seriousness though, it sucks, but if it doesn't make sense to offer it anymore financially, then they have no reason to. The M3 is safe, but for how long?

    I really hope Porsche doesn't end up doing the same thing.

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