The days when people love to drive a car only with a manual gearbox could be long gone.
BMW M division, the team that focuses on the fastest and performance driven cars opines that within the next six to seven years manual gearbox could become obsolete.
The way the automobile industry operates is undergoing a drastic change. The companies are moving fast towards autonomous driving and electric powered motors rather than the conventional gasoline engines. When they no longer use a petrol or diesel powertrain, it obviously leads to automatic gearboxes being adopted as the most preferred choice. Sharing his opinion, Peter Quintus at the BMW M Experience 2017 event confirmed that there is a dire lack of demand for the stick shift. Most people are interested in the more advanced automated versions and it also reduces the torque amount a MT can handle making it inferior to its competitors. These reasons have slowly pushed it out of the center stage and it isn’t exaggerating if said that manual gearbox is dying a slow death.
He added that compared to the past, only 10% of the sales of the BMW M models are manual. At least 40% out of the same is being sold in the United States while countries worldwide prefer to go with automatic gearbox solution mainly because it can handle only up to 600Nm of Torque. The BMW M4 CS delivers a massive 460 horsepower and has 600 Nm of torque but there is no way to push it even further unless the gearbox is changed. It may lead to the end of manual as we know it and make automatic the most preferred choice on both the road friendly models and the sports editions.
A possible solution to retain the technology is to build a new manual transmission technology which is not only time consuming but requires a lot of investment that makes it unappealing to the MTs. The shift quality in U.S. cars were slow and heavy, really bad, confirmed Quintus.
“I can’t even confirm whether the next gen M3 and M4 from BMW will have manual gearbox as an option. We might chose to remove it and focus on automatic that can even have 9 or 10 speeds in a lightweight package that can shift with ease. They are better and smarter. With so many advantages, it won’t be long before manual gearbox is discontinued completely probably in 6 or 7 years,” he concluded.