BMW has revealed that the next-generation BMW M5 and M6 will no longer offer a six-speed manual transmission once production for the current models ends this year. Speaking to Car and Driver, BMW M GmbH chief Frank van Meel said that customers have moved on to the seven-speed M Double Clutch automatic option instead.

“Demand had dropped to zero,” the BMW M boss explained. Developed specifically for the US market, it is said that the six-speed manual required significant cost and effort to produce, given that it requires special reprogramming of the engine controller to cope with the 4.4 litre turbo V8 engine’s high torque output. Note, however, that both the M5 and M6 have been auto-only models outside of the US for two generations now.

While proper drivers may fancy the six-speed manual transmission for precise control over their vehicles, it’s no secret that BMW’s seven-speed dual-clutch is the slightly faster option for the M5 and M6. Despite weighing 15 kg more than the manual, the M5 with a dual-clutch auto goes from zero to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds. A manual-equipped version performs the century sprint in 4.3 seconds.

But while the M5 and M6 lose out on the manual option, van Meel confirmed that its smaller M models will continue to offer it. “On M2, M3 and M4, the manual transmission will stay,” he said, much to the delight of the enthusiasts crowd, we’re sure. The BMW chief explained that there’s still a high enough demand there to maintain its availability.


GALLERY: F06 BMW M6 Gran Coupe