Future BMW M Cars May Not Have Manuals

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole
future bmw m cars may not have manuals

New BMW M boss Frank van Meel says buyers may still have a choice between two transmissions, just between two types of automatics.

Talking to Autocar, van Meel said: “From a technical standpoint, the future doesn’t look bright for manual gearboxes.”

So goes another nail into the coffin.

Van Meel makes the same argument engineers have been making for a decade or more.

“The DCT and auto ’boxes are faster and they have better fuel consumption,” he said.

Van Meel doesn’t directly kill the manual, however. He told Autocar BMW would still offer manual versions if buyers demanded it. The last generation M3’s manual take rate was around 45 percent. We’ve reached out to BMW to see how many new M car buyers opt to row their own.

As an interesting side note, the online configurator for BMW automatically selects the dual-clutch automatic transmission, a $2,900 option, for M cars with an available manual. Only the X6 M and X5 M do not have an available manual transmission in the U.S.

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  • Add Lightness Add Lightness on Jul 06, 2015

    On the EPA website for fuel consumption, the real world feedback almost always shows superior consumption figires for 3 pedal cars. Autos are programed to game the test.

  • Z9 Z9 on Jul 07, 2015

    Apropos of nothing, my parents owned a 1973 BMW Bavaria with automatic transmission that actually said "AUTOMATIC" on the back, the way a current BMW might advertise its all-wheel-drive capability.

  • Brock_Landers Brock_Landers on Jul 07, 2015

    I think it has to do a lot with weight of the modern car. Heavy car with a manual transmission is a strange thing to drive (even one with a big engine). Weight reduces the feel that you get from the engine through the gearbox. Modern heavy cars are too muted - in feeling wise. Manual transmission makes sense when you can feel/hear everything - the engine vibrations, higher revs, noises from the gearbox, engine etc - with your butt, hands, feet - through the seat, pedals, steering wheel, gear lever. Modern sound insulation with heavy weight mutes everything.

    • RideHeight RideHeight on Jul 07, 2015

      Interesting point. It's a lot like human obesity damping every rewarding feedback from activity. So just stay seated and open another bag of Doritos.

  • Sloomis Sloomis on Jul 07, 2015

    What's the point of a BMW or any other sporty car without a manual? Who cares if modern automatics shave a second of 0-60 times? You're still just driving a glorified Buick without the manual.

    • TMA1 TMA1 on Jul 07, 2015

      Except Buick makes an effort to push manual transmissions in its sedans.