This call goes out to Apples, Black M5, Jim Wald, Bart, TFung, and other 'Gurus of Mod'. on this board.
Is it physically possible to replace the automatic transmission in the SL55 by a 6-speed manual?
I think BMW buys their transmissions from Gertrag or some similar outfit, so it should be possible to buy a top-notch manual transmission unit and the shift linkage assembly.
The hurdles I can think of are mostly physical space limitations. But if one goes that far, it is conceiveable to modify the transmision housing/tunnel etc. to fit the tranny and the clutch asssembly. Don't know what it would do to the rigidity of the frame though. May have to move some seats to boot. Some warrenty items would be voided.
Would the engine management system have issues with the revs governed manually? Anything else that precludes this mod?
I know BMW Indivaiual will customize almost anything if we pay. Does MB offer similar programs? Or we'll have to try Renntech or Brabus to get the mod done?
There is also the road-feel issue, but I believe the dreaded 'dead road feel' is more associated with the S, E and C classes. Don't know if the SL class is equally 'dead'. But some fine-tuned suspension package might invigorate the road feel somewhat.
The costs for all these will not be small, but can't approach that of Nowack N500 or turbo-charging the M5. But if it can done, here's what you get:
You would loose a 100 lbs or so off the tansmission, which is always a good thing, and you can row your own gears. You'll have a car that can keep up with ANY supercar ANYWHERE (who would beat you, a GT2? not likely). A no-hassle convertable top, (no hard-top to lift, no soft-top to maintain) and a truly stunning looker of a car.
For me, THAT's the car to die for. Your comments, discussions, and education are welcomed.