Get your name down for one ASAP.
The next-generation BMW M3 and M4 are almost upon us and the details are starting to become clear. Both cars will be powered by a new 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six, which is the same mill found in the X3 M and X4 M. Base models are expected to produce 473 horsepower while the more potent Competition models should produce 503 hp going out to a performance all-wheel-drive system with the ability to become rear-wheel-drive at the press of a button.
All of these details sound great but there has been one nagging question leading up to the official reveal - will BMW continue to offer the M3 and M4 with a manual transmission? All of the rumors have pointed to the inclusion of a manual option but so far, it has all been pure conjecture... until now.
Speaking with the CEO of BMW M, Markus Flasch, BMW Blog asked if the upcoming M3 and M4 would be offered with a manual transmission option. The speculation can finally be put to rest because Flasch confirmed both cars will have a row-your-own-gears option.
"It's a bit early to disclose all the details but something I want to highlight is that we will have a manual stick shift," Flasch said. "We have already disclosed we will have the option of four-wheel-drive. We've not decided which variant, which system, but everything that's on our current lineup - think of the M5 - can be made available. The M3 and M4, I've driven the pre-production cars already and they're fantastic."
Flasch did not say which level of output would include a manual transmission option, so the stick may only be available on the base models. This is perfectly fine because the manual won't be the performance option anyway. "Manual is very important," Flasch said. "The manual stick shift is not a performance-bringer, because an automatic transmission is just faster, you can ask any race driver. But it gives the vehicle character and I kind of compare it to people who love mechanical watches - it isn't more precise and it doesn't have any advantage at all but it's a character feature. So is a stick shift. "
So there you have it, enthusiasts have cried out for a manual transmission and BMW has answered the call. Now, those same enthusiasts need to put their money where their mouth is and buy one, or else the manual will eventually die off. Unless Cadillac comes through on the rumored CT5 Blackwing, the M3 and M4 will be the only cars in their segment with a manual option.