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      08-13-2012, 11:27 PM   #1
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Post First F10 M5 Manual Transmission Review

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Hi All,

Well, today I did what I thought would be quite literally impossible - I found a dealership that had a manual 6 speed 2012 M5 on the showroom floor ready to rock! My timing could not have been more perfect as I arranged a test drive of the car with some of the friendly connections I have there. Having recently driven the DCT model in Spain (at the M Power Experience event - fellow members' journal 1 | 2) and wanting more - I had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the 6spd. for a test! I have always regretted buying the E60 M5 V10 in SMG (sold it) and while I think DCT is such superior tech I have had this feeling deep inside that the next perfect car for me would be the F10 in manual. Well BMW did me and other fellow buyers the biggest favour and built one! I have heard that uptake for the MT on the 5 series platform as been abysmal and I really feel that this is simply because it's just not a sporty car and ///M had their work cut out for them to make it such (the difference is huge from the standard 5 Series). The ///M5 experience in Spain set the stage for me but the test drive today sold me on the car forever.

A few key observations after my quick 10KM spin. For starters, coming from a 911 Targa4S I will say that the M5 handled incredible for its size and weight. I did the same path down and up in my car in the M5 and I would be hard pressed to argue against the M5's ability to move and handle. I saw the traction control kick in a few times and I will admit to pushing the M more than my ride just to see its limits tested - it shined perfectly. I drove the car in Sport Plus mode for suspension, steering, and power. I found these settings to be perfect for my driving style and what some time to be a very bumpy ride (C4S); would most likely just keep it in Sport Plus all the time. In comparison to a 911 (for those curious), the steering was 80% as communicative, the throttle response 85%, and the suspension better in some ways for city driving.

BMW M is challenged because I think there is another very good reason they did not want to build this car with MT - the turbo lag. In the DCT model it is not very noticeable because you are not controlling the gear engagement, a computer is. But, with the MT you feel it more, especially on the gear down (engine braking is delayed). I feel that M engineers have tried to over compensate for the turbo lag on the launch of the car so as to have immediate power, but when you try a throttle blip to rev match a deceleration, the engine is still very high strung and does not climb back down as fast as an NA car would. In a weird way its easier to rev match, but you need to get used to driving around the Turbo. I believe that this is the reason that DCT is not rev matching in the V8TT like the V8 NA in the M3 - its the nature of the engine.

The clutch was softer than my 911, but all BMWs are in general. It's maybe a little too soft for an M, but great for downtown traffic. The shifter was very nice, short, fast, and smooth. Like others have mentioned, it does have that slight rubbery shifting feel but I kind of like it as more of the car is vibrating through your hand almost like holding motorcycle handle bars (I guess). The feathering of the engine (something you can do with a clutch) was just so awesome. The back pressure kicks sound like a massive drum being hit inside the car - I could do it all day!

Overall I am sold on the M5, I think it is very different than the race inspired E60 with its V10. A BMW exec goes on record as reminding me that this car is not so much about the engine, the brakes, or any one singular thing - it is about the package. For this I believe they have achieved their goal. I will go on record as saying that this is the best 4 door sedan dollar for dollar, that money can buy. It's a whole lot of car for what they are charging us. Now, there are trade offs for this package; things like exclusivity, unique engine, etc. but if you are in the need for a super saloon that goes from couch-like comfort to a hooligan ride, then this your pick. For me I am checking off the MT box!

P.S. One thing I was really happy with was that the experience was completely different than my car. I did not want a pretend sports car, or a fat 911, or even a fast 5 series; I wanted it to be entirely different than my car and others - thankfully it was! Reason for the change is that my new little guy is a heavy drinker and he needs a designated driver (see pic below hehe) - Cayenne/SUV is not so fun on trips to the grandparents!

P.S., the 6MT shift knob is lighted (see photos @ http://f10.m5post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=695000)

Enjoy the video and some pics...

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Last edited by uhn2000; 08-14-2012 at 03:25 PM.
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      08-14-2012, 01:27 AM   #2
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Thanks for a great review of the 6 speed.
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      08-14-2012, 07:57 AM   #3
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Is that BMW Toronto?

I'd love to try the 6spd......
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      08-14-2012, 08:27 AM   #4
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Coming from an e39 M5, I thought the shifter was really low in my e92 M2. While I've gotten used the height, it seems the shifters are getting even lower (at least as far as I can tell from the pics and a F10 550i sport that I drove). I'd prefer if they went back to the tall shifters like the e39.

