Like Mark Twain, reports of the demise of the manual transmission may be premature. But it’s increasingly looking like the stick shift is headed for life support, and BMW’s performance M sub-brand is reportedly ready to pull the plug.
The head of BMW M told Britain’s Autocar that future models may offer buyers a choice of only dual-clutch or automatic transmissions. That wouldn’t be out of line with broader trends, several other makers already reducing or eliminating manuals entirely. Meanwhile, M chief Frank van Meel also suggested that BMW may be ready to wave a white flag and opt out of the ever-escalating horsepower wars.
“From a technical standpoint, the future doesn’t look bright for manual gearboxes. The DCT and auto ’boxes are faster and they have better fuel consumption,” van Meel told AutoCar. But he added that while “difficult to say we’ll stick to the manual…we still have a big fan community for manuals and we are not going to take away something the customer wants to have.”