Matt Robinson profile picture Matt Robinson 14 days ago 16
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Listen Carefully: This Next-Gen BMW M3 Prototype Has A Manual Gearbox

A test mule for the 2021 M3 has been spotted at the Nurburgring, eliciting a telltale pause between shifts

Remind me later

You really don’t need to worry about the next BMW M3 not coming with a manual. BMW officials have gone on record more than once about the G30 3-series-based super-saloon coming with an optional stick shift, most recently with M Division chief Markus Flasch pledging to Top Gear that the car won’t be auto only.

We wouldn’t blame you for worrying still, though. High-power manuals are in perilously short supply these days, with only a few heroes like the Aston Martin Vantage AMR keeping the flame. But just to put your fears at rest, have a careful listen to the gearchanges of this 2021 BMW M3 prototype.

Yep, that’s the telltale pause of a cog being engaged the old-fashioned way. Praise be.

BMW - Listen Carefully: This Next-Gen BMW M3 Prototype Has A Manual Gearbox - News

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a manual M3 at the Nurburgring, but hey - we’ll just take this as extra confirmation that the most driver-focused version of the car is definitely happening.

Beyond that, we know that the S58 engine - first used in the X3 M and X4 M - will be used for propulsion. The new turbocharged straight-six is good for 503bhp in the ‘Competition’ variants of the super SUVs, giving us a clue about the kind of firepower the next M3 and M4 will have at their disposal.

We can expect the new M3 to be launched at some point in 2020.