Exactly. Harris already had it in his head he hated the SMG anyway. As for missing a shift- I've never managed that. GrrrrrInteresting review. They definetly thought the M5 outhandled and may also outspeeded the RS6, but the RS6 power, usability (incl. auto gearbox) was more accessable in everyday driving. Could be. But for real inspiring driving, turn to the BMW M5 Touring. The RS6 seemed not to be made of the RS4 and R8 team after a test and "on paper".
But yes, the range should be larger and the learning curve of the SMG III is not over a weekend.
I think Ashok's right - a great shame they didn't put the Alpina up against them! As proud owner of Hythe's B5 Touring, it answers many of the criticisms against the M5 re: torque, gearbox, and fuel economy / range from the tank. Given BMW and Alpina's reputation for handling I suspect it would handle better than the RS6 too.
I test-drove an M5 Touring before buying the B5, as well as a 535d, and felt the 535d was quicker on the uptake. The M5 Touring is great fun, but realistically too hardcore for a day-to-day family car, although the kid in me would still want one! To me the B5 is the perfect choice.
Also don't think the RS6 looks special enough.
PS Claiming the old RS6 is "damn near indestructable" shows a distinct lack of knowledge for the car - I think the latest survey on RS246 shows >70% of owners have had suspension problem!