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BMW M Boss: Future of Manual Transmission M Cars is Uncertain

Sometime in the past 5 years, a subtle countdown to the end of the manual transmission began. Recently, that counter’s sped up as more manufacturers decide to slowly phase out manuals in favor of faster and more efficient automatic and dual clutch transmissions.

In 2013, one of the largest hits to the manual transmission was when Porsche announced that the new 991 Turbo, GT3 and GT3 RS (in 2015) would both exclusively come with a dual clutch (PDK) transmission with no option for a manual. In the eyes of most enthusiasts, this was heresy. The sportiest of the Porsche 911’s would come only in automatic? Surely the rest of the industry would fill this gap.

Nope. That same year the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S and all of Lamborghini’s models did away with the third pedal too, and unfortunately as time goes on, other manufacturers are leaning towards that same trend.

Today, BMW M division boss Frank van Meel told Autocar UK that the future of manual transmissions in BMW M cars doesn’t look bright. This news doesn’t really align with what lots of enthusiasts, especially North American BMW M enthusiasts, want to hear since the F10 M5 was exclusively brought to the United States with the option to have a manual transmission by popular demand; this was pretty much unheard of, since the US market rarely gets European cars with options that are not available in Europe.

F10 M5 Manual - 2Regarding the future of manuals and BMW M, Van Meel said:

From a technical standpoint, the future doesn’t look bright for manual gearboxes. The DCT and auto boxes are faster and they have better fuel consumption.

It’s difficult to say we’ll stick to the manual, but we still have a big fan community for manuals and we are not going to take away something the customer wants to have.

He also went on to say that 600hp is the current limit on a BMW M car’s engine output, and adding any additional horsepower or torque would “probably be over the limits”. One can only wonder if BMW will start putting more of an effort into weight reduction as a whole, considering their latest developments with mass producing carbon fiber with the i series.

If all else fails, the folks over at AMG are still cranking out cars with over 600hp, just make sure it says “V12 Biturbo” on the side fender.

Photo credit: Autocar,

The opinions of the author in this post do not reflect the views of Velocity Crew. 

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