BMW Blog publishes an interesting review of the 2013 BMW M5 with manual transmission. They took the vehicle to Laguna Seca with fun and performance in mind. See why they were impressed on the review excerpt below:

The DCT equipped M5 shrinks around you the moment you unleash it, shrinking further and further around you as you continue to lap, until it seems you’re in the cockpit of an M3. The manual M5 takes this illusion to David Copperfield levels. Focus on your line, dial in more throttle, more brakes, more apex speed, and soon you’ll feel like you’re piloting a 1M. The extra driver involvement brings back the old-time romance, the gentleman’s racer, the gratification of nailing a fast lap with all four limbs in play.

The six-speed manual is precise and pleasantly notchy through all six cogs, the shift throw feels good, and the ratios feel about right – each of them making the most of the M5′s massive power. Clutch resistance is light to my taste, particularly in a car of such sporting intentions – but when turning in quick laps, you quickly forget about such tactile tastes and get on with the job using what you’ve got. It works, and well.

Of significant importance: the pedals are placed perfectly for heel-and-toe downshifts – you can heel-and-toe all day long without spraining a hip. Special mention goes to BMW’s standard floor-hinged throttle pedal – it makes quick work of a throttle blip with great ergonomics.

Lap after lap, the M5 felt great, planted, fast. It felt natural to be rowing its gears, and what I traded in driftability, cool noises, and faster shifts, I gained in driver involvement and feel. I suppose, in a ‘fun-factor’, it’s a wash.

The manual, on the other hand, has no such egotistical dilemmas attached. Like in any manual, you shift when it feels right to shift, and you predominately make that judgment based on sound. Hence, you tend to drive the car a bit more, even around town, because you’re always revving a little higher through each gear. In some way, it makes for a more exciting car. Yes, your fuel economy suffers, but if you are concerned about fuel economy whilst driving an M5, you have clearly made a poor purchase decision. Find yourself an M550d and learn how to drift.

Like on the racetrack, the manual M5 feels exciting and engaged while carving up back roads. But when the fun is over and it’s time for simple transportation, the manual M5 feels awfully out of sorts. After switching the steering feel, suspension damping and throttle response to their comfort settings, the supple luxury, quiet interior and soft ride felt at odds with the manual gear change. No matter how gently and smoothly I rolled on the throttle and released the clutch, I could never match the near-imperceptible, automatic-like shift change of the DCT.