Time running out for manual transmissions at BMW
Time running out for manual transmissions at BMW

Time running out for manual transmissions at BMW

February 20, 2024


German carmaker BMW has sounded the death knell for manual transmissions, with a senior executive confirming its upcoming models will go automatic-only due to low demand.

Speaking to Italian publication Quattroruote, BMW board member Frank Weber said “it’s over” when talking about the future of manual transmissions, despite the brand currently offering the option of three pedals in certain high-performance models.

“There are fun products, but let’s be honest, the volumes are getting smaller and smaller. And so it doesn’t make sense to develop them anymore,” Mr Weber told Quattroruote

“If you want a manual M, you need to buy it now.”

At present, BMW only offers a six-speed manual transmission in the M2, M3 and M4 performance models in Australia, while the recently revealed Z4 M40i Pure Impulse has provided the option for its roadster – but this model won’t be sold locally.

While the manual BMW M2 accounts for more than half of the model’s sales in the US, less than one-third of Australian buyers opted for the three-pedal coupe in 2023, with 71 per cent ordering the eight-speed automatic – available for no extra cost.

It’s even rarer to find a manual BMW M3 or M4, with the ‘row-your-own’ gearbox accounting for just five and four per cent of last year’s sales for the respective models – in part due to the higher-specced Competition and CS variants exclusively being sold with automatic transmissions.

As previously reported, BMW is expected to continue offering the three M performance models with manual transmissions until the end of their respective lifecycles – expected to be 2028 for the M3 and M4, and 2030 for the M2 which launched in 2022.

BMW’s decision to not introduce any new manual models coincides with its plans for all new M vehicles to be hybrid or fully electric, which began with the XM plug-in hybrid twin-turbo V8 SUV.

MORE: Everything BMW


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