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      11-16-2005, 01:21 AM   #1
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M5 manual only in America, I don't get it?

Just read edmunds' first drive of the new M5 and they said that a manual M5 will come later next year but will only be offered in USA. Now why is this? I thought more European people drive manuals? And it is us Americans that stick to autos? I thought it was weird when I found out that currently M5 can only be paired with SMG, but now apparently only USA wants manuals?
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      11-16-2005, 01:25 AM   #2
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the euros look up to F1, and embrace the SMG technology
while we embrace nascar (uuughhh) and our stick shifting ways

the us was the only market to complain about the SMG and no "real" manual
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      11-16-2005, 02:05 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ward
the euros look up to F1, and embrace the SMG technology
while we embrace nascar (uuughhh) and our stick shifting ways

the us was the only market to complain about the SMG and no "real" manual
Of course, why would I want a computer to press the clutch for me? If I wanted an auto I'd just buy a smooth traditional auto.

Oh .......... I get it. I feel pretty ignorant, but honestly, I'm not into manuals for the speed, it's just fun to press the clutch and row the shifter. Put some paddles behind the steering wheel and I'd take the step over SMG for the smoothness.

Okay I'm not getting anywhere.
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      11-16-2005, 03:53 AM   #4
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It's the same reason why BMW doesn't sell the 1-series and big engined wagons here -- the US market is extremely conservative, and BMW NA is extremely protective about its brand image.

The M5 has always had a manual gearbox in the past 20 years, so the buyers expect one in the new M5 and BMW NA certainly doesn't want to destroy that image of the M5's.

Europeans always want the lastest in technology and design, they buy cars for the surprises. Whereas here in the US, people want "the best" and they buy cars to satisfiy their expectations.
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      11-16-2005, 04:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xens
I thought more European people drive manuals? And it is us Americans that stick to autos?
That's true to some extend.

Because the majority of cars sold are autos, in peoples mind stick = sporty. So a sports car, especially an expensive one gotta have a manual gearbox. Otherwise it ain't no sports car.
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      11-16-2005, 04:29 AM   #6
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Well, an SMG is an electronically operated(clutch) MANUAL gearbox. it is NOT an automatic box. Having had an E46 M3 6 speed manual an testdriven a E36 and E46 M3 wth SMG 1 en SMG 2 and the M3 CSL, I must say, when gotten used to it irl it wouldn't get any better than SMG, so fast(downshifting e.g.) without shiftlock to the rearwheels, just excellent.
But to play(drift) with a car, I 'd prefer manual 6 speed. And the price for SMG was rather high...

I forgot Ferrari has the 'SMG' system too as an option(or you choose manual) F430, best sportscar at the moment by far. IMHO
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      11-16-2005, 08:33 AM   #7
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Robin hood is correct - SMG is an electronically controlled Manual gearbox that can shift faster than any manual. There's no torque converter as on the automatics/steptronic. The newest M5 has the generation 3 SMG that is the fastest yet.

US M5 owners and owners to-be in the states demanded the manual, so BMW catered to the largest market by providing one. Take a look at the M5 boards.
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      11-16-2005, 10:03 AM   #8
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I agree with you Xens,

I just like to row the gears too, it's not really about speed it's about control
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      11-16-2005, 10:07 AM   #9
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One other thing..the Manual for the M5's sold in the US will be 6 spd. Besides, BMW's have enough stuff to go wrong on them, no need to spend $100k and wait for the SMG pump to fail in 15k miles.
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      11-16-2005, 10:36 AM   #10
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I know two people that had money down on the M5, but once they found out it was smg only they got their money back. Many people here dislike SMG
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      11-16-2005, 01:19 PM   #11
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I know SMG is essentially a manual with a clutch and everything, but take away clutching and gear-rowing action and the entire experience is crippled. Honestly how many people buy a manual tranny daily driver (excluding those that uses a manual car exclusively for the track) for performance? Most of the time you can't get that performance out on public roads, so with that out, all that's left is the fact that you get to have some fun pressing the third pedal repeatedly and rowing that little stick from gate to gate.

I don't hate SMG, I'm sure it has wonderful performance and is a marvelous piece of engineering, but I fail to see the point of it. F1 drivers NEED them because they are travelling at such high speeds they need their ease to concentrate on cornering and the performance because, well duh!

Jeremy Clarkson put it best: "Look at me! I've got one of them gearboxes from Michael Schumaker!"

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      11-16-2005, 01:29 PM   #12
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Where's the loss of control in SMG? No clutch-slipping? Who does that these days?

Besides, you can force the SMG to stay in whichever gear you'd like, unlike the automatic. You can even burn up your engine just like you would on a manual with SMG.

But of course, some people don't mind the rowing...or at least they'd rather row with an extra $2,000 in their wallets.
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      11-16-2005, 01:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squawks
Where's the loss of control in SMG? No clutch-slipping? Who does that these days?

Besides, you can force the SMG to stay in whichever gear you'd like, unlike the automatic. You can even burn up your engine just like you would on a manual with SMG.

