Why the manual BMW M2 costs more than the auto model (in some markets)

Jet Sanchez
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The all-new 2023 BMW M2.

The all-new 2023 BMW M2.

The auto industry is ever-changing, giving us new design trends and engineering conventions at breakneck speeds. And while the manual transmission has been a constant in automobiles since the beginning, it too is going through unpleasant changes.

Manual cars have historically been cheaper than their automatic counterparts. But with demand shifting the other way, manuals are slowly becoming a rare breed.

The second-gen BMW M2 launched earlier this year is still available with a 6-speed manual option. But it will set you back more than the 8-speed automatic in many markets, including the UK, where the stick shift commands a premium of £545 (or over $1,100). In Germany, the surcharge is £500 (just over $1,000).

'It's a heritage thing'

Why is this the case?

It comes down to development costs for BMW. The German brand would probably be happy to produce only automatic M2s beginning this second - it would likely save them money - but it says requests from fans and enthusiasts help keep the manual option alive.

Speaking to Car Throttle, BMW M CEO Frank van Meel explained the predicament. “For us, it's quite an effort,” he said.

“The manual is slower and results in a higher fuel consumption [and] sometimes has also a lower top speed, so the manual actually from an engineering standpoint made no real sense anymore.

“For us, it's more like a heritage thing.”

Is it the same in New Zealand?

Luckily, New Zealand has it differently. The manual and automatic M2 both currently sell for $144,100. 

It appears BMW picks and chooses which markets it imposes the surcharge, but we reckon it's only a matter of time before its stick-shift models cost more by default in most countries.

And it might not just be BMW, either. Other carmakers could follow eventually, and once that happens, it will be just another blow to the manual transmission as it suffers a slow and agonising demise.

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