BMW announced that all-wheel-drive versions of their M cars will be available in the near future. What will most likely not be available with these all-weather performance machines, is a manual transmission. That is because BMW won't sell you what may be their best car in the lineup with 3-pedals and AWD.
I made this discovering this week because I've been working with a client who has been all over the place in regards to what performance oriented car he should get. The conversation shifted to possibly leasing a BMW 2-series. I told him to go configure what he would want and I would shop around. He sent me some 2-series xDrive builds with the note, "Could not find manual transmission option."
I thought it was just a glitch or maybe he just missed the option box. So I spent some time on BMW's configurator only to discover that you can indeed have a 228 or 235 with 3-pedals, but they must be rear-wheel drive. Now here is where many of you jump right to the comments and say, "Why would you want an all-wheel-drive BMW? Just get an Audi you bonehead!" I'm inclined to agree with you. Personally, I want my Bimmers with rear-drive, but it seems that the xDrive models are so popular especially here in the Northeast, I was surprised to see that xDrive means auto-trans only. When I got a chance to hoon a 228 at a BMW event last summer, I thought the 8-speed ZF gearbox is pretty fantastic. In fact, if I was forced to drive an automatic I would probably get that, but it is a little disappointing that you can't have a compact 300hp, coupe with all-wheel-drive and 3 pedals. Just think of the rally possibilities!
I understand where BMW is coming from; they figure most "purists" that want a manual transmission car, also want the lighter weight and balance of rear-drive. Since developing a manual gearbox for an all-wheel-drive layout would be very costly, and not terribly popular, they decided to forgo it.
So if you are in the market for a three-pedal luxury coupe with grip at all four wheels, you should buy yourself a BMW, use the $1000 savings and get some damn snow tires. However, if you insist, Audi will gladly sell you an A5/S5 with a stick, or you can make "bro" a regular part of your vocabulary and get yourself a Subaru.
If you have a question, a tip, or something you would like to to share about car-buying, drop me a line at AutomatchConsulting@gmail.com and be sure to include your Kinja handle.