In a roundtable discussion with media, BMW 4 Series Product Manager Andreas Ederer and Vice President of Driving Dynamics Jos van As confirmed that the BMW M3 and M4 will be available with a manual transmission. All-wheel drive will also be available. They did not say whether the two options can be had together.
The confirmation of a manual transmission should be some relief to traditional BMW fans, since the option has been nixed on both the regular 3 Series and 4 Series models, even the M340i and M440i. The BMW executives explained that the transmission was dropped from the regular variants because demand had fallen sharply recently. But there’s still a niche demand, so they hope to satiate some of those manual diehards with similarly niche performance models.
They didn’t say much about the reason for adding all-wheel drive to the M3 and M4, but it does follow a trend set by BMW’s M crossovers, as well as the M5. Undoubtedly, the M3 and M4 will use the same kind of all-wheel-drive system as the M5 and even the M440i xDrive, which can direct all power to the rear wheels as desired, effectively making the car rear-wheel drive. Reports have said that rear-drive will still be available on the M3 and M4, too, which seems possible. The regular 3 and 4 Series models still have rear-drive options, including the M440i some time after the initial launch, since demand for rear-wheel drive is still high in warmer climates.
Though we don’t have specific dates for the reveal of the M3 and M4, we expect them to show up in the next year or so. Previous reports state that the manual and automatic models will have different power outputs. The automatic would be the more powerful version with 473 horsepower coming from the twin-turbo 3.0-liter straight-six that made its debut in the BMW X3 M and X4 M. The manual may be detuned to 454 horsepower. Since the crossovers have a Competition trim that makes 503 horsepower, we would expect there to be M3 and M4 Competition models with a similar level of power.