The next generation BMW M3 and M4 will not have manual transmissions. That sentence is as hard to write as it is likely to read.

The M2’s manual. A wonderful iteration on the M3 and M4’s which itself was an iteration of the one found in the 1M.

We’ve know for some time that this news was likely but reading confirmation from BMW M VP Dirk Hacker is still rather shocking. Courtesy of Autocar, here’s the quote:

To this end, Hacker confirmed the M2 is likely to be the last M car offered with a manual gearbox, saying: “I like manual very much, but the take up rate from customers on cars other than the M2 is just going down. The fact is that a double clutch gearbox delivers better performance and efficiency.”

However, he did hint that the next generation M3 and M4 may not have to follow the M5 in using a four-wheel-drive system. “We will increase the power of these cars, but we don’t want to increase the weight,” he said. “We’ll use four-wheel drive where we need it.”

That last bit noteworthy in that BMW is clearly interested in keeping the M3 and M4 simpler, more driver focused cars than the new M5 and upcoming M8.

Also in the article in confirmation of what we’ve known for awhile:

More hardcore versions of the BMW M2 are under development, with company bosses weighing up what they believe could be a growing market for a suite of increasingly driver-focused CSL or GTS versions of their cars.

Recent spy pictures suggest that BMW is already testing an M2 CSL on the road. Insiders suggest BMW will use a detuned version of the S55 turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine from the M3 and M4 rather than a highly strung version of the M2’s older N55 unit, due to the increased reliability and improved responses the newer technology enables.

Drive will still be sent exclusively to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual or seven-speed DCT dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Despite the performance benefits offered by the latter, BMW M vice president Dirk Hacker confirmed to Autocar that market demand for driver-focused cars will ensure the manual remains an option.

Read it all at Autocar.