As reported by BMW Blog and Carscoops, BMW M Chief Executive Markus Flasch announced the news when he was asked in an interview whether or not there will be any surprises for BMW fans with the new M3 and M4.
It’s a bit early to disclose all the details but something I want to highlight is that we will have a manual stick shift,” he said. “We have already disclosed we will have the option of four-wheel drive. We’ve not decided which variant, which system, but everything that’s on our current lineup; think of the M5; can be made available. The M3 and M4, I’ve driven the pre-production cars already and they’re fantastic.”
Flaschadded on, “Manual is very important. The manual stick shift is not a performance-bringer, because an automatic transmission is just faster, you can ask any race driver,” he said. “But it gives the vehicle character and I kind of compare it to people who love mechanical watches; it isn’t more precise and it doesn’t have any advantage at all but it’s a character feature. So is a stick shift.”
There is no confirmation on whether the M3/4's all-wheel drive system will have a rear-wheel drive mode like the M5, but we would be surprised if it didn't.