You better act fast if you want a new car with a manual – especially a BMW. In an interview with Italian-language magazine Quattroruote, Frank Weber, a BMW board member, said the days of row-your-own BMW manual transmissions are numbered.
“It’s over,” Weber told the Italian outlet. The future of all BMW M cars will be automatic-only eventually, and there are a few reasons for this bummer of a development. As you may have guessed, it has to do with money and demand. BMW’s customers are springing for automatics far more often than manuals, meaning manuals are relegated to small niches, and Quattroruote asserts the numbers just do not justify their development. It’s a damn shame.
“They 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,” Weber told Quattroruote. “If you want a manual M, you need to buy it now.”
From the looks of it, BMW buyers are taking Weber’s advice. In January, we reported that 6-speeds made up over half of all BMW M2 sales in 2023. It brings a tear to my eye. Imagine if BMW had put a really good manual in the M2. That would be quite a car.
Right now, the only BMW M cars you can get with a manual in the U.S. are the M2, M3 and M4. The BMW Z4, my beloved, is also getting a manual transmission because it’s what we as a society deserve. American car enthusiasts want manuals, dammit!
Here’s more from Weber and Quattroruote. (Please keep in mind this is translated from eye-talian)
“Take the M5, for example – Weber explained to us, referring to a question from Quattrouote relating to the success of the M3 Touring, which sold three times more than expected, leading the M department to also think about a new generation of the M5 wagon – : we have customers who travel 25-30 thousand kilometers a year and don’t want to stand in traffic changing gear.”
There will therefore not be room for versions with manual transmission not even for niche models such as those in the M department.
This despite the fact that in some markets it is still requested: a paradoxical example is the American one, historically linked to automatics, where customers have been clamoring for versions with clutch pedal, with BMW having satisfied them with the new manual Z4.
So folks, the message is clear: if you want a BMW with a manual transmission, you better get ‘em before they’re gone.