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Car and Driver: It’s Last Call for the Manual-Transmission BMW M5

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2013-bmw-m5-photo-506765-s-986x603

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If you’d like to purchase a V-8–powered BMW with a manual transmission, time is running out. You won’t be able to order the M5 with a row-it-yourself transmission in place of the standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission once production ends in late fall. BMW also plans to drop the option from the M6: “Demand had dropped to zero” on that car, BMW M GmbH chief Frank van Meel tells us.

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The six-speed manual was developed specifically for the U.S. market at significant cost and effort, as the twin-turbocharged V-8 produces so much torque that its engine controller needed to be specially reprogrammed in order preserve the transmission after manual shifts. While we are the “Save the Manuals!” magazine, we will admit we were less than thrilled with the current-generation manual M5 when we tested one.

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While the manual transmission won’t return on the next-generation M5 and M6, the option remains alive and well on BMW M’s more compact models, where take rates are high enough to keep it in the portfolio indefinitely. “On M2, M3, and M4, the manual transmission will stay,” van Meel promises. That’s good news.

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