BMW M vice president Dirk Hacker told Autocar that market demand for driver-focused cars will ensure the manual remains an option.
“The M2 is tracking at 40-50% above our expectation in terms of sales, with almost half of buyers specifying a manual,” he told Autocar. “Demand for cars like the M2, which is probably our purest M product today, has surprised us, and that opens opportunities for building more extreme cars, in the vein of GTS and CSL heritage models.”
But at the same time, Hacker confirmed the M2 is likely to be the last M car offered with a manual gearbox.
“I like manual very much, but the take up rate from customers on cars other than the M2 is just going down. The fact is that a double clutch gearbox delivers better performance and efficiency.”
In our conversation with BMW M CEO Frank Van Meel also stated that the future of manuals is based upon the take rate, and so far, that’s only high within the M2 customer base and mostly in the US. If the rate continues to decline, which seems to be the trend across M products, the future of no-manual M cars is finally upon us.