Originally Posted by csween86
It's a waste because many people will buy these cars for fuel economy and will hurt his or her own fuel consumption by jumping gears, you're either under revving hurting your motor, or running the revs high in the low gears, wasting more gas to satisfy the rpms to jump to the final gear, compared to just running through each gear properly, so what's the point? I know the gear jumping supposedly applies to apply to enthusiasts that dont want the hassle of 7 gears, but come on, who drives a manual these days that isn't an enthusiast, we are a dying breed. I could care less about mpg, but on a long trip i do as well like to conserve fuel, but i shouldn't have to run through 7 gears to obtain this, 6 is already enough!
Briefly revving a low gear up to high RPM to jump straight to a very high gear is more fuel efficient than working your way up to moderate RPMs in each intermediate gear, especially when you could jump from 2>7. It's not a huge savings, but considering automakers are doing things as drastic as switching to electric steering for a fairly trivial increase in fuel economy, they'll take what they can get.
As for only enthusiasts driving manuals, have you been outside the US? In Europe about 80% of cars are manual transmissions; hell, one of the tour buses I was on in Italy had an 8-speed manual. The reason is that cars are a hell of a lot more expensive pretty much everywhere else in the world, so the marginal cost of a slushbox is MUCH more significant there, so most people get manual. And consequently, pretty much everyone everywhere else knows how to drive stick, so it's not seen as some sort of enthusiast Jedi power the way it is here. In fact the enthusiasts and wealthier people are almost always driving SMG/PDK/DCT if their cars can be ordered thusly. They wouldn't impress anybody by driving driving stick, so they opt for the added performance and status symbol of the newer automated alternative.
And that's why the M5 can be ordered with a manual transmission only in the US.