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A manual does really make the car much more engaging. The full action of gas out - clutch in - banging gears etc at WOT around 8k offers so much more drama/character than pulling a paddle. If that doesn't mean anything to you and you don't care for linear power bands/reving out working for your horses compared to newer/forced induction cars then E60 probably isn't for you. Different strokes and all that.

Also looked at the pictures of the car you drove and its close to a stripper M5 options wise. For me personally, the leather dash and HUD really add to the ambiance/quality of the car every time I drive, not to mention active seat bolsters are one of my favorite car options. Nothing like your car hugging you back when you floor it. Really sets it apart from the interior of a 528i and makes it feel special. I think you might feel differently if you try another one out.

I'm personally waiting on full pictures and specs of what BMW will do with the new M3 regarding the tombstone grill and if I can option out the rwd 6 speed trim. I might take a bath on depreciation but have a feeling it'll be the last manual M3. Otherwise I'm doing your inverse and looking hard for a manual/loaded F10/F13/F06 to add to the stable to get me some of that torque below 3k rpm.
 

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I've never driven an F10 M5 but have played with turbos before. So I was expecting the engine comparison to be exactly as you described. The S85 has it's own appeal tho. If one could somehow keep it at 6k+ rpms at all times it'd be way more fun - but never a match for a turbo.

As for the interior you probably stumbled across a bad example. Mine doesn't have any of the traits you mentioned, and neither did the ones I test drove.

Interesting to read your comments about handling. Each new gen M5 gets bigger and heavier, so that prob explains the better handling.
 

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Update: I went for a test drive today - I drove this E60 M5 https://www.hannaimports.com/used/BMW/2008-BMW-M5-raleigh-nc-2c690a620a0d04fe0f193c0f1c2b8aaa.htm

Couple of important caveats - Much of my feelings below are due to owning and daily driving a tuned F10 M5. So keep that in mind, especially as I talk about the engine. Second, I still love the e60 M5, so please don't think I'm bashing it in any way, just giving my opinion. Lastly, it's important to understand the progression of cars that lead me to this point, so you know what I'm comparing to. I won't bore you w/ all the non-BMW's but essentially I went from 2003 330i ZHP (6speed), then E90 M3 Slick-top (6speed) and an e46 M3 (6speed) at the same time, finally to an F10 M5 (DCT).

Initial thoughts - I left feeling very "underwhelmed" and quite frankly, disappointed.

First of all - the pics make the car out to be quite a bit cleaner that it really is. The car has been on the lot for 176 days and it shows. It's been scuffed; scratched and the interior is not in great shape. Sitting out in the elements has clearly taken it's toll. A-pillar cloth is beginning to sag, shifter trim cover is bubbling/peeling. The top rear bumper/trunk area is all scratched up; Seats are worn, carpets are dirty and it has a bit of an odd smell...not sure what, dog maybe? I guess I wasn't expecting the e60 platform to age so poorly; not sure if it's just this one or all of them are starting to get long in the tooth. All of that being said, based on what you guys wrote above; this was kind of my expectation, but I guess seeing it in the flesh put a new lens on it. I guess I'm more disappointed with this particular example, which clearly didn't age well.

On to the engine. Not sure if this car was running right but even in "power" mode; i.e. all 507 ponies; it just didn't sell me. It didn't "stir my soul". The induction sound was great of course but...I don't know, I expected more. Granted, this was a bone stock car. Maybe I'm spoiled by a tuned F10 M5 and the stupid torque and non-linear delivery. It feels like for this e60 M5 to be "fun" for me, it needs a tune, intake, and a muffler delete at a minimum. Of course I would do those things anyway, but again, this car left me a bit uninspired. I couldn't even hear the exhaust note, which was rather disappointing.

The SMG Trans...oh boy....I am not a fan. You guys are right, I'm sure there's a certain way to drive it but I just haven't found it yet. I thought I loved a firm shifting car and again, maybe I'm spoiled by the DCT but even at full strength, the SMG is a bit slow and too violent or "jolty", especially at full tilt. Is there a way to improve that? Maybe the Euro software of FAMS tune? Interestingly, the lurching about between shifts in low speed traffic didn't really bother me. I think I could live with that. Maybe the s85 goes better w/ the 6 speed manual; maybe not.

Suspension...so this is an area where I was thoroughly impressed. Yes there was some body roll but the car felt sharp, if not a tad bit harsh, planted and overall, did NOT show it's nearly 100k miles or 4k+ curb weight. Wonder if it had the suspension redone (control arms) or refreshed somewhat recently? It also felt a heck of a lot more nimble, tossable and overall more "fun" than my F10. Miles more fun I'd say. Not e90 M3 levels (or e46 m3), but not as far off as I would've thought.

