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Old 10th October 2012, 03:41   #1
Fuddy
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Interesting take on the 6sp manual of the new F10

I couldn't agree more because I feel the same way about the e60 m5, built around S85, the SMG is the way BMW intended the car to be.

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2013 BMW M5 6MT [w/video]

American automotive enthusiasts are a crazy bunch. While the rest of the world embraces quick, innovative and efficient dual-clutch automated gearboxes, a good portion of Yankee gearheads still scream for old-school manual transmissions. Despite all of the inadequacies with driver-directed gear changes, car nuts still enjoy rowing their own gears.

BMW tried to force enthusiasts into a single-clutch semi-automatic transmission when it launched the E60 M5 in 2005, but enthusiasts (and the automotive press) wailed so loudly that the Germans reversed course and delivered a six-speed option to the North American market. While performance actually dropped with the manual gearbox, its arrival quelled a rebellion.

The all-new fifth-generation 2013 F10 M5 debuted last fall with a standard – and much improved – lightning-quick dual-clutch transmission. But rather than send North American enthusiasts into yet another frenzy, BMW is adopting a conciliatory tone, offering buyers in the States the chance to opt for a manual gearbox at no additional cost.
....

The 7DCT required almost no operator input on the track. We adjusted the M Drive and M Driving Dynamics Control controls to their Sport Plus settings, put the shift mode to its firmest configuration in the paddock and then enjoyed time on the racing circuit whipping the steering wheel and playing footsies with just two pedals. The computer-controlled gearbox cracked off beautiful shifts, up and down, and the exhaust blipped and burbled every opportunity it found. In the odd chance that boredom set in, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters allowed manual user input. While Bill Auberlen (BMW's M3 GT winning factory pilot) may be quicker with the M5's 7DCT in manual mode, we were quickest allowing the transmission logic to manage shifts as we focused on turn entry and braking zones.

The 6MT is the flip side of the coin. Instead of just piloting the M5 around Laguna Seca's famed circuit, we were very involved as all four of our limbs were tasked with an individual role. The 6MT required us to become an integral part of the car – both microprocessor and hydraulic actuator – and our attention had to be diverted from the apex and exit markers to get the shifts just right. We were plenty quick in the 6MT (thankfully, gobs of torque allowed the M5 to run most of the track in third gear), but we lost precious time on a few shifts and had to really concentrate on nailing the downshift into second gear at Turn 11. It was also much more nerve racking flying one-handed through Turn One at 100-plus mph.

Speaking purely on a mechanical level, the 6MT lags behind the 7DCT. While there is nothing physically wrong with the manual box, rowing one's own gears is based on a technology that peaked in the mid-1990s (think Acura NSX, Mazda MX-5 Miata or Honda S2000), and it really isn't going to get any better. The automated dual clutch, on the other hand, continues to improve with each generation and subsequent software update.

Simply put, BMW's F10 M5 was designed with the 7DCT in mind. The automated gearbox is capable of ripping up and down through the gears endlessly before taking the Autobahn home at a sustained 190 mph. In sharp contrast, and whether North American enthusiasts want to admit it or not, the M5's 6MT is a Frankensteinian adaptation to the platform incapable of handling the same stress as its dual-clutch sibling – that's a fact.

Our street drive revealed more about the 6MT than we were able to ascertain on the racing circuit (it is impossible to notice subtle qualities while driving at nine-tenths, with a helmet over our head, playfully chasing other M5s). We noticed that the M5 manual gearbox rev-matches on downshift when in certain modes (just like a Nissan 370Z). It works well, and the feature likely adds life to the clutch plate itself. We also noticed how much heavier and more massive the high-performance sedan felt when we were tasked with shifting. Lastly, our tooling around the Monterey Peninsula exposed the gearing as being a bit too tall for America's low speed limits.

It isn't easy to build a manual gearbox for a daily driver sport sedan strong enough to handle 500 pound-feet of torque (that kind of insane twisting force used to be reserved for race cars) and make it last 50,000-plus miles. We expected a heavy clutch, but the hydraulically assisted pedal felt unsubstantial and springy. Sadly, those qualities made engagement feel unnatural. The gear selector is well placed, but its movement was typical BMW – a bit notchy and not entirely precise. On one positive note, the light clutch made departing from a standstill easy and shifting while on-the-fly was effortless. Yet overall, something was missing. It was our smile – the 6MT wasn't very entertaining.

We were honestly a bit deflated by our BMW experience. The M5 is an impressive four-door supercar with the 7DCT, but the 6MT erases much of its fire. The manual gearbox delivers slower acceleration, reduced fuel economy (despite what the EPA prints) and, while we might be willing to give in on the numbers a little for an enhanced connection between car and driver, our time with the manual suggests its characteristics will frustrate more drivers than it will satisfy. While our enthusiast-rich blood craves involvement, in this particular situation, it became painfully clear that the computer-controlled 7DCT is the M5's better transmission.

