You need an automatic transmission to extract every last drop of performance from a sports car. However, enthusiasts agree that rowing your own gears is more fun. BMW knows that, and it might try to save the stick shift in the electric era. M boss Frank van Meel told Top Gear magazine the engineers have been tinkering with simulated gearboxes.

Interestingly, BMW M has been investigating artificial transmissions for several years already and it apparently has come up with “very interesting approaches.” The mayor of M Town praised Hyundai for implementing emulated gear changes in the Ioniq 5 N. Frank van Meel also had positive things to say about the hot electric crossover’s fake engine noises. The M branch is working on both “features” since they’re apparently necessary.

“In a pure EV with one gear, no sound, and no emotion, you don’t know if you’re doing 125, 150, or whatever. You need a solution for that. You have to find a connection to the brain of the driver, without forcing you to look at your speedometer.”

The man in charge of the M division likes the way Hyundai thinks while M development boss Dirk Häcker called the Ioniq 5 N a “very interesting” EV. It goes to show how the times have changed when in 2024 an electric crossover from Hyundai gets praise words from BMW M. Then again, the driving force behind Hyundai N was none other than Albert Biermann, the former M boss. You could say it’s an ironic twist of events.

The two higher-ups from M didn’t specify which models could get artificial gear changes. However, we do know the first full-fat M electric car will be a sports sedan akin to the M3. It’s expected to land around 2027 with roughly 700 horsepower and rear-wheel drive. Unlike today’s CLAR-based hot EVs, it’ll be underpinned by the Neue Klasse platform. The architecture is being developed exclusively for electric cars. Today’s EVs from Munich have their roots in cars that use combustion engines.

Source: Top Gear