The manual BMW’s days are numbered. BMW M’s head of development Dirk Hacker confirmed as much in an interview with Top Gear, saying the M2 will likely be the last car from the brand to offer a stick shift and three pedals.
“It’s not only a decision of BMW, it’s also a decision of the suppliers,” Hacker told Top Gear when asked whether the manual will die with the current M2. “If you take a look around, you will see the future for manual gearbox suppliers will decrease. So I’m not sure we will have the possibility in the future—but in the future means six, seven years in forecast.”
Other manufacturers are taking a different path, bringing the manual experience into the electric era using synthetic gear shifts and engine sounds. Toyota confirmed this morning it’s developing a performance EV with a manual transmission. But Hacker isn’t keen on the idea for BMW. “I think it could be done, but we will not do that,” he told Top Gear.
This news jibes with what BMW M boss Frank van Meel said at an event last year, where he confirmed BMW would offer the stick shift until the end of the decade. A BMW North America spokesperson declined to comment on Hacker’s plans, saying that the manual would continue to be offered on the current M2, M3, and M4.
Hacker also said the dual-clutch transmission is a thing of the past for BMW M cars, touting the superior performance found in the eight-speed torque converter automatic from ZF.
“The double clutch, from BMW M’s point of view these days, it’s gone,” he told Top Gear. “It’s now manual or automatic, and automatic electrified for the future . . . the automatic is better performing than the double clutch. In the M4 CSL it’s faster-shifting and on the other side, we also use this automatic in the new M4 GTR race car.”
Road & Track staff writer with a taste for high-mileage, rusted-out projects and amateur endurance racing.