There has never been a sedan as iconic as the BMW M5 so it was obvious that the 5th generation of the M5 was highly anticipated. BMW released the 2013 F10 M5 in late 2011 and it came standard with a new dual-clutch transmission highly improved compared to the outgoing SMG outfit.
However, many real car-heads in the North America waited anxiously for the announcement of the availability of the 6-speed manual transmission. As you remember, BMW tried to force us Americans into accepting the SMG E60 back in 2006. That experiment didn’t last long and BMW was forced to deliver a 6-speed option on the 2007-2010 E60 M5 and yours truly actually owns one of those.
Considering our love for a true 6-speed manual M5, BMW delivered a 2013 M5 6MT to AutoTalk as soon as one became available in their press fleet. We gladly accepted the keys to this new beast and were on our way to the drive of our lifetime.
The F10 M5 had huge shoes to fill considering the outgoing E60 M5’s rev-happy V10 produced 500 horses. BMW did it in style and fitted the F10 M5 with a 4.4 Turbocharged V8 that produced 560HP and 500lbft of torque. Having owned the E60 for a while, our biggest complaint was the lack of torque and the F10 M5 hit a home run with that. This makes the new M5 sprint from 0 to 60 in less than 4.3 seconds considering the driver knows how to drive.
There has long been an argument that the SMG and the DCT provide better shifts and quicker than a human can ever achieve. We don’t believe there is one person on this planet that will disagree with that claim. The real advantage to us is the experience that 3-pedal M5 provide and the control you feel. To be frank, the DCT is really for people who always wanted to drive an M5 but due to their lack of manual shifting capabilities were forced to drive a regular 5-series with the M-sport package. Introduction of SMG in E60 and DCT in the F10 M5 has really provided these folks access to the M5 and there is nothing wrong with that.
Comparing the F10 6MT to our E60, we quickly saw the major difference in torque that the twin chargers were providing. Turning the nanny-control off should be considered a suicide in this car but we still tried. Manual transmission cars are a dying breed so it is always refreshing to see a major performance car to get a new iteration of one. Considering we own an E60 6MT M5, the clutch feel was right at home.
With the F10 M5, BMW has introduced the rev-matching on the down shift which is really cool if you will. When you down shift from 3rd to 2nd, the engine will match the throttle and hence provide a perfectly smooth shifting experience.
As we try to keep the review focused on the Manual Transmission experience, we still have to mention this great powerplant that powers this uber sedan. The engine code named S63Tu is based on the S63 variant found in the X5M/X6M. It is an efficient design where the turbos are mounted inside the V and a massive cooling system tries to keep things at efficient temperatures. The result of all this is a 556HP and 550TQ monster that is able to provide all this at a 30% efficiency compared to the original S63 motor.
The interior of the new M5 is well laid out compared to the outgoing E60. It is very functional and really feels like it was well thought out. The main complaint on the 6MT E60 was that the manual transmission was an after thought and hence the shift lever just didn’t seem right. The F10’s manual transmission lever is well placed and you don’t hit the cell phone charger everytime you shift in 5th gear. It appears that BMW listened to its customer base and made sure that the interior feels more luxury than a race car’s cockpit.
The entertainment system is decent but if you opt for the Bang & Olufsen 12-speaker system then you will hear a major difference in the sound quality. That coupled with the iDrive and it makes this M5 a treat to drive. When you are driving a 560HP super sedan, it is logical that you don’t have to mess around with interior buttons and keep your focus on the road ahead. The new iDrive in the F10 M5 puts my E60 M5 to shame and renders it useless. Bravo to BMW for inventing iDrive in the first place and continuously improving it.
All in all, if you look at the competition, there is E63 from Mercedes-Benz and S6 from Audi but none come close to the mighty F10 M5. As an E60 M5 owner, we thought it would be very difficult for BMW’s M-division to come up with a car to outshine the E60, well they have not just outshone but totally destroyed the outgoing E60!