2014 BMW M3 to Lose Manual Gearbox, or Will It?

2014 BMW M3 to Lose Manual Gearbox, or Will It?
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One of the most illustrious names in German sport sedan history, the BMW M3 will transition away from its naturally aspirated engine roots in the upcoming model meant to bow at next year’s Geneva Motor Show, doing so without a manual transmission.

At least that’s what recent reports are suggesting, which if true could usher a next-generation M3 that only hangs on to a few bits of the outgoing model. Unfortunately, the pieces with staying power seem to be the same steel platform as the outgoing car uses rather than swapping it for an aluminum version. Still, the car will come with several aluminum body parts, including various body panels like the hood and doors.

Unfortunately for driving enthusiasts who have the very Patrick Henry stance to take a manual gearbox or death, it looks like BMW is sending the faithful few to slaughter. But then again it might not be quite that simple. Those quick to turn their back would do well to remember that the brand is also splitting its naming structure for the 3 Series to transition its coupes to a new nameplate: the 4 Series. As a result, the next-generation M3 Coupe will actually be billed as an M4.

While that might be the case, Albert Biermann, head of BMW’s M Division engineering said something to the contrary only a few months ago. While the M5 and M6 will drop their manual gearboxes in the next generation in favor of dual clutch systems, he insisted that the M3 will “always have a stick shift.”

Given the split in naming structure, it seems possible albeit unlikely that the company might offer its sedan M3 with a DCT while the coupe variant M4 could still come with an optional stick. Concrete information is unavailable at the moment, but more is sure to come in the months leading up to next year’s Geneva Motor Show.

[Source: AutoWeek]