The gradual switch to electric cars comes along with more hybrids and fewer models equipped with manual transmissions. When everything is going to be electric, there will be no more clutch pedals. That day hasn’t come yet, and enthusiasts can take comfort from knowing BMW M intends to keep the 6MT alive until the end of the decade.
In an interview at the BMW M Festival in South Africa, BMW M CEO Frank van Meel was asked about the fate of the ol’ stick shift. He admitted the manual is a dying breed, but still makes sense in the M2 and M3/M4 segments. He went on to say that for those three cars, you’ll still be able to row your own gears until around 2030. The DIY gearbox won’t be discontinued in this timeframe, just as long there is enough customer demand.
His sentiments were echoed by Timo Resch, BMW M’s Vice President Customer, Brand, Sales. He said the interest in manual gearboxes the Munich-based is enjoying remains strong. So much so that people are signing online petitions to keep the three-pedal setup in performance cars. Even though engineers have told company higher-ups an automatic is objectively quicker, Resch insisted a manual must still be offered because that’s what customers want.
Looking at BMW’s lineup, the larger M3 and M4 are likely to lose the manual transmission first. It is believed the sports sedan will remain in production until June 2027 while the coupe will follow suit a year later. As for the recently unveiled M2, it’ll likely be manufactured until July 2029, which falls in line with Frank van Meel’s statement.
As previously reported, the next M2 arriving in the 2030s is widely believed to not only lose the manual gearbox, but also the combustion engine altogether. The smallest BMW M car is set to go purely electric and could follow larger zero-emission M models arriving until then. Indeed, the next M3 is expected to ride on the Neue Klasse Platform and therefore become a sporty EV.
Meanwhile, BMW M intends to retain the inline-six and V8 engines until 2030, so there’s still plenty of time to buy an “old school” M car.