Does BMW Still Make Manual Cars? Understanding Their 2024 Lineup

In the world of sports cars, the connection between driver and machine is often defined by the presence of a manual transmission. As of our current year, 2024, we find that BMW, a brand with a rich history of engaging driving experiences, still honors this tradition. Despite the automotive industry’s shift towards automatics and electric vehicles, BMW remains committed to offering manual transmissions in select models for those enthusiasts who cherish the tactile feel of a gear shift and the control it provides.

A BMW car with a manual transmission being driven on an open road

Looking ahead, the marque has made assurances to keep the manual transmission alive in their coveted M series lineup until at least 2030. This decision exemplifies our understanding of BMW’s dedication not only to performance but also to the preferences of their passionate customers. Although the range of models featuring a manual gearbox is no longer as extensive as it used to be, the options that remain are a testament to BMW’s understanding that for many drivers, the joy of a manual transmission is irreplaceable.

By maintaining this commitment, BMW serves a niche in the automotive market, ensuring that the joy of rowing through a gearbox will continue to be an option for drivers seeking that purist experience. As we navigate the evolving landscape of car manufacturing, it becomes increasingly clear that BMW’s promise extends beyond current trends, keeping the spirit of the manual transmission alive for the foreseeable future.

Evolution of BMW M Series

As enthusiasts of high-performance driving, we’ve witnessed the BMW M Series evolve from a singular trailblazing model to an entire lineup of precision-engineered vehicles that embody both luxury and speed.

Historical Milestones

The very first BMW M car, the legendary M1, was introduced in 1978, setting the foundation for a legacy that blends motorsport innovation with road use. Its production lasted until 1981 and the M1 is still celebrated for its iconic design and performance. As the years progressed, we built on the success of the M1, adding legends like the M3 and M4, which have become symbols of our commitment to driving excellence.

Advancements in M3 and M4 Models

From its first iteration in 1985, the BMW M3 became the benchmark for high-performance sports sedans. With each generation, we’ve pushed the boundaries of what’s possible, offering drivers a thrilling blend of power, agility, and precision handling. The same passion that fueled the M3’s development went into the making of the M4 Coupe.

Today, the M3 and M4 models maintain a strong connection to their roots, embodying our long-standing tradition of excellence. Now, approximately 15-20% of these cars feature manual transmissions, holding true to a driver-focused experience amidst an increasingly automated landscape.

BMW M2: A Compact Powerhouse

Appearing on the scene more recently, the BMW M2 immediately captured our hearts with its compact size and explosive performance. The M2 Competition further raised the bar with fine-tuned dynamics and significant power upgrades, ensuring it wasn’t just a smaller sibling to the M3 and M4 but a standout model in its own right.

The enduring spirit of the M Series is clearly visible in the M2, with its production slated to run until 2030. This tenacious commitment to driving purism showcases our dedication to offering an engaging driving experience for as long as possible, pairing traditional manual transmissions with modern-day advancements in vehicle engineering.

Manual vs Automatic Transmissions

In the realm of BMW vehicles, the choice between manual and automatic transmissions is not just about gear changes—it defines the driving experience. Here, we’ll dissect what sets the manual and automatic variants apart in performance, control, and what future they might hold within BMW’s lineup.

Comparing Performance and Control

Gearing up for a Comparison: Manual

When we take the helm of a BMW with a six-speed manual transmission, we’re met with the tangible thrill of direct control. With a stick shift, the dance between the clutch pedal and gear lever is all ours to choreograph, especially poignant in models like the spirited BMW M2. Our command over each shift invites a more engaging drive, one that automatics strive to emulate.

Harnessing power.

A twin-turbo inline-six engine, often paired with BMW’s manual gearboxes, showcases our hands-on approach, metering out power with precision. Yet, the eight-speed automatic—masterminded by ZF—is both a formidable and convenient counterpart, especially equipped with features like paddle-shifters for semi-manual control.

