I bought a manual 550i about three weeks ago. Previous car was an 05 Lexus and drove a 00 540i manual before that. This new 550i is awsome. I searched hard for a manual. Suddenly there were two and both were loaded with mile-high sticker prices. This is a dying breed. A compelling reason for choosing a 5 Series BMW over a similar sized Mercedes or Lexus is the availability of a V8 with a slick shifting 6 speed manual. I have only run up several hundred miles but it's obvious what a great piece of machinery it is. Oh, and all the negative iDrive hype is a total red herring. It is simple to learn and operate and very intuitive. My commute to work is suddenly a lot more interesting.
Smooth as silk V8; 6spd manual transmission; BMW's four year, 50K maintenance program; nav; heads up display; active steering; comfort access; push button start; 20 way adjustable, ventilated seats; park distance indicators; manual short shifter; exterior look of the aero package
Integrate rear view camera with nav; it is really hard to criticize anything at this stage; it's just a fantastic ride.