BMW previously confirmed that the 3 Series would abandon the manual transmission for the U.S. market, leaving many enthusiasts livid. Then there was talk that the M3 might abandon rear-wheel drive entirely, as the new car’s eight-speed gearbox was designed to work with the modern xDrive system.
However, there may still be hope for a manual option. The brand has allegedly not made up its mind on the matter, at least as far as the M3 is concerned. Still, it remains a pretty slim prospect, as BMW has admitted that manual sales are on a rapid decline and don’t really make it a lot of money.
While any hopes of seeing a traditional stick in the rest of the 3 Series have been dashed, autofreaksafrica reports that the next M3/M4 might still get them. According to unknown sources from within the company, BMW has not made up its mind on whether the manual should get the axe. However, that’s not exactly any kind of assurance it’ll be available on the next generation M cars.
BMW is also trying to figure out whether the car offered should be all-wheel drive or remain RWD as tradition dictates. At the moment, all possibilities are taken into account in meetings in Munich but if a manual choice is to be offered, chances are it won’t be with the M xDrive system as that’s made to work with the ZF 8-speed gearbox. Creating an all-wheel drive system from scratch to work with a manual gearbox might be too costly to develop and may take too long in the development process.
The outlet also speculated that an easy solution to the rear-drive issue would be to offer an electronic drift mode that sends most of the power to the aft of the vehicle. If that ends up being the case, there would be little sense in developing an archaic substitute for the automatic transmission. The next-gen M3 is scheduled to launch in 2020, with an unknown setup. We’d advise you to hold out hopes — but not your breath — on BMW delivering a version that includes a clutch pedal.