It isn't said explicitly but it is implied. Halfway down this story over at The Autocar
, BMW M-Division's Vice President Dirk Hacker addresses the inevitable question, again: what hope the manual gearbox, Dirk?
Mostly Hacker's talking about how nice it'll be to make more GTS and CSL-style models. Demand is there, after all, for limited-run, driver-focused BMWs for keen drivers to swoon over. You know: the limited-edition sort that sells out, keeps the brand front of mind, that sort of thing.
But then, not unreasonably, he's asked about manuals.
"I like manual very much," Hacker says, like a soon to be ex-partner complimenting you on how nice you are - really, you are - before announcing they've met somebody far more attractive. "But the take-up rate from customers on cars other than the M2 is just going down," he says. "The fact is that a double-clutch gearbox delivers better performance and efficiency." And, you know, it tidies up after itself, cooks dinner, puts on a shirt when we're going out, pays into the joint account when it should. It's not you, it's me. But it's also you. Actually it's mostly you.
And so the implication is clear enough. Manuals? Forget 'em. But we've been here before, haven't we? And it's hard not to be cynical, but it sounds like when they threatened to take Subbeteo off sale. Everyone had to say: "But we really want a manual 911 GT3" before Porsche relented. And Americans had to really ask for a manual BMW M5? - ?but then they got one.
And this talk about more efficiency and better performance? It's true, certainly. But on the E60 M5 launch, a car which had the SMG single-clutch automated gearbox, I remember engineers being asked about a new dual-clutch transmission that a different manufacturer had just launched. We asked: "Have you tried one? Because it seems like the future." Ja ja, they said (I paraphrase), but there's more to life than instantaneous shifts. This SMG gearbox is more emotional.
It wasn't, though it's a decent reply. And one they might like to apply to the manual transmission, and remember this time around.
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