While attending North America’s first-ever M Festival at the Canadian Tire and Motorsport Park, our own Nico DeMattia sat down with the new CEO of BMW M, Markus Flasch, to talk about the state of affairs at M. Among many topics, Herr Flasch spoke briefly about the upcoming BMW M3 and M4. (Full interview here)

Without divulging many of the cars’ secrets – some of them already known to us – the M boss did confirm two things for us. Firstly, the G80 M3 and G82 M4 will have an all-wheel drive configuration, and secondly, there will be a manual transmission for the two cars.

“[]it’s a bit early to disclose all the details but something I want to highlight is that we will have a manual stick shift,” Flasch told us. “We have already disclosed we will have the option of four-wheel drive. We’ve not decided which variant, which system, but everything that’s on our current lineup; think of the M5; can be made available. The M3 and M4, I’ve driven the pre-production cars already and they’re fantastic.”

Furthermore, the new M Boss is a true car enthusiast, therefore, the manuals could be saved under his reign.

“Manual is very important,” added Flasch. “The manual stick shift is not a performance-bringer, because an automatic transmission is just faster, you can ask any race driver. But it gives the vehicle character and I kind of compare it to people who love mechanical watches; it isn’t more precise and it doesn’t have any advantage at all but it’s a character feature. So is a stick shift. ”

The G80 M3 won’t make its official debut until mid-2020, which means it will go on sale as a 2021 model, but when it does, it will be powered by the new S58 engine with 473 hp as-standard. There will also be a competition model available at launch and that will pack the same engine but with 503 hp.

This new BMW M3 will also be the first M3 in history to power all four wheels. According to our sources, there will be two models; a rear-wheel drive model and an all-wheel drive model; marking another first for the famed performance model. The rear-drive M3 will be available with either a manual gearbox or an eight-speed automatic, while the all-wheel drive car will be automatic only.

As for the M3 Competition, it will only be all-wheel drive and automatic.