BMW M Cars May Lose Manuals in the Future
In past decades, even the best automatic transmissions were not nearly as “good” as a manual in the hands of a skilled shifter. The manual simply afforded faster and more precise shifts. But today, that’s not the case, and the performance car brands have taken notice.
In a recent interview with the UK’s Autocar, BMW M Division boss Frank van Meel spoke to the impressive performance of BMW’s quick-shifting dual-clutch automatic transmissions and highlighted their future in upcoming BMW M cars. However, he noted the manual gearbox may not have such a bright outlook. “From a technical standpoint, the future doesn’t look bright for manual gearboxes,” notes van Meel. “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.”
That comes as somewhat inevitable news for the dedicated self-shifter. Today, manual transmission offerings continue to slowly disappear from car models across the market, with lower sales volumes a leading contributor to much of the decline. Van Meel also continued on a different subject–horsepower. He confirmed that BMW M cars will go forward with a cap on overall horsepower, though it isn’t exactly a small figure. “For now, 600 horsepower is the most you can get in an M car. We’re at the limit. If you go on adding more horsepower and torque, it’d probably be over the limits.” The current BMW M5 and M6 currently top out a little under that figure, powered by the brand’s twin turbocharged 4.4-liter V8, generating 560 horsepower. The X5 and X6 M SUVs bring forth 575 horsepower.
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