BMW is banking hard on electric vehicles, and it's costing quite a bit of money. According to Reuters, the company announced it has spent the equivalent of $5.87 billion on developing EV technology, and the next three years will involve at least as much money, if not more, per year. As such, the company is looking for ways to save cash, and a big part of that solution will come from getting rid of options.
Among the examples highlighted by Reuters were the hypothetical discontinuation of the manual transmission for the 2 Series coupe line, as well as eliminating a number of foreign-market diesel 5 Series variants. With this in mind, it's likely that other low-volume engine and transmission options will be discontinued. Even small things such as interior parts will be condensed. Apparently the company has 100 different steering wheels, and according to Reuters, that probably won't be the case for long.
With the revelation that BMW is spending so much money on electric vehicle development, it may seem contradictory that the predicted BMW i5 is rumored to be dead. But according to a report from Bloomberg, electric vehicle development will be undergoing similar austerity measures. Instead of additional fanciful, electric- and hybrid-only models such as the i3 and i8, the news outlet reports BMW will focus on electrified versions of existing models, including another electric Mini for 2019. Reuters reports an electric BMW 3 Series with a 248-mile range is also coming this September.
Though we know now that BMW isn't planning on getting rid of the manual in the 2 Series, yet, the prospect of fewer manual transmissions and less-exciting EVs still isn't great for enthusiasts. And it still seems strange to suggest the removal of manual transmissions with the sporty, driver-friendly 2 Series. However, this is probably a smart economic move for BMW, and if it means the company makes enough money to create more interesting cars down the road, it will be worth it.