BMW M, the German automaker’s division responsible for the marque’s high-performance models has revealed that it will continue to make manual transmissions available for its forthcoming M3 and M4, BMW Blog reported.

The next-generation models are due to be launched next year, and the inclusion of manual options as well as the choice of all-wheel-drive for the duo has been indicated by CEO of BMW M Markus Flasch, though the exact driveline combinations have yet to be revealed.

Will the all-wheel-drive option have the choice of a switchable rear-wheel-drive mode, like on the current M5? “I cannot confirm anything but if you look at the current lineup, you’d see that it would be possible,” said Flasch. A manual gearbox won’t add performance “because an automatic transmission is just faster; just ask any race driver,” he noted.

The BMW M5 (pictured) is equipped with automatic transmission and switchable AWD.

“But it gives the vehicle character and I kind of compare it to people who love mechanical watches; it isn’t more precise and it doesn’t have any kind of advantage at all but it’s a character feature. So is a stick shift,” Flasch said.

The next-generation M3 and M4 will naturally gain output increases over the outgoing F80 and F82 models, with up to 480 hp possible from the series production versions. A possible, limited-run ‘GTS‘ will likely boast of even more power.

Further afield for the future direction of BMW M, a standalone BMW M model is a possibility, though not necessarily an ‘M’ supercar, the M division CEO said. “There are other segments where we could think about that but definitely, we are investigating various options for standalone M cars,” he said.

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