Previously, there were many reports stating that the upcoming G80 BMW M3 and G82 BMW M4 will be getting all-wheel drive and a manual transmission, and this delighted purists. Well, BMW M President, Markus Flasch has verbally confirmed to us at the BMW M Festival in South Africa that both cars will indeed be offered with a manual transmission as an option.

The 38-year-old explained that the automatic gearbox is by far the more popular choice, but purists still demand a stick shifter despite knowing that it’s slower in the century sprint and around a track. However, Flash did say earlier that the manual gearbox will be equipped on ‘purer’ models, which means it will likely only be available in rear-wheel drive M3s and M4s.

As for the all-wheel drive system, the tech is said to be very similar to the one featured in the F90 M5, which is able to switch into rear-wheel drive. But this system adds weight, and will likely not be paired with a manual transmission. Either way, only time will tell.

Flasch was coy regarding the powertrain, though. He previously confirmed that the M3 and M4, which are set to debut in 2021, will be powered by the new S58 inline-six turbocharged petrol engines, tuned to produce 480 hp in the ‘purer’ M3 and 510 hp in Competition guise. This allows for a century sprint time of 4.2 seconds (4.1 seconds for M3 Competition), which isn’t all that much quicker than the M340i‘s 4.4-second mark.

There’s no word on the S58 engine being electrified, although Flasch did say that his division is actively working on electrification tech. However, the BMW M chief doesn’t plan on rushing out hybrid technology for M cars. “It’s not about who’s first in propulsion technology. We don’t have to be the first in electrification, but we have to be the best,” he said.

He added that customers are worried that the M brand may be diluted if BMW starts chasing hybrid tech, but it is an inevitable future. Regardless of what the future is like for BMW M, Flasch said the M brand has always been driven by performance and driving precision, so those core values will remain no matter what happens under the bonnet.