As BMW’s production models seem to inch ever more in the direction of “bloated and detached,” many fans undoubtedly look to the BMW M performance brand as the last bastion of sporty driving purity within the automaker.
Many fans, undoubtedly, will be disappointed to learn that even within the BMW M brand, the manual transmission may not be long for this world.
Citing a handful of statements from BMW M CEO Frank van Meel, the UK’s Autocar reports that a dwindling market share for the stick could conceivably render it unworthy of production in the near future. “From a technical standpoint, the future doesn’t look bright for manual gearboxes,” said van Meel. “The [dual-clutch] and [automatic gearboxes] are faster and they have better fuel consumption.”
But what about serving the BMW M brand’s more rabid, puritanical devotees? “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.”
Autocar also delivered another bit of bad news regarding horsepower; according to Mr. Frank van Meel, 600 HP may be the self-imposed maximum output for the BMW M car, at least for the time being. The executive said: “We’re at the limit. If you go on adding more horsepower and torque, it’d probably be over the limits.”
Whether the CEO is here referring to physical or ideological limits we will leave open to interpretation.