Originally Posted by l2f
The E60 M5 was a fine automobile -- thoroughly enjoyed it and rank it up there with one of the best performance sedans I have experienced. If it had a weakness, it was the SMG. Most everyone gets used to/learns to compensate for the harshness of the SMG. However, comparing them side by side, the DCT in the M3 is definitely superior. Most of what I read about the new M5 says it will have the DCT.
I have driven the Audi competitors to the M's, and they are fairly impressive but, in my humble opinion, not the equals of the M's. Also have driven the Mercs, and they are big, impressive engines if that is what you are after. Still think the M cars are a more complete package.
All that said, if I can't find a nice used M3 before too long, I may eat all my words, and look back at some of the competition.
Good luck in your search!
I think If I get an E60 M5 I will probably try to find a 6 speed manual although I have heard it is not that stout I bet it is still fun, and the car will not be seeing any track time so I doubt I will overheat the transmission. Also with the software update the traction control can be turned off
We seem to have similar goals, I am still aiming for lightly used 2008 M3 Sedan, I would take the Manual or DCT though.
It would be kind of hard to pick between a low mileage E60 M5 with manual and a similarly conditioned E90 M3 with manual, because < gasp>they are actually priced pretty close together.
Like you said if I cannot find a perfect M I may opt for a 2008 550i or dare I say a 2008 Audi S5.
I would have no problem picking up a 335xi (or 535i) but the fuel pump issues concern me too much, and from my past experiences, turbos and european cars do not always mix so well, they engineer better (and easier to maintain/repair) N/A's IMO.