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Review: M5's SMG "sucks all the joy" from experience

by Nick Aziz

You don't have to look far to find an automotive columnist gushing over the new BMW M5. The V10 Bimmer is a favorite among journalists and auto enthusiasts alike. But Detroit Free Press columnist Mark Phelan attempts to see past the hype, and offers some harsh criticism of some aspects of the car. The new performance sedan is "cursed with a new-fangled technology that sucks all the joy from driving the marvelous machine," writes Phelan. "The M5's clunky seven-speed transmission makes the car downright annoying," he claims. "The mechanism in the M5's transmission, however, is a poor compromise that offers neither the smoothness of a good automatic nor the crisp, controlled feeling of a manual. [...] The car lagged noticeably when one gear disengaged and lurched forward when the next gear took hold. [...] Call me crazy, but I don't think that's what BMW was going for, or what its buyers pay 90-grand to experience."