At long last, BMW has finally confