From entry level equipment to purist only models, BMW says manuals are here to stay but…

There used to be a time where manual transmissions were only reserved for entry level models; with automatic and dual clutch gearboxes available for the higher-end variants of a particular car.

Speaking to CarAdvice, BMW M division CEO Markus Flasch says this perception and approach is set to change with BMW’s “new M strategy”.

On that note, it’s said that the “pure M models” such as the upcoming BMW M3 and M4 will continue to be offered with manual transmissions as a “flagship option”.

This approach is similar to that of Porsche’s – with manual transmissions only available for its “hotter” 911 models such as the 911 T, 911 GT3 Touring Package and the 911 R.

A spyshot of the next generation BMW M3.

Markus claimed that while the manual transmissions may not translate to faster shift/lap times, there are advantages such as weight, character and visceral effect to the driving experience.

Citing huge demand from the USA as the largest motivation for BMW to continue producing manual transmissions, Markus did highlight that the ‘traditional mode gear changing” will not be carried over to the facelift M5 and the M5 CS due to a lack of interest.

The F10 BMW M5 was the last of the “large saloon supercars” to come with a manual gearbox.

Whether this will pan out the way BMW hopes and follow suit the successes of Porsche’s manual-only models remains to be seen but it’s worth noting that none of the BMW M3 and M4’s rivals such as the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S aren’t available with manual gearboxes.

Could this help with the appeal of the said models? Perhaps even their long term resale value? Judging from the current situation, it does seem that way.


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