Rumors of a BMW Z4 M40i with a manual transmission have been circulating the web for what seems like the vehicle’s entire lifecycle. With the recent debut of a handshaker Supra, those rumors have intensified exponentially. We initially thought the six-speed manual M40i will debut last year with the start of production of the new Z4 Facelift. But as we found out later on, that was not the case. Instead, we learned through sources, and confirmed by other industry insiders, that a 2024 was always the target date.
So, while at the launch event of the new BMW Z4 facelift, we inquired about the mythical six-speed Z4 M40i. Of course, BMW refrained from officially commenting on the topic. But a spokesperson said that the company is thinking about the topic of a six-speed Z4 M40i. While that’s not a confirmation, we’re ready to bet that BMW will not let one of their best driving cars go out without a bang.
A Z4 With a Manual Transmission Just Makes Sense
A row-your-own Z4 is a logical choice. BMW is incentivized to produce a manual version since Toyota has already thrown a BMW-sourced box into the Supra. In our opinion, BMW wouldn’t want to lose a portion of its enthusiast base by not offering a manual. You can’t spend five minutes on an enthusiast site without seeing someone lamenting, “if only it came as a manual…” when referring to the Z4 M40i.
The future of convertibles has never been more uncertain than now, and the internal combustion engine’s fate has been written on the wall for a while. So a manual transmission send-off would only be fitting. Especially when we know packaging is not an issue (see: the Supra). A manual Z4 M40i solidifies its status as a future classic – and guarantees a quick seller. At least in the US market, which has buoyed manual BMW sales through the last few years.
Why a Manual Z4 is Exciting
I’ve written – to some length – about what makes the Z4 M40i a future classic. Even without a manual trans, it’s an anomaly. It weighs less than the contemporary M3 and M4 and boasts lower production numbers than both. The automatic transmission is a far cry from the slushboxes from the 90s and rivals the performance of some of the most refined dual-clutch autos. It’s also a roadster, if you hadn’t noticed, which puts it in rarified air in 2023.
Seriously – there isn’t even competition within the brand anymore. It would be the only manual BMW convertible you can buy. There’s no open-top version of the 2 Series Coupe, and the 4 Series, M4, and M8 Convertible only get automatics. Finally, a manual Z4 gives another great option to those shopping the competition – primarily, the 718 Boxster and Spyder.
The Z4 M40i is a bundle of fun already. Zero to 60 mph in under four seconds, a sweet-sounding 382-horsepower turbo six-pot, and classic sports car proportions get you pretty far in my book. The only thing missing is a good old-fashioned stick shift. Hurry up and confirm the manual Z4 already, BMW!