Rumors about the death of the manual gearbox haven’t been exaggerated – at least not as far as the U.S.-spec 2019 BMW 3-Series is concerned.
The German marque took the covers off new 3-Series at the Paris Auto Show and revealed that European markets would get the option of a stick shift with some of the vehicle’s four-cylinder engines.
In the United States, though, according to Autoblog, the new 3-Series will initially be sold in 330i and 330i xDrive guise (rear- and all-wheel drive respectively). The 330i is powered by a TwinPower Turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder that delivers a total of 255 hp and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque and is paired exclusively to an eight-speed automatic transmission in all markets.
In 2019, the sporty M340i and M340i xDrive M Performance models are tipped to launch in the U.S. These two models will utilize a straight-six engine pumping out 382 hp and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque. Unfortunately, the M340i won’t be offered with a manual gearbox either.
As details about the latest-generation M3 remain murky, it’s hard to say whether or not it will be sold with a manual. Unlike Mercedes-AMG with the C63, BMW’s M Division has so far been able to retain a manual gearbox for its most-popular sports sedan despite dwindling demand. However, the fact that most customers prefer the dual-clutch transmission has led to speculation that the new M3 will be sold exclusively with an auto ‘box.
Even though purists might lament the demise of the manual, BMW claims that the eight-speed automatic in the new 3-Series provides improved acceleration and performance over a stick shift.