Speaking to Road & Track, BMW member of the board Klaus Fröhlich promised the manual transmission will live on, but not for very long…
Everyone’s expecting big things from the new G20 generation 3 Series now that BMW has made it as big as an E39 5 Series.
For starters Munich is teasing with a BMW M340i xDrive powered by a 3.0-litre straight-six that’s 48 horsepower stronger than before rated at 374bhp. There is also a 50Nm increase to 500Nm of torque so the sprint from zero to 100km/h takes 4.4 seconds. That’s really only a couple of tenths off the previous M3, and faster than the E92 generation M3.
You also get M Sport suspension, steering, a special rear differential, beefier braking system, lighter 18-inch wheels, and an m Sport exhaust system with a dual pipe out back. On the outside the front and rear get specific bumpers and aero features, and the mesh kidney grille is finished in a metallic grey-bronze kind of look.
All well and good, but on a sadder note for labourers there is no manual transmission offered as the 2020 M340i xDrive comes with an eight-speed automatic ‘box as standard kit. Before you go spastic BMW isn’t entirely ditching manuals, because according to BMW member of the board Klaus Fröhlich who spoke to Road & Track, the manual will live on in the upcoming G80 M3 and G82 M4.
“Honestly, the pure engineering answer is, you’re much faster with paddles and an automatic transmission,” Fröhlich told R&T’s Bob Sorokanich. “They’re very precise and sporty. Especially on the Nurburgring, you are much better in control when you’re not taking one hand away [to shift]. I think, in the overall portfolio, manuals will disappear. But I think M4 should be the fortress of manual. So the last manual transmission which will die, it should die in an M4, as late as possible. That’s my view.”
The G80 M3 and G82 M4 should premiere with rear-drive and all-wheel drive options, and you can expect nearly 500 horsepower. Since it will be around until about 2027 there’s your hint as to how long manual transmissions will last in Munich.