How was the slope of the arm rest coming down to the shifter? It felt really awkward in the F10 550 as there was too much slope for me.
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      08-14-2012, 09:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
Is that BMW Toronto?

I'd love to try the 6spd......
Yes it was - car was sold to someone just after I drove it.
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      08-14-2012, 09:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JC919 View Post
Coming from an e39 M5, I thought the shifter was really low in my e92 M2. While I've gotten used the height, it seems the shifters are getting even lower (at least as far as I can tell from the pics and a F10 550i sport that I drove). I'd prefer if they went back to the tall shifters like the e39.

How was the slope of the arm rest coming down to the shifter? It felt really awkward in the F10 550 that I drove as there was too much slope of me.
Yes it was slightly sloped but nothing that really bothered me.
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      08-14-2012, 10:13 AM   #7
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That was sitting on the showroom of BMW Toronto since early June. Did you whip that thing up on DVP or the Gardiner ?
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      08-14-2012, 10:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobblehead View Post
That was sitting on the showroom of BMW Toronto since early June. Did you whip that thing up on DVP or the Gardiner ?
I did - fun fun fun! Great ride. Also saw another MT that was being delivered and 3 DCT cars in different colours. It was a great day for M5 viewing.
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      08-14-2012, 10:20 AM   #9
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Thanks for the review! I thought the manual transmission option was US-only though, not North America-only. Or did BMW of Toronto buy one from a US dealer?
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      08-14-2012, 02:38 PM   #10
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Great write-up man!

Thanks for posting a vid as well.
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      08-14-2012, 03:01 PM   #11
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thanks for the great read. interesting to see how it compares to the 911 which for many is the benchmark in feel.
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      08-14-2012, 03:07 PM   #12
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Great review. Maybe it will sell well enough to make BMW put one in the next M5. I know it probably won't but one can dream.
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      08-14-2012, 04:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmerjph View Post
Maybe it will sell well enough to make BMW put one in the next M5.
One can hope!
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      08-14-2012, 04:07 PM   #14
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Aesome Review!, But how does it compare in your opinion to the E60? And is the engine noise quieter than the E60? Thanks
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      08-14-2012, 04:27 PM   #15
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thanks for the review.
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      08-14-2012, 05:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uhn2000 View Post
BMW M is challenged because I think there is another very good reason they did not want to build this car with MT - the turbo lag. In the DCT model it is not very noticeable because you are not controlling the gear engagement, a computer is. But, with the MT you feel it more, especially on the gear down (engine braking is delayed). I feel that M engineers have tried to over compensate for the turbo lag on the launch of the car so as to have immediate power, but when you try a throttle blip to rev match a deceleration, the engine is still very high strung and does not climb back down as fast as an NA car would. In a weird way its easier to rev match, but you need to get used to driving around the Turbo. I believe that this is the reason that DCT is not rev matching in the V8TT like the V8 NA in the M3 - its the nature of the engine.
Matt Russell recently mentioned that later builds (compared to his own daily which is a very early build) have a rev match feature on downshifting (like the 350Z). I don't think this is what you are referring to, but did you notice this feature. Sound's like you are just referring to revs staying high when you depress the clutch?
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      08-14-2012, 05:32 PM   #17
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How did the baby like the Heineken?
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      08-14-2012, 05:52 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWI6 View Post
Aesome Review!, But how does it compare in your opinion to the E60? And is the engine noise quieter than the E60? Thanks
Gosh so hard to explain - I guess I can say with certainty that the exhaust backfire and sound is better but the intake engine noise is overshadowed by the active sound in the cabin. Its not as high strung and zingy as the V10 more of a rumble and growl. Hopefully that helps.
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      08-14-2012, 06:53 PM   #19
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How did the baby like the Heineken?
I thought I was thee only one who noticed that.
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      08-14-2012, 07:17 PM   #20
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Great review! What color did you order yours in? Post pics when you get it!
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      08-14-2012, 07:25 PM   #21
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Uhn,

Very helpful even for DCT buyers since I think you were waiting to be convinced there for awhile. Does this mean you are not doing the 991?
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      08-14-2012, 07:37 PM   #22
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I can see why the uptake on the manual f10s has been so low. If I had had a chance to drive one before I ordered my 550i I would have never ordered it as a manual. It is just not the right transmission for this car. It doesn't really make it more involving or fun to drive, it just makes a luxury car not fully luxury... If I can get out of it and into a DCT M5 I will do it in a heart beat. I think this will be my last manual daily driver...
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