Future of Manual Gearboxes in BMW

Our journey with manual transmissions in BMW cars is approaching a crossroad. While the six-speed manual has fans among enthusiasts, the trend is shifting towards sophisticated automatics, like the eight-speed automatic transmission or dual-clutch variants. These systems, which include RWD and M xDrive all-wheel drive, often deliver quicker shift times and improved fuel efficiency.

However, it’s not the end of the road for manual BMWs just yet. We see a dedicated niche that values the immersive experience of a manual—a flame that BMW has pledged to keep alive at least until 2030 in select models. Let’s cherish this tactile relationship with our cars while we navigate the evolution of BMW’s transmission technology.

In this dynamic landscape, we remain tethered to the exhilaration of the drive, be it through the legacy of manual transmissions or the innovation of their automatic successors, each fostering a bond with our vehicle that is uniquely powerful.

Driving Dynamics and User Experience

BMW’s commitment to offering manual transmissions is intertwined with the enhancement of driving dynamics and catering to drivers who crave a tangible connection with their cars. This section explores how manual cars like the BMW M2 heighten the enjoyment of driving through direct engagement and technological assists that enrich the overall experience.

Enhancements in the Driving Experience

Manual cars provide a sense of control that automated systems can’t replicate. Drivers of BMW’s M2 equipped with a manual transmission experience the thrill of managing power directly. The task of skillfully downshifting before a turn, feeling the engine’s revs rise, and then precisely timing the upshift provides a sense of mastery over the vehicle. When decked out in Zandvoort Blue, the M2 isn’t just a car – it’s an ultimate driving machine involving drivers in every aspect of motion:

  • Power: The M2’s 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged engine delivers 453 horsepower.
  • Pedals: Engaging with the clutch pedal offers granular control over gear shifts.
  • Seating: Carbon bucket seats place drivers in an optimal position for spirited driving.

Driving a manual BMW, especially amidst the stop-and-go rhythm of urban traffic, remains an act of passion rather than convenience.

The visceral thrill of coupling engine power with manual precision fosters a deeper connection between car and driver.

The Role of Technology in Driver-Assist Features

While manual cars might lack certain advanced automated systems, BMW equips its vehicles with technology where it complements the driving experience. Take, for example, tires with intricate tread patterns offering better grip, which directly affects a driver’s ability to control the vehicle. However, while an M2 might not feature adaptive cruise control, it ensures that essential electronic aides do not dilute the driver-car engagement.

Manual vehicles allow drivers to experience driving in its purest form, and BMW emphasizes this ethos by prioritizing the driver’s direct input over automated intervention. Technology in BMW manuals focuses on enhancing the driving experience, not overpowering it.

🚨 Your attention to the road and vehicle dynamics is heightened when you’re engaged with a manual gearbox.

Competition and Market Trends

We find ourselves in a unique position in the automotive landscape as manual transmissions become less common. Despite this trend, our decision to offer vehicles such as the 2023 BMW M2 with a manual option reflects a distinct market segment’s preference for control and engagement.

With a sizeable percentage of BMW M2s in 2023 being manuals, we are catering to enthusiasts amid growing competition. The likes of the Toyota 86, the nimble Mazda MX-5 Miata, and the powerful Ford Mustang also offer manual transmissions, underscoring the market’s diverse preferences.

We observe robust competition from the Acura Integra and the Volkswagen Golf R, both providing manual options, yet we stand firm with our decision. Sports coupes like our M240i and M40i, alongside competition like the Porsche 911 and the newly revived Nissan Z, keep the market for manual transmissions alive. This emphasizes performance driving and connection to the vehicle—a sensation automatics cannot fully replicate.

Rear-wheel drive

dynamics are crucial for us, which is why the 2023 BMW M2 comes out strong. It’s not just about how fast you go, but how you go fast, and our rear-wheel-drive platforms with manual transmissions heavily contribute to this philosophy.

Model Transmission Drive Mileage Concerns
2023 BMW M2 Manual RWD Efficient for its class
Mazda MX-5 Miata Manual RWD Fuel economy-focused
Rate this post
Ran When Parked