Do buyers still want to swap cogs by hand?

The new BMW M3 is on its way, as confirmed in a recent rash of spy shots that show the Bavarian rocket ship out for a spot of testing at the Nürburgring. For now, though, specifics aren’t quite nailed down, with the question of two pedals or three providing one of the biggest question marks of them all. Luckily for those of us who prefer a manual, it’s looking like Bimmer isn’t quite ready to ditch the stick shift.

A Shifting Market

It Looks Like BMW May Offer the M3 With a Manual Transmission After All Spyshots Exterior
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This latest rumor comes from a recent post made by BMW Blog, which declines to specify where the info comes from, instead citing unnamed sources located in Munich.

Long story short, previous rumors have pointed to the possibility of an automatic offered as the next M3’s only transmission choice. Now, however, BMW Blog says there’s still hope for an old school manual transmission option.

“Whereas the manual gearbox has seemed to be dead in the water due to the low demand and obvious performance drawbacks, it seems like BMW isn’t ready to drop it altogether,” the website says in a recent post.

The BMW Blog post also says the Bavarians have yet to decide on specifics with regards to the drivetrain, with both AWD and RWD options on the table for now. It was originally thought that BMW might switch to AWD grip as the M3’s only drivetrain option, rather than the model’s traditional RWD, which would be yet another major change for the iconic luxury sports machine.

It Looks Like BMW May Offer the M3 With a Manual Transmission After All
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However, if a manual is offered, it’s unlikely to come with Bimmer’s xDrive AWD system, which is specifically designed for integration with the ZF eight-speed automatic BMW is so fond of.

Either way, the M3 will definitely be built on the same bones as the latest-generation 3 Series. As for the powertrain, the next M3 is expected to come equipped with a newly upgraded twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder, the same powerplant in use with the new M4. Power will likely range between 465 and 500 horsepower, plus 450 pound-feet of torque, with the M4 GTS’ water injection system on offer to maximize boost levels.

Figures like those best the 444 horses offered with the current BMW M3 Competition. For the sake of comparison, the current M3 produces 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.

A while back, rumors were pointing towards a possible hybrid powertrain making the options list as well, but at this point, that seems less likely.

When it does finally drop, the new M3 will face competition from the likes of the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Sedan, the Audi RS5 Coupe, and the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV. Pricing will likely start at just under $70,000, which is a bit of a price jump compared to previous generations.

2015-2018 BMW M3 Performance Specifications

Engine Type 3.0-Liter I-6 Turbocharged
Engine Technology M TwinPower Turbo technology with two mono-scroll turbochargers, High Precision Direct Fuel Injection, fully variable valve timing (VALVETRONIC) and variable camshaft control (Double-VANOS)
Output (HP @ RPM) 425 @ 5500–7300
Torque (LB-FT @ RPM) 406 @ 1,850–5,500
Transmission Six-speed manual gearbox (optional: Seven-speed Double Clutch Transmission)
Acceleration (0-60 MPH) 4.1 Sec (W/ Manual) / 3.9 Sec. (W/ M-DCT)
Top Speed 155 mph

Further Reading

2020 BMW M3

It Looks Like BMW May Offer the M3 With a Manual Transmission After All
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Read everything we know in our speculative review of the 2020 BMW M3

2015-2018 BMW M3

2015 BMW M3 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review of the current, 2015-2018 BMW M3

Source: BMW Blog

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