The head of the BMW M division has confirmed that manual versions of the new M3 will be offered in rear-wheel-drive configuration only.

Speaking to Road & Track, BMW M CEO Markus Flasch suggested the already confirmed manual gearbox would not be offered in conjunction with all-wheel drive. All-paw variants would instead employ a torque-converter automatic transmission (rather than dual-clutch item) as standard.

“The next M3 will be a challenge because we have more variation in the powertrain than we used to have,” Flasch told the publication.

“We will offer all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive. We will offer both manual and auto,” he confirmed.

Talking about the fully variable all-wheel-drive system set to be used in some M3 and M4 derivatives, Flasch said “there's no reason for changing a winning system and pretty much carrying over what we know from the M5”.

“Power output gets to an extent with this generation where it's really difficult to get it to the road if the conditions are not perfect,” he said, adding “a significant group of customers” lived in areas that often experienced inclement weather.

“If you look to the competition, to other brands, there is a demand for high-performance cars in all-wheel drive in the segment.”

In October 2019, Flasch revealed the new M3 and M4 were set to hit showrooms only in 2021, although added the Munich-based firm “would have the most powerful engine in the segment”.