BMW has hinted at the existence of a manual 2020 M3, but the company has stopped short of all-out confirming it. Until now.
"It’s a bit early to disclose all the details but something I want to highlight is that we will have a manual stick shift," Markus Flasch said.
"Manual is very important," he later disclosed.
"The manual stick shift is not a performance-bringer, because an automatic transmission is just faster, you can ask any race driver."
"But it gives the vehicle character and I kind of compare it to people who love mechanical watches; it isn’t more precise and it doesn’t have any advantage at all but it’s a character feature. So is a stick shift."
The new M3 and M4 are expected to launch early in 2020, likely with a choice of all-wheel or rear-wheel drive. Speaking with CarAdvice earlier this year, Flasch said the automatic option will be a variation of the eight-speed torque converter from the M5.
Power will come from a new turbocharged inline-six dubbed 'S58', described as 95 per cent different to the S55 used in the current model.
The development team has focused on delivering snappy throttle response and a free-revving character, neither of which are traditional strengths of turbocharged engines.