BMW is listening to its most dedicated fans and, this week, they announced that a manual Z4 will be available starting this summer, July to be more precise.
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Unfortunately, the manual choice will only be available on the entry-level model, the sDrive20i. That said, it’s quite possible it won’t make it to the US, where the only two choices available right now are the sDrive30i and the M40i. The entry-level version uses a 2-liter 4-cylinder petrol engine, just like the sDrive30i but tuned to make 197 HP and 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) of torque. Available throughout Europe, the sDrive20i will do 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.6 seconds when fitted with the automatic 8-speed gearbox. By the way, the automatic will still be available.
BMW didn’t provide any acceleration of performance numbers for the manual Z4. Chances are it will be slower than the automatic, but that remains to be seen. Nevertheless, it will most likely be a fun car to drive, especially since most reviewers found the sDrive20i quite engaging in the first place. The lightness of the car is what impresses most, its nose feeling noticeably less heavy than on the M40i model, that comes with a 3-liter straight six.
Sure, the sound of the 2-liter 4-pot might be underwhelming, but the price tag of the sDrive20i with a manual gearbox might make it a very tempting choice for a lot of people. We’ll just have to wait and see whether there really is a market for a manual roadster out there, these days.