BMW is looking to the future and is close to finalising revolutionary changes to the way it does performance cars.
The German car maker has told English publication Autocar that it may soon remove the manual transmission option from all of its vehicles, and limit power outputs to 450kW or less. These changes would enable the company to focus on producing smarter, more efficient high-end sports cars.
“From a technical standpoint, the future doesn’t look bright for manual gearboxes. The DCT (dual-clutch transmission) and auto (conventional torque converter) gearboxes are faster and they have better fuel consumption,” the recently appointed boss of BMW’s venerable M-division, Frank van Meel, told Autocar, before implying it would be some time before the change took effect.
“It’s difficult to say we’ll stick to the manual, but we still have a big fan community for manuals and we are not going to take away something the customer wants to have.”
Despite the apparent popularity of manual gearboxes among car enthusiasts, sales data shows that they’re optioned on just 5 per cent of BMW’s total M car sales – as many enthusiasts make the switch to dual-clutch auto transmissions.
Van Meel also suggested the BMW would soon cap power limits at 450kW in the near future.
“We’re at the limit. If you go on adding more horsepower and torque, it’d probably be over the limits,” he said.
Even if BMW does set the marker at 450kW, that would still leave scope for power upgrades to the M3 and M4, as well as minor tweaks to the M5 and M6.
BMW’s burgeoning strategy seems more centred on weight-savings and efficiency as opposed to simply having more power. The Bavarian brand is also said to be focusing on optional all-wheel drive for most of its performance arsenal, as it complies with increasing emission targets.