I am an original owner of an '02 M3 w/ SMGII and love it. I have never tried DCT in newer models, but I've heard it's even better. I bought my M3 as a single man. Now 10 years later, married with 2 toddlers, the 2 door coupe is not working out so well with carseats, strollers, etc. lol. I have been seriously thinking about the X5M. I think it is the perfect car for someone in my situation, a confirmed lover of M cars, but now with toddlers, carseats, and needing to haul all the crap they bring along
Comparing it's handling to a M3 is obviously not fair, since they are in a totally different class. However, just straight off the line speed, the X5M is actually faster than the M3, at least that's what all the reviews have said, and has miles more torque as well (granted it weighs a lot more too). I'm not sure why BMW didn't drop in the DCT in the X5M, but instead chose a regular "Auto" with paddle shifters, there probably is a logical reason. Perhaps they figure most SUV/SAV drivers will just drive in auto and not be shifting manually as much, like most M3 drivers would. In any case I think the X5M is a beast of a car, and for those that MUST have an SAV, I am glad BMW gave us an "M" model.