In a recent interview with BMW North America's President, Ludwig Willisch, some interesting little thoughts were tossed around.
Of course, it wouldn't be an interview without some sort of revelation.
According to the head cheese, BMW's diesel models — specficially the 3-Series and 5-Series — aren't doing so hot:
...According to Willisch, “The 328d is selling so-so, the 5-series is a bit disappointing.” He added: “These are still early days, and low fuel prices haven’t helped diesel technology..."
On the other hand, the X5 diesel has an acceptable take rate at the moment. So, at least that's one point for oil burners. Hopefully when the X3 diesel hits the market this year it can help balance out the score.
Now one of the more sensitive topics for the American market is do-it-yourself transmissions. We love them, although it seems that the sentiment — globally and locally — is waning. Although the former M boss implied that standard transmissions will continue to exist in this generation M5 and M6, it seems their livelihood is in question for the next-gen product.
At this rate, if we're lucky the M-specific models will keep their clutch pedals. Really though I think we should prepare for the worst. Considering all of the serious performance brands have dumped manuals in favor of quick shifting single and dual-clutch 'boxes, I think it's clear where we're headed.
**To read more from the FULL interview, click "Read Article" below!
As for manual transmissions, Willisch isn’t ready yet to speak about the future of the stick in the M5 and M6. Those models’ U.S. customers have really championed the retention of the manual option, while the rest of the world is content with automatics. Willisch’s only comment: “They still have a life cycle of another four years.” On the flip side of the same coin, manual transmissions are considered an integral part of the M3 and M4 heritage everywhere. But apart from the M models, the manual take rate in regular 3- and 4-series cars is low, “in the low one digits,” Willisch revealed.