If you’re still celebrating the fact that the current BMW M5 is available with a manual transmission, your party might be soon coming to an end. We hear that the next M5 won’t have three pedals, no matter where you buy it.
The BMW M5 and the manual transmission have had a sordid history: while the 1998-2003 M5 was available exclusively with a six-speed manual box, but the model that replaced it in 2005 was only available with a seven speed, single-clutch automated manual gearbox. The initial response to the car’s transmission was tepid, and so BMW added a six-speed manual option for North American buyers the following year. When the present F10-generation model was introduced in 2011, BMW also announced that American buyers could specify their super sedans with a stick shift and three pedals, but international markets only offer M5s with the standard seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
While many people looked at BMW’s decision to give American buyers a manual option a win for enthusiasts, BMW M executives say the combination of high development costs and low take rates make a stick shift M5 a no go in future models.
At current, Bimmerpost reports, the take rate on the M5’s manual transmission option is somewhere around 15 percent. While a six-speed manual is less expensive to design and produce than a more complicated double-clutch box, it also requires that BMW strengthen the transmission to better handle the engine’s massive torque output, as well as redesign pedal boxes and center consoles. That cost, BMW says, probably isn’t worth the meager take rate.
What does this mean? In all likelihood, the next-generation M5 will not be available with a manual. This means that the car will either soldier on with the current model’s seven-speed DCT, or receive an even more advanced gearbox, albeit one without a clutch pedal.
If you’re already mourning the possible loss of the M5’s manual, we do have a consolation prize. It’s a two-minute video courtesy of BMW of Canada that recreates much of the ultra-high-speed, slow-motion videos of bullets piercing objects like balloons or apples using a 2013 M5. Keen BMW fans and video watchers will recognize that the M5 in the video has…a manual transmission.
What do you think: is the end of the line for the M5 manual a sign the sky is ready to fall, or is it just BMW committing to the future? Let us know in the comments below.