When the manual transmission dies, it will die in the M4

Speculation that the next BMW M3 and M4 would not come with a manual transmission has been dispelled. Both upcoming Motorsport versions of the 3- and 4-Series models will indeed have a six-speed stick shift, and they will even offer the option of all-wheel drive.

2020 BMW M3
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The information was confirmed by Klaus Fröhlich, BMW’s development boss, who was pretty straightforward in his statements for Road&Track on the sidelines of the 2019 LA auto show.

When asked whether or not the next M3 and M4 would allow drivers to row their own, he replied that a new automatic with paddle shifters is faster than a manual, feels sporty, and improves safety by allowing the driver to keep both hands on the wheel at all time.

He went on to say that “in the overall portfolio, manuals will disappear. But I think M4 should be the fortress of manual. So the last manual transmission which will die, it should die in an M4, as late as possible. That’s my view."

In regards to what transmissions will be offered in the next-gen models, Fröhlich explained he “tried to prolong the lifetime of the manuals, but we can’t invest in developing a new manual transmission. No transmission partner will do that with us. So we are evolving our existing manuals as long as possible."

This is very good news for the enthusiast appeal of the new M3 and M4 a car that we already expect to be very good based on the fact that the all-new 3-Series is touted as being better to drive than all recent generations. Fröhlich himself previously stated that he’s annoyed by people constantly reminding him how good the E46 M3 CSL was, suggesting that the new car is a bit of a handling benchmark.

2020 BMW M3
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In his more recent interview, he also confirmed that the new M3 and M4 will also be the first ever to be available with all-wheel drive; you’ll still be able to buy a pure rear-wheel-drive model, not like with the current M5 where you are given no choice.

The next M3/M4 will also benefit from the new 3-Series’ lighter weight and lower center of gravity too, plus we hear rumors that the twin-turbo, 3.0-liter, straight-six BMW intends to offer (it's a revised version of the current engine) will have up to 493 horsepower.

We expect the M3 sedan to be revealed at a major European motor show in 2019, probably in Frankfurt and it will go on sale in early 2020.

Further reading

2020 BMW M3
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Read our full speculative review on the 2020 BMW M3.

2018 BMW M4
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Read our full review on the 2018 BMW M4.

2015 BMW M3 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 BMW M3.

Source: Road & Track

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