Overall, I've come away feeling like the e60 did not strike me as a car that could take the place of the F10 as my daily, and it wasn't "fun" enough to warrant 3rd car/weekend car status either (maybe a manual would be different). I think if i had to do it over again, the right move would be to have bought an e60 M5 after the E90/E46 M3's or, an F80 M3. I think the driving experience/engagement gap from the manual E90/E46 M3's to the DCT F10 M5 was far too much, which has now left me "missing" that engagement. Not sure what the outcome of this exercise was, other than education for me, but I will still keep my eyes open for a nice e60 M5...or a nice e9x M3, or e46 M3 lol. If you've read this far, thank you!
Looks like you found your answer, which is the same conclusion many people come to. Which is fine, it just means that this car is probably not for you which you seem to already have realized. Just keep the F10. The car does not feel like 500 hp until you wind it out, which you don’t have to do in your current car. The e90 m3 is the same way though, so I’m sure you expected that to a degree. But if you don’t like it, don’t keep your eye out for one! Not worth buying a car you don’t enjoy. Look for something else
 

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Discussion Starter #24
A manual does really make the car much more engaging. The full action of gas out - clutch in - banging gears etc at WOT around 8k offers so much more drama/character than pulling a paddle. If that doesn't mean anything to you and you don't care for linear power bands/reving out working for your horses compared to newer/forced induction cars then E60 probably isn't for you. Different strokes and all that.

Also looked at the pictures of the car you drove and its close to a stripper M5 options wise. For me personally, the leather dash and HUD really add to the ambiance/quality of the car every time I drive, not to mention active seat bolsters are one of my favorite car options. Nothing like your car hugging you back when you floor it. Really sets it apart from the interior of a 528i and makes it feel special. I think you might feel differently if you try another one out.

I'm personally waiting on full pictures and specs of what BMW will do with the new M3 regarding the tombstone grill and if I can option out the rwd 6 speed trim. I might take a bath on depreciation but have a feeling it'll be the last manual M3. Otherwise I'm doing your inverse and looking hard for a manual/loaded F10/F13/F06 to add to the stable to get me some of that torque below 3k rpm.
For sure; I love that feeling of hitting 2nd and going sideways. You can take the boy out of the fox-body 5.0 mustang, but you'll never take the fox-body 5.0 mustang out of the boy....I guess lol.

I did have the HUD, no leather dash though. The active bolsters were a plus; even though they were in rough condition. The more I think about it the more I'd like to see a $20k example, you know, something enthusiast owned, on the nicer end, w/ some tasteful mods. So I think you're right, I'll keep looking for a better example and see how I feel about that one.

I hear you on the new M3...I'm really not feeling the new styling language but maybe it'll grow on me. Otherwise, I should have plenty of F-gen M cars to last me a while in the used market.

FYI on the F-10/13/06; I'd go w/ an M6 coupe; go w/ a CF interior trim model, w/ the CF roof and you'll have a car that competes w/ the Audi R8. the M5 and GC are just a bit too big/heavy. I feel like the M6 is perfect. Also, despite loving manuals, I drove an f10 M5 in manual and it just didn't feel right. The DCT is a very good match to the S63tu.
 

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My opinion on a 6MT — a lightweight flywheel and a proper 3.91 change the feel of the s85.

The lighter flywheel really helps throttle response, H/T, and you feel the powerband from 3000 to the redline.

An OEM or Dinan diff is fine for the street. To really put the traction down digging out of corners at the track, a custom diff, with additional clutch packs, ramp angles, and a polished R&P make all the difference.
 

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I have both and they each have their own qualities about them. If you can afford both, get both!
 

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then get an e63 m6 as the fun car.

Take a test drive in an E60 and see if the trade down is worth it. I recently had a week of seat time in an F10 2016 M5 with lower miles. When I jumped back in the E60 I could feel:
  • Every bushing that is worn on the car
  • The body flexing more over bumps
  • The door panels seemed thinner and you seem to sit more "on" the car than "in" the car
  • Stuff from the decade before this one (as we move into the next) all around you
  • Accelerating at part hustle is more of a chore as the engine doesn't spin the earth underneath it without all that torque - especially with the SMG
Mine is a 2010 with around 68,000 miles. I still wouldn't trade it for 5 F10 M5's. When the tach spirals out of control past 6k with the sound of screaming banshees ricocheting off of everything - ownership is worth whatever the hassle or dealbreaker you think there is.

I just treat this SMG business as though it's a manual and operate it as I would operate a manual (gaps and all) - computer does the shifting. If you know that's what it's going to be and can appreciate that then it's no longer a deficit vs. the DCT.
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