Next BMW M5, M6 to Drop Manual Transmission

Dual-clutch only for the next BMW autobahn bruisers.

Bad news for anyone who likes to shift for themselves in a high-powered BMW: A U.S. spokesperson confirmed that the next-gen BMW M5 and M6 will no longer offer manual transmissions, and instead will be available only with a dual-clutch automatic. The news was reported earlier this month by Car and Driver, though we had heard as far back as 2012 that the BMW M5 might lose its stick-shift option in its next iteration.

The news is especially disappointing given that BMW specifically engineered a six-speed manual for the M5 and M6 after enthusiasts -- particularly in the U.S. -- complained that the twin-turbo bruisers were launched only with a dual-clutch automatic. That said, Car and Driver reports that the take rate for manual transmission on the current BMW M5 and M6 is near-zero, so it's hard to fault BMW for responding to market forces.

The lone bright spot is that BMW promises it will still offer shift-it-yourself M cars going forward, with a spokesperson telling AUTOMOBILE, "BMW will continue to offer manual transmissions in the BMW M2, BMW M3, and BMW M4, as well as other BMW models."

No exact date has been confirmed for the introduction of the next BMW M5, though we've spied the high-powered sedan several times, as seen in these photos. Reports say the car will pack an upgraded 4.4-liter V-8 engine with at least 600 hp, and that it may have all-wheel drive for the first time ever. Nonetheless, BMW officials have promised the car would still have a rear-drive bias, and as we've seen on video, the car still appears able to drift and slide like crazy when testing on the 'Ring. The next BMW M6 would likely share its mechanicals with the M5, though our spy shooters have yet to spot the two-door variant testing.

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