The 2022 BMW G80 M3 and G82 M4 represent a major milestone for BMW M as both a look at the future as well as a nod the past. One of the most visible nods is the manual transmission option. This generations manual is a slightly shorter throw and gear shift assist that improves directional stability during dynamic driving by matching engine revs during downshifts. And if you want the ultimate old-school experience this system can be turned off via the iDrive menu by more experienced drivers.
One major downside is that BMW is not offering the manual on the 503 hp, 479 lb-ft Competition model. Instead it’s only available on the standard M3 and M4 which makes 473 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. The reason is that BMW split the development of the two cars due to the standard xDrive on the Competition model. While the lack of power and especially torque as compared to the Competition model is annoying, it’s a logical separation and more clearly positions the manual option as part of a more pure M3 and M4 rear wheel drive experience. And as a bonus the the manual transmission is the 50 lb. lighter than the 8-speed M Steptronic giving cars equipped with it improved front-to rear weight distribution.
What’s particularly interesting is that this throwback option is almost entirely due to the US market’s manual take-rates which were 28.3% for the F80 M3 generation – double the rest of the world’s numbers.
In a segment increasingly devoid of delivering on the classic driving experience, the new BMW M3 and M4 core models still have that magic M formula of rear-wheel drive and a manual transmission. And as always, if you want to see M continue to offer them, it’s our job to continue to buy them.