BMW M Boss Says Manual Transmissions Will Stick Around til 2030



Photo: BMW

BMW recently revealed the all-new, second-generation M2, and one of the biggest highlights is the fact that it will offer a manual transmission. That’s no fluke — in a recent interview, the boss of BMW’s M division says the stick-shift will be around for some time to come. Rejoice!

During an interview with CarBuzz at the BMW M Festival in South Africa, BMW M Boss Frank van Meel said that manual transmissions in M cars will be here for a few more years, at least.

“The manual is, unfortunately, not so widespread anymore. It’s more in the segments of the M2 and M3, and the M4. And for those cars, we continue offering the manual, and those cars will run for a long time until the end of this decade,” van Meel told CarBuzz.

“You don’t need to be afraid of the manual going away,” van Meel said.

Photo: BMW

This commitment from van Meel indicates that stick-shift BMWs will be around until 2030 — the M2 was just revealed, and most BMW M models stick around for roughly 8 years before they get a complete redesign. (By this standard, the current M3 and M4 will stick around until roughly 2028.)

Of course, a lot could happen between now and 2030 — regulatory hiccups, supply-chain disruptions, an executive’s change of heart. But according to van Meel, none of those issues will be what decides the fate of the manual-transmission M car. It all comes down to customer demand. If you people keep buying them, BMW will keep making them.

BMW is apparently also aware of the whole “save the manuals” movement that’s been popping up online and in company surveys. CarBuzz also spoke with Timo Resch, vice president of customer, brand, and sales for BMW M, who recounted a conversation with BMW engineers.

“It’s not as fast as an automatic transmission,” the engineers said to Resch, “so why would you need it? We said, that’s what our customers asked for. And we really actively listened to our customers, to our fan base. The fans asked for it. They got it.”

Photo: BMW

The M2 is slated to be the last non-hybrid, non-electric M car. But when that shift happens, BMW plans to position its hybrid M cars at a higher level of the automotive spectrum.

“A plug-in hybrid in a small car might be a difficult issue because plug-in hybrids need to have sufficient power, even if the electric part is not available,” van Meel said. “If your base engine is not strong enough, then a plug-in hybrid makes no sense.”

Eventually, the inevitable will happen when M goes all-electric, but that’s still a ways away. Enjoy the good times now, because they won’t be around forever.

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