BMW appears to be approaching a big change in the way that it handles performance. First, the clutch pedal may be a goner from future M models, based on recent statements from the division's boss, Frank van Meel. We also might not be seeing any significant increases in horsepower from some of these vehicles anytime soon.

"From a technical standpoint, the future doesn't look bright for manual gearboxes. The DCT and auto 'boxes are faster and they have better fuel consumption," van Meel said to Autocar. Although, he left the door open slightly to keeping them at least in the near future. "It's difficult to say we'll stick to the manual, but we still have a big fan community for manuals and we are not going to take away something the customer wants to have."

Van Meel also suggested that the company is capping the output of M models at 600 horsepower. "We're at the limit. If you go on adding more horsepower and torque, it'd probably be over the limits," he said to Autocar.

That ceiling does leave some room to grow for future versions of the M3 and M4, which currently offer 425 hp. However, it means that the M5 and M6 with 560 hp are basically at the cap. The limited BMW M5 30th Anniversary Edition already packs 600 hp.

Rumors have suggested that the already spied, next-generation M5 might stick with around 600 hp. It seems unlikely for BMW to completely give up competing against the Autobahn-burning sedans from Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Performance could still see a boost thanks to a reportedly lighter platform and optional all-wheel drive.

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