But of course, some people don't mind the rowing...or at least they'd rather row with an extra $2,000 in their wallets.
Not about control, not about performance, not about money. It's just about pressing the clutch and rowing the gears trying to get a perfect shift every time. That's the only thing I thought was fun before I ever even drove a manual, heck before I ever even drove a car. I used to sit in my friend's car pressing the clutch rowing the shifter without a key in the ignition, I thought it was fun and I could do it sitting there in the sun like an idiot for quite a while.
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      11-16-2005, 04:29 PM   #14
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Maybe they should pull off an SMG tranny WITH the clutch - so that people who want to enable the traditional manual method can...or if they want the true-SMG type, they can disable the clutch and use it as a footrest.

I'm going to patent that idea.
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      11-16-2005, 06:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squawks
Maybe they should pull off an SMG tranny WITH the clutch - so that people who want to enable the traditional manual method can...or if they want the true-SMG type, they can disable the clutch and use it as a footrest.

I'm going to patent that idea.
Or, they can just keep the manual alive so people can choose whether they want SMG or manual.

I'm glad they are offering manual in USA for this M5, but from the looks of it this was an marketing after-thought, and it looks like BMW is looking to drop the manual tranny on their M models and eventually all models. Therefore by the time I can afford an M5 it will probably be SMG8 only or something like that, makes me sad to think about that. But who knows? Maybe I'll prefer SMG by then.
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      11-16-2005, 06:39 PM   #16
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as long as they keep improving SMG it may eventualy provide an acceptable transmission option
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      11-16-2005, 06:50 PM   #17
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I am seeing more and more manual die-hards going for the SMG, despite the technology still in its infancy.
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      11-16-2005, 11:28 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squawks
I am seeing more and more manual die-hards going for the SMG, despite the technology still in its infancy.
Quite a few "die-hards" are all about performance, therefore SMG provides a much better experience, eliminating stress in traffic while providing no loss in power from engine to transmission. I'm not a "die-hard", I just like to play with the clutch and shifter. One day I'll have to accept new technologies too, I just hope they will be able to give me something to play with.

I was just genuinely surprised that nobody was on this side of the argument, that liking manuals isn't always about performance.
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      11-16-2005, 11:40 PM   #19
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I think that it is precisely because in Europe manuals have been more popular that they have a predilection for SMG.

As Euros are used to and appreciate manuals, a much larger percentage of them will be tempted and convinced by the clutchless aspect of the SMG - it is being offered to them (packaging) as a manual without a clutch.


In NA, those of us who want manuals (we know who we are) have already made a choice NOT to get auto (which is default here as it were). The way the packaging of the SMG here is would force us to make a choice of giving in to a kind of automatic. The message here, that the SMG is a manual without a clutch is not clear, the sales guys mutter ''Oh yeah it is like an automatic but you can really shift on your own''....they do not have a clear positioning.

So since the manual driver in Europe is not, by definition, necessarily an enthusiast (even those who get the M5), but rather someone who drove manuals all their lives and appreciates them (nothing more) the Smg is an easier sell there. Here, we enthusiast define ourselves in part by the fact that we are ''hard core'' because we are mannual drivers and are therefore more conservative/resistant to change. I know that I am generalizing and that there are enthusiasts who do not drive manual etc. but you get my gist.
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      11-17-2005, 02:58 AM   #20
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LOL, good post. imo the way it is here. With SMG you can have dragstrip times(not my hobby anyway : ) which are faster than 99% of pro racecar drivers can achieve with manual transmissions. And downshifting as fast as hell.

And the most modern hi tech and fast(which is very important for performance cars like BMW)way to shift is this way: SMG or what they call it at Ferrari.
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      11-17-2005, 03:16 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmerista
I think that it is precisely because in Europe manuals have been more popular that they have a predilection for SMG.

As Euros are used to and appreciate manuals, a much larger percentage of them will be tempted and convinced by the clutchless aspect of the SMG - it is being offered to them (packaging) as a manual without a clutch.


In NA, those of us who want manuals (we know who we are) have already made a choice NOT to get auto (which is default here as it were). The way the packaging of the SMG here is would force us to make a choice of giving in to a kind of automatic. The message here, that the SMG is a manual without a clutch is not clear, the sales guys mutter ''Oh yeah it is like an automatic but you can really shift on your own''....they do not have a clear positioning.

So since the manual driver in Europe is not, by definition, necessarily an enthusiast (even those who get the M5), but rather someone who drove manuals all their lives and appreciates them (nothing more) the Smg is an easier sell there. Here, we enthusiast define ourselves in part by the fact that we are ''hard core'' because we are mannual drivers and are therefore more conservative/resistant to change. I know that I am generalizing and that there are enthusiasts who do not drive manual etc. but you get my gist.
That makes a lot of sense, thanks for the explanation.

I have been going off-topic, thanks for bringing things back onto my original question.
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      11-17-2005, 03:53 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squawks
Maybe they should pull off an SMG tranny WITH the clutch - so that people who want to enable the traditional manual method can...or if they want the true-SMG type, they can disable the clutch and use it as a footrest.

I'm going to patent that idea.
F1 cars used to have "semi manual" 'boxes like that, and IIRC a lot of old racing squential boxes worked in a similar fashion. It was difficult to operate even for racing drivers. The technology lived until late 90's, when the clutchless manual gearboxes were born.

I also agree that SMG's failure in America is a marketing mistake.
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