06.02.16 - 2016 BMW M6

It’s no secret that many automakers are working toward deleting manual transmissions from their lineup because of the dwindling demand for these transmissions. In some cases even the past couple years cars that have been offered with the manual transmission have seen a demand that has dropped to nonexistent and for good reason. With that in mind let’s look at what vehicles are phasing out the manual transmission and why it might not be a popular choice for some vehicles that are going to change to be automatic only in their offering.

BMW is a brand that comes to mind when we discuss the changes being made away from the manual transmission. The M5 is already dropping the manual for this year and will drop it in the M6 in the future. You may wonder why these models will no longer have the manual when all of the smaller counterparts in the lineup, the M2, M3 and M4 will have the manual still offered on them for the future, but not the larger models from BMW. What makes it so difficult to offer a manual transmission on these models going into the future and why won’t BMW keep them going?

First of all there has to be a demand for something to substantiate it continuing. The desire for a manual transmission on the M5 and M6 has dropped to zero which means we don’t need it at all. This low demand has a lot to do with what the customer who pay for these vehicles want to do when driving. While the idea of driving a sports oriented M5 or M6 is attractive to most, the actual act of shifting when driving isn’t that attractive. The automatic transmissions offered for these vehicles makes for a much better overall driving experience for those shopping in the six figure car price range.

Not only is the demand too low for a manual on these cars but the massive torque that comes from the 4.4-liter twin turbocharged V8 engine has a lot to do with the not making the manual for these cars. The horsepower is at 560 and the torque at 500 lb.-ft. which puts a huge strain on the transmission with a manual. A special engine controller was made for these two cars just to help preserve the transmission after manual shifts which will no longer be necessary.

Because the larger models are so much more powerful than the smaller counterparts the need to have this special engine controller in the smaller models has not presented itself thus far. “More power” is what we love to shout, but the reality is more power is harder on the transmission than less power, especially a manual one. Now that there is no need for a manual transmission in the M5 and M6 BMW is free to unleash the power it wants to under the hood of these two beauties to offer us the cars we want with as much as 600 horsepower and more torque pushed through the dynamic automatic transmissions we will now get to love even more.