Dial M for… Automatic

The BMW M series will no longer have manual gearboxes from – well, pretty soon.


BMW’s move away from manuals has been obvious for some time, so there was a degree of inevitability that this day would come. Certainly, if you were to jump 10 years into the future, you would surely be at a stage where the manufacturer was making few, if any, manuals.


However, the drive to save the manual had led to some hope.


As the Top Gear site reveals, the manual will be fazed out on the M series, with the M2 the last to go. There will then be an automatic. And then no gearbox at all.


“The double clutch, from BMW M’s point of view these days, it’s gone,” he told “It’s now manual or automatic, and automatic electrified for the future,” Dirk Hacker, head of development at BMW, told Top Gear.


The reason, he went on to say, being “around the M5 there was a big discussion, not only for the automatic transmission, but also for other things. And the decision was not only because of cost, but also because of comfort [to go with automatic], because we got a lot of reactions about maneuvering, parking, no rolling if you leave the pedal and so on.”


Interestingly, he was asked about the possibility of electrifying the manual gearbox. His answer was that it was probably possibly, but they would not be looking into it.


Within this there seems to be an acceptance that the move will be somewhat unpopular, but they are willing to suck that up. Clearly, they expect any backlash to be minimal and any lost sales more than compensated for by a drop in production costs.


As we have wondered previously, how much of an opportunity does this open for others? Will a commitment to continue manuals actually become the USP for some makes – as ever more ditch the manual, will simply retaining them be a way to stand out and drive ever more loyal customers?


What is certain is that if you want a manual BMW M series, you either want to go second hand (to be honest, always a great option) or factor in buying one in the not too distant future!


Used, though, makes a lot of sense. As leading gearbox repair specialists we get to see which gearboxes have the most issues and we don’t have a huge number of BMWs arriving for attention.


Whether we should admit that, letting you know which gearboxes are least likely to ever require a repair or refurbishment is open to debate. However, we are here to help!



At North West Transmissions we repair gearboxes or source replacements with guaranteed refurbished units.

A family-run business, we have a truly superb reputation, this is shown by our 4.9 out of 5 average rating from dozens of reviews on Google.

All reconditioned gearboxes come with guarantees for 12 months or 12,000 miles while reconditioned automatic units come with a re-manufactured torque converter that has a lifetime guarantee.

Our technicians are all highly skilled with vast experience in reconditioning and repairing all units – importantly their efficiency helps cut down the price of repairs and so too the cost.

Gearbox problems are all-too-common. If you find yourself in need of a repair or reconditioned unit, that often being the more economical option in the long term, please contact us.

Call us on 0151 933 0257 or use our Contact Form.