The USA is Saving the BMW Manual Transmission

For long time BimmerFile readers this isn’t new news. But the USA saving the BMW manual transmission is one of those things we love to report. According to BMW M boss Frank Van Meel (via Car and Driver) the continued desire for manuals in the M2, M3 and M4 have gaurenteed we’ll see the option around for the next generation of those cars. Here’s the word from Van Meel himself:

“The BMW M2 Competition still has the manual for a reason, because in the U.S. we have more than a 50 percent take rate on manual transmissions for the M2,” he said. “Buyers vote with their wallets for manual transmissions. Now, being an engineer, I would say from a rational standpoint that even though the manual gearbox is lighter than an automated gearbox, it uses more fuel and is slower, so it doesn’t really make sense . . . But from the emotional standpoint, a lot of customers say, ‘I don’t care, I want to have one.’ As long as we have these take rates on M2, and also the M3 and M4, we’re going to offer manuals, because we listen to our customers. Even though as an engineer I’d say we don’t necessarily need one. If demand is so high, then why not fulfill it?”

BMW manual transmission

The bad news (you knew this was coming) is that autonomy will eventually kill the manual according to Van Meel.

“The bad news is that if we one day have autonomous cars, then the manual cannot work anymore,” BMW M chief Frank van Meel told us at a recent press event in Spain, “so that would be, let’s say, the natural end. But that’s still some time away.”

We’d love to see this proven incorrect and some brilliant automotive supplier to step in and solve this engineering problem. But that still means we have to keep buying them.

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