Manual transmissions are a sensible subject for automotive purists. They are highly praised for giving the driver the opportunity to be one with the car, to be in the middle of the action and control it as you wish. Manuals are linked to driving sensations and performance models. So, given the client demand for this transmission, the future BMW M2, M3 and M4 generations will also offer the choice of a manual gearbox.
According to BMW M CEO Markus Flasch, the manual gearbox should no longer be seen as an entry-level option. Moreso, the company wants to really position the manual as sort of an exquisite, optional equipment.
“The manual stick shift is not an entry proposition any more. It used to be the entry transmission then on top of that you’d have the automatic or a sequential gearbox or whatever. Today, it’s different. Today the standard is the automatic and the manual is for the enthusiast,” Flasch is quoted.
BMW M has sensed the opportunity of keeping alive the manual gearbox as long as the enthusiast customer base demands it. The M2 – M3 – M4 trio already offers the choice of a 6-speed manual transmission and this will hold true for the future generations as well. The new M3 and M4, with their visually imposing, gargantuan kidney grille, will probably arrive on the market in 2021. Some suggest that they could even offer the choice of “Pure” sporting RWD and manual transmission.
On the other hand, the future M2 will probably be out by 2023 – 2024.
Furthermore, Markus Flasch highlighted the decision to keep manuals in the model offer was related to US soil: “We’ve made a conscious decision (with M3 and M4) to continue (to offer manuals) and the market that pushed us very hard to do so was the United States.”
BMW M boss further noted that, even if the manual transmission has its limitations, it adds more character to a car and that is what enthusiast clients ultimately need. The decision to keep the manuals in business and add them to future M2, M3 and M4 generations also has to do with the company’s latest strategy, which is steered towards what is called ” the transformation of the M”.
Apart from the manual transmission, in the future, BMW M will also concentrate on further diversifying its range of models, in an effort to fill up any niche in the world of high-performance motoring (Competition, CS, CSL and who knows what else they have in store for us).
Speaking of the M5 and the upcoming M5 CS scheduled for launch in 2020, Flasch concluded: “Nobody asks for a manual in an M5. I’m producing cars for our customers and (they have) a very, very clear opinion of what they want to see.”