And for those stubborn manual gearbox enthusiasts, we offer a bit of advice: Go find a nice used E39 M5. Its S62 eight-cylinder mated to a 6MT made it of the most engaging sports sedans ever. Then smile.
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Old 10th October 2012, 03:49   #2
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Honestly, I don't care about a few tenths slower or a slight hit in fuel economy...I enjoy shifting my own gears with an actual clutch. A DCT or SMG makes people lazy when driving.
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Old 10th October 2012, 03:51   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dexter Morgan View Post
Honestly, I don't care about a few tenths slower or a slight hit in fuel economy...I enjoy shifting my own gears with an actual clutch. A DCT or SMG makes people lazy when driving.
I think it's just as exciting
perhaps even more so than my old e39 m5 which I thought I would miss, but the e60 has made me completely forget
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Old 10th October 2012, 04:56   #4
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Interesting take on 6sp

Fuddy, no fear here, not gonna flame you. I just perfer a six-speed in all my performance cars whether domestic or foreign, nothing more or less. I guess it will simply be that way until BMW stops making manual transmissions available. Simply a personal choice irrespective of the model. For now, I am pleased that BMW has given the consumer a choice. You make the purchase based upon the vehicles intended use and ultimately what will make you happy. I harbor no animosities toward those who have an SMG or DCT. We are all "enthusiasts" with various tastes in performance desires. Perhaps in the future, I'll be fortunate enough to own an F-10 M5, but it will be one with a manual transmission. But in the meantime, the infamous words of the late Rodney King echo in my head. "CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?" Just say'n.
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Old 10th October 2012, 05:41   #5
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I have had both so really can't complain about either, but I do like paddle shifting. Would love to have a DCT in my SMG E60 ;(


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Old 10th October 2012, 18:09   #6
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I embrace technology. I haven't found myself missing a traditional 6spd with clutch at all. If a computer can do it faster and more consistently then me, who am i to argue?
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Old 11th October 2012, 01:52   #7
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Funny I saw this article and it made me want to get an F10 M5 MANUAL......

BMWBLOG Drive Review: 2013 BMW M5 with Manual Transmission

M5 Manual. Those words go together like a few other familiar duets: horse and carriage, peas and pod, red and Ferrari, liar and lawyer. They just look right, somehow, beside each other. The first three generations of M5 were available with nothing but hand selected gears; the latest is rarely delivered with such homage to tradition. Times and tastes, it seems, have moved on.
We flew to California to determine what makes for the best M5: semi-auto or hand selected gear change. Our verdict may lift eyebrows.
It all felt so familiar, slipping in behind the wheel of BMW’s M5. Several months had passed since our exploits on Spanish roads and raceway, but the nostalgia had not burned off. Indeed, the M5 is a very special car – one that grows on you and slips an arm around your shoulder. It befriends you and says, “we can have some fun together,” but you notice one eyebrow slightly lifted and a mischievous tone. Did I mention it’s a decidedly sexy voice? Yes, the M5 is that kind of friend.


It was up to its old tricks once I got behind the wheel in the parking lot at Laguna Seca raceway. The same sexy voice, the same exotic persona. I’m not complaining. I first drove the manual M5 on the street, but let’s skip to the track and come back to the pedestrian bits later.
Walking up to the M5, you are always cognizant of its size. It really does cast a huge shadow – now larger in dimension than several previous generation 7 series sedans. Once behind the wheel, the car feels a bit smaller, but looking out over the hood and through your mirrors, it still feels large. Press the start button with your left foot deep in the clutch and the engine fires up, settling to a semi-audible hum. The stick slots into first gear with a pleasantly notchy yet well-oiled resistance, and we’re off up pit lane.
Of course, the handling and dynamics are identical between the manual and dual-clutch equipped cars (dual clutch transmission or “DCT” for short), save for slightly longer shift times and very modest weight savings, of course. So I’ll dwell on the difference in feeling and persona rather than outright performance, which we’ve comprehensively considered in our race track review from Ascari race circuit in Spain.


The DCT equipped M5 shrinks around you the moment you unleash it, shrinking further and further around you as you continue to lap, until it seems you’re in the cockpit of an M3. The manual M5 takes this illusion to David Copperfield levels. Focus on your line, dial in more throttle, more brakes, more apex speed, and soon you’ll feel like you’re piloting a 1M. The extra driver involvement brings back the old-time romance, the gentleman’s racer, the gratification of nailing a fast lap with all four limbs in play.
This is not to say that the DCT equipped M5 is not romantic – it still dances with you through corners, but the manual M5 puts on some Frank Sinatra and pours a glass of champagne.
The six-speed manual is precise and pleasantly notchy through all six cogs, the shift throw feels good, and the ratios feel about right – each of them making the most of the M5′s massive power. Clutch resistance is light to my taste, particularly in a car of such sporting intentions – but when turning in quick laps, you quickly forget about such tactile tastes and get on with the job using what you’ve got. It works, and well.

