Currently reading: Future for manual BMW M cars 'not bright'
New BMW M boss Frank van Meel says automatic transmissions and power outputs capped at 600bhp are the future of the performance brand
Doug Revolta Autocar
1 min read
6 July 2015

BMW's M cars could become automatic only and are unlikely to get more than 600bhp.

BMW M boss Frank van Meel says competition between the DCT dual-clutch and automatic gearboxes is good for the brand and both ’boxes have a future.

However, manual gearboxes could become a thing of the past for M cars because of declining sales figures.

Van Meel said: “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.

"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.”

Van Meel also said 600bhp is the current limit of an M car’s capability. “For now, 600bhp is the most you can get in an M car,” he said.

“We’re at the limit. If you go on adding more horsepower and torque, it’d probably be over the limits.”

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Say goodbye to the manual gearbox

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6 July 2015
This article has said precisely nothing. Autos and automanuals are in and manuals are out except we will keep selling manuals. Power is capped at 600bhp for now, which means in 5 years they won't be.

6 July 2015
winniethewoo wrote:

This article has said precisely nothing. Autos and automanuals are in and manuals are out except we will keep selling manuals. Power is capped at 600bhp for now, which means in 5 years they won't be.

On any Public Highway there are limits,they are not advisory,they are telling you that is as fast as you are supposed to go,having cars that can top 200mph have to do the same as the rest of us,good brakes,rapid gear changes are good,i mean,how fast do you need to get somewhere?,why not leave a bit earlier and relax,cut the stress down,if you want to go fast,go to a track event,find a bit of runway to see how big your dangly bits are,do fast cars sell more Cars?.......i'm not so sure.

6 July 2015
Autocar. If you are looking for a cause, for God's sake, this is it.

6 July 2015
Much of the world learns to drive in an Automatic. Most of them have never driven a manual. So its easy to understand why when someone has the cash to buy a car with a posh badge they want something they dont look like an idiot trying to drive..... But that doesnt mean an auto is most fun. They may be quicker, who cares, its not as if manual M cars have ever been slow......We all know that BMW gave in to the Stick shift enthusiasts in the States and gave them the manual M5 and M6 they wanted, even if they wouldnt let us have them.....Those of us who drive manuals may be slowly dying off, but I for one wont be giving up the clutch pedal and gear stick until i am forced to drive something electric. I would never consider a M car with an auto box, and i know i am not alone.

6 July 2015
Even if you buy a BMW manual going forward you will still have a load of electronics spoiling the involvement. I was recently driving the Mrs' F55 Mini Cooper 5dr. I was just baffled that I could not get a decent smooth heel and toe down change. Then I realised why. It was because the car was already blipping the throttle for me. By blipping the throttle myself as well I was causing it to over rev and therefore progress was not smooth. I simply could not believe that the satisfaction of executing a perfect down change had been robbed from me because the hardest part was being done for me by a computer. Guess we all just have to get used to the fact that one way or another driver involvement is a thing of the past. It why I am falling out of love with cars and love riding bikes more and more.

6 July 2015
oaffie is completely correct, but I have absolutely no idea why Autocar needs to be so resigned to this sad fate. They seem to see themselves as commentators on an inevitablity rather than campaigners for what they believe in.

It is akin to a magazine specialising in pianos pontificating on the merits of electronically controlled foot peddles which never make a mistake. It just wouldn't happen.

6 July 2015
@eseaton, I like that piano analogy! Whilst I am a convert to DSG, and the M-cars are beyond my budget and level of performance interest, I nevertheless do enjoy a manual (if the gear change quality is good!) on the right road. The reality for me is that DSG satisfies in its own unique way, and answers most of my motoring desires most of the time on the roads I use. It will be a sad day when enthusiasts are denied that connection and interaction that a manual gives. But, I would argue that an enthusiast does not have to have the latest, greatest, and most powerful car (be it manual or auto) to enjoy pure motoring and driver satisfaction. The marketing people might have you believe otherwise!

6 July 2015
Autos may be more economical in government fuel economy tests but in the real world I bet I can get better mpg from a manual than the equivalent automatic. It's just another way to engage your brain and make a journey more interesting, as opposed to letting the computers do everything. Of course manuals are more fun and of course they can be a bit of a drudge in stop/start motoring, but it's worth it.

6 July 2015
Sad. I won't buy an M car with a dual-clutch 'box or an auto. I simply have no interest. I suppose it doesn't matter, though, because I lost every bit of my previously considerable enthusiasm for M cars when they started faking the engine sound through the audio speakers.

6 July 2015
It's hardly surprising news this. If there isn't enough customers buying manual cars to justify any development/manufacturing costs then they are eventually going to be cut. It's a shame for the small minority but it is becoming an increasingly smaller number of people who must have three pedals and a gear stick. Could be seen as good news for smaller manufacturers that are still able offer manuals and less intrusive electrical interference though as they should be able to pick up any disgruntled buyers emigrating from their usual marque's looking for basic thrills which they control themselves


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