BMW M boss Frank van Meel is determined to keep the manual gearbox on the options list for as long as possible and has been buoyed in his quest by 50% of orders for the BMW M2 requesting it.
“From a technical viewpoint, there’s little reason to save it. It’s heavier, it’s slower and you get worse fuel consumption than the alternative. But the customer and the fanbase really love the manual. It gives a connection to allow them to demonstrate they can tame the beast – and that’s the point. We want to keep it,” he said.
Many firms have already scrapped the manual option, such as Mercedes-AMG, citing range simplifications and lower production costs.
But BMW looks set to buck the trend, with van Meel confirming that the manual option is too popular to ditch.
He added: “For the M2, every second car is bought with a manual. People want to say they can handle the beast. If they have a way of showing they can do that, then they want it – and a manual gearbox is part of that.
“It’s part of the emotional appeal of our cars, and that’s why we love manual gearboxes. The US is the biggest market, and if customers continue to say they want it, then amazing.”
The next iteration of the M2 is expected to arrive in showrooms at the end of 2022, which means its unveiling is only months away. It will have even stronger performance and more versatility than the model it replaces.
The second-generation 2 Series Coupé, on which it’s based, is already on sale.