Charl Bosch
Online Motoring Reporter
2 minute read
26 Jul 2019
9:27 am

BMW M boss confirms next M3 will have a manual gearbox

Charl Bosch

The recently appointed new Head of BMW’s M division has laid concerns about the lack of a manual gearbox in the forthcoming M3 to rest, saying that a three-pedal layout will feature when it goes on sale next year.

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.

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