BMW buyers who like to ‘row their own’ gears may be forced to look to other carmakers in the future, as the German company reportedly thinks the days of the manual transmission in its products are numbered.
Speaking with the UK’s Autocar, BMW M boss Frank van Meel said the manual transmission might not be long for this world.
The issue forcing the rethink in BMW is the pursuit of ever-improving acceleration times (to satisfy enthusiasts) while improving fuel consumption in their M models.
“From a technical standpoint, the future doesn’t look bright for manual gearboxes,” Mr van Meel said.
“The DCT and auto ’boxes are faster and they have better fuel consumption.”
Mr van Meel said both dual-clutch and ‘conventional’ automatics could be available in future BMW products, and that the “competition” between the two transmissions was healthy for development.
While the manual may be on thin ice, it hasn’t been shown the door by BMW just yet. In fact, Mr van Meel hinted that a boost in demand may save the enthusiast’s favourite.
"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,” Mr van Meel said.
The age-old question of ‘how much power is too much’ might have an answer, at least for now, with van Meel reportedly saying 600 BHP (448kW) is the limit for the current M range.
Mr van Meel said a boost in power beyond 600 BHP would “probably by over the limits” for BMW M’s current range, but didn’t mention if the same limit applied to the next generation of M cars.
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