While many may dream of buying a new M car and sticking with the standard manual gearbox (where it's available, at least), the reality remains that the vast majority of buyers opt for the dual-clutch alternative. Given BMW manuals are far from the best, but its DCTs the very opposite, this makes quite a
. Especially when the cars often feel to be configured for
Therefore the news that the manual only has a handful of years to live in BMW M cars, at least according to M's Vice President of sales and marketing Peter Quintus, shouldn't be all that surprising. What should come as more of a shock is his belief that the dual-clutch alternative will meet its demise at the same time as the manual.
"It's more a question of how long has the DCT got to go - how long will it last?" he said in an interview with Drive in Australia, citing the rapid recent improvements in conventional torque converter automatics. Where DCTs once held weight and shift speed advantages, the latest autos have significantly closed the gap: "Now, a lot of that shift-time advantage has disappeared as automatics get better and smarter."
Moreover there are automatics now with up to 10 speeds, bringing benefits for fuel economy and acceleration. As for the manual, apparently there is another issue beyond emissions and a lack of buyer demand - durability. According to Quintus, manuals will struggle to cope with the latest range of super torquey turbo engines; the limit is said to be about 450hp and 443lb ft, with durability issues beyond that.
In fact, such is the way manuals are going in M Division, Quintus believes cars below the M5 may now be going automatic-only. "I'm not even sure the next generation of M3 and M4 will have the option of a manual gearbox." There you have it then - get one (if you want one) while you still can!