Of significant importance: the pedals are placed perfectly for heel-and-toe downshifts – you can heel-and-toe all day long without spraining a hip. Special mention goes to BMW’s standard floor-hinged throttle pedal – it makes quick work of a throttle blip with great ergonomics.
A funny thing happened exiting Laguna Seca’s final turn: I threw the car in and caught the slide, drifting to the exit – but after redlining second gear and grabbing third, I found myself with the tail back in line. I missed the simple drift-extending ease of a DCT upshift mid-slide, hence the manual M5 proved itself a little less of a hooligan – at least when it comes to drifting exercises.
Also missed was the stunted “burp” between shifts that exits the exhausts while making full-throttle upshifts in the DCT M5. This sound certainly adds to the occasion, as does the lightening quick shift – if a bit delayed from input to completion. The DCT shifts very quickly, but not in sync with the paddle shifter. We applaud Porsche for getting it right with their PDK transmission: even the push-pull button actuation (which we strongly dislike) delivers instantaneous shifts where the M5 has some time lag. Yet again, I’ll illustrate it this way: when grabbing another gear in the M5, my fingers are back off the paddle before the shift begins. In the Porsche, as the paddle clunks into its depressed position, you feel the shift taking place.
Lap after lap, the M5 felt great, planted, fast. It felt natural to be rowing its gears, and what I traded in driftability, cool noises, and faster shifts, I gained in driver involvement and feel. I suppose, in a ‘fun-factor’, it’s a wash.


That brings us to our first moments in the manual M5 on the roads around Laguna Seca. I was off on a mission to determine how the manual M5 feels during normal driving. Having a manual, it immediately occurs that the M5 should feel extremely sporty, and it doesn’t. Setting off from a standstill, the very light clutch resistance feels at odds with the car – my notion is this: if you’re going to give it a manual, go all the way and give it a satisfying, stiff clutch. Yes, the downtown executive sort will whine that it makes their leg sore in stop and go traffic. But guess what: none of those buyers will order their M5 with a manual in the first place. I suspect a greater percentage of manual M5s will see track time and extreme back-road blasts than their DCT equipped brothers, therefore I suspect that most manual M5 buyers will agree that the clutch resistance could have been turned up a few notches.
That said, the gearbox feels great and the ratios are also well spaced for the road. Pulling the DCT paddles around town feels absolutely silly and redundant, hence you leave the DCT in automatic mode the vast majority of the time. This quiets down the M5 because the 4.4 liter’s titanic 500 lb-ft of torque comes on around 1,500 rpm, not far above idle, allowing the 7-speed to short-shift and mute the M5′s sound. If you want the engine to be audible, you’ve got to pull several downshifts just to hear the engine rev up. But doing this around town with the windows down makes you a total wanker searching for attention, looking at who’s looking at you. It all feels rather awkward and contrived.
The manual, on the other hand, has no such egotistical dilemmas attached. Like in any manual, you shift when it feels right to shift, and you predominately make that judgment based on sound. Hence, you tend to drive the car a bit more, even around town, because you’re always revving a little higher through each gear. In some way, it makes for a more exciting car. Yes, your fuel economy suffers, but if you are concerned about fuel economy whilst driving an M5, you have clearly made a poor purchase decision. Find yourself an M550d and learn how to draft.
Like on the racetrack, the manual M5 feels exciting and engaged while carving up back roads. But when the fun is over and it’s time for simple transportation, the manual M5 feels awfully out of sorts. After switching the steering feel, suspension damping and throttle response to their comfort settings, the supple luxury, quiet interior and soft ride felt at odds with the manual gear change. No matter how gently and smoothly I rolled on the throttle and released the clutch, I could never match the near-imperceptible, automatic-like shift change of the DCT.

The M5 has been lauded for its two-car-in-one adaptability. When equipped with the DCT, it only takes the press of an M button to turn the M5 into a raging sports car, chomping at the bait, eager to unleash tire smoke, g-force, and speed; a press of the second M button and it settles down into a relaxed mood, ready to lazily lumber around in no hurry.
The manual-equipped M5 shows no such duality. It’s always the sports car, lunging forward through each gear, tugging on your passengers during downshifts, climbing to higher engine revs and making more engine noise all the while. Is it less of a car for it? I suppose that depends on what you expect of your M5. If it’s a Sunday driver, a track toy, a collector car – the engagement and romance of the manual is likely to win you over. But if your back-road blasts, track days and drift sessions are punctuated by grocery runs, soccer practice, and daily commutes, I say buy the DCT. You’ll have struck a shocking bargain: you’ll have bought a slightly shrunk 7 series and an M car, all in one.


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Old 11th October 2012, 02:14   #8
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"But if your back-road blasts, track days and drift sessions are punctuated by grocery runs, soccer practice, and daily commutes, I say buy the DCT"

I so want a DCT now......
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Old 11th October 2012, 02:45   #9
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Quote:
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"But if your back-road blasts, track days and drift sessions are punctuated by grocery runs, soccer practice, and daily commutes, I say buy the DCT"

I so want a DCT now......
Buy an F10 and swap the motors

Or swap the transmission on your e60


That my friend is the ultimate mod, a modification you can be sure that no one else has or ever will!
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Old 11th October 2012, 02:50   #10
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Originally Posted by DinanBMWM5 View Post
Buy an F10 and swap the motors

Or swap the transmission on your e60


That my friend is the ultimate mod, a modification you can be sure that no one else has or ever will!
Let's not start that again lol

We shall see what I can do to this old E60
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