The Next BMW M3 Will Definitely Keep the Stick Shift Alive

You’ll still be able to drive the ultimate driver’s car as the driving gods intended.

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It’s official: The BMW M3, perhaps the ultimate driver’s car made by the Ultimate Driving Machine company, will keep a manual transmission option for the upcoming G80 generation debuting this fall. BMW M Division chairman Markus Flasch confirmed that, and other details, to Car Magazine in a recent interview.

BMW will power the M3 with the new S58 engine found in the X3 M and X4 M. It’s a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that will offer both a standard version (473 hp) and a Competition (503 hp) variant. Those M3s will get an eight-speed automatic. Those engines will be pair with either rear-wheel-drive or the same variable all-wheel-drive system in the X3 M and X4 M.

On top of that, the company is planning a to-be-named “pure” driver’s version of the M3 and M4 that will be cheaper, less powerful and offer a manual and rear-wheel-drive. Those cars will also have some unique detailing. Including the stick on the more powerful M3s would have required BMW to develop a new gearbox to handle the torque, which would have been expensive.

BMW’s “pure” M3 is a compromise; it stinks that the full-bore M3 won’t have its classic stick. But, BMW investing heavily in a new manual transmission was never a realistic option. A “pure” version is better than the probable alternative — which was not to have the option at all.

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