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BMW M chief signals the manual gearbox’s demise

Snapshot: The head of BMW’s M division has shed some light regarding the future of fully-fledged M models.

It’s a known fact that full-blown sportscars car nowadays mostly come with automatic transmissions as more and more customers are starting to avoid manuals, even though purists will say that a car is way more fun when you change gears on your own. In the following years, BMW will start to phase out the manual gearbox entirely because there is not enough demand to justify keeping it alive on the long run.

However, BMW M’s boss Frank van Meel says that won’t happen right away as there are still enough people that buy manual M models although sooner or later this type of transmission will be phased out because the company’s dual clutch and automatic gearboxes are not only quicker, but also grant the vehicles with lower emissions and fuel consumption.

Van Meel went on to specify that 600 bhp is currently the maximum limit of a fully-fledged M model and going over this mark would be over the limits. In other words, squeezing more power would probably have a negative effect on the car’s reliability. 600 bhp is available right now in the BMW M6 lineup fitted with the optional Competition Package and recently there was also a limited-run M5 30 Jahre M5 special edition packing the same punch, with all these cars sharing a twin-turbo V8 4.4-liter engine.

An all-new M5 to replace the current model is already in the works and based on van Meel’s statements it will probably be capped at 600 bhp, but don’t be disappointed as the next generation of the mid-size sedan is expected to shed some serious weight so it will be quicker even though power will remain the same. Interestingly, rear-wheel drive will be standard but some reports are indicating the availability of an optional xDrive all-wheel drive system.

Until an M5 successor, BMW is putting the finishing touches on the first ever M2 Coupe set to come out later this year and likely offered only with a six-speed manual transmission.

Source: Autocar

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