Mid-2021 launch date remains.

A performance-oriented sports saloon should have a manual gearbox – that's something that the world should remember in this age of autonomous vehicles and automated stuff. Well, BMW agrees with that, too, and the BMW M boss Markus Flasch has confirmed that the new M3 G80 will have a stick shift on several occasions.

Gallery: BMW M3 spy photos

However, this will be the first time that the new M3 has been spotted testing with a manual transmission. Spotted by Youtube's Carspotter Jeroen, an M3 test vehicle was doing some rounds on the Nürburgring. To differ from the previous M3 spy videos, this particular one is equipped with a stick shift – based on how the driver was shifting gears on the video.

Moreover, it isn't just the stick shift that's confirmed to come with the new M3. The BMW M chief also confirmed that the hardcore 3 Series will be powered by a new S58 engine If that name sounds familiar to you, it's the same engine that can be found on the X3 M and X4 M performance SUVs – a 3.0-litre twin-turbo, six-cylinder engine that produces 473 bhp and 442 pound-feet torque.

Even better, a hotter Competition model will also break daylight, which is expected to make 503 bhp and 0-60 mile-per-hour sprint in approximately four seconds. Drivetrains are also expected to be both all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive, which will depend on the buyer's preference. However, it was reported that opting for the Competition variant will force the buyer to drop the manual transmission option.

The new BMW M3 G80 is expected to hit production by late 2020 and won't be revealed to the public until 2021. Why is it taking so long? Well, Flasch didn't offer any explanation but for now, let's all be happy that a stick-shift M3 is still alive and kicking.