In an interview with the BMW Blog, Markus Flasch, when asked if any surprises are install for the G80 M3, said that a manual ‘box remains key to the character of any M car despite the obvious advantages of an automatic.
“Manual is very important. The manual stick shift is not a performance-bringer, because an automatic transmission is just faster, you can ask any race driver. But it gives the vehicle character and I kind of compare it to people who love mechanical watches; it isn’t more precise and it doesn’t have any advantage at all but it’s a character feature. So is a stick shift,” Flasch said.
While a report from the United Kingdom earlier this year claimed that the M3 will be offered in a choice of three distinct models with rear-and-four-wheel-drive, Flasch stated that while the latter configuration will indeed form part of the line-up, “we’ve not decided which variant, which system, but everything that’s on our current line-up; think of the M5; can be made available”.
Speculation is that the three-model M3 range will be made-up of the rear-wheel-drive Pure equipped solely with the manual ‘box, the standard M3 utilising the M5’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system hooked to an eight-speed Steptronic gearbox, and the Competition that will use the same drivetrain.
Reaffirming comments made last month, Flasch stated that electrification will feature prominently in the next generation of M-cars, saying that “we need to do something [with new] propulsion technology”.
“Which configuration we’ll carry onto a series production car is to be determined. We don’t have to be the first [in terms of electrification], to run after technology for the purpose of technology, we’ve given a commitment to, and have a heritage of, performance; race track ability and precision; but not just longitudinal performance,” he said.
“We’re definitely technology-open, we look at all variants of electrification; 48-volt, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles. The critical thing about it is just to make sure each technology is only applied to the car as soon as it deserves the badge; as soon as it stands up to expectation of the customer”.
Based on reports, the M3/M4 will join the X3 and X4 M in receiving the new S58 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged straight-six engine that will produce 353 kW, while the Competition is set to deliver 373 kW. At present though, these claims have not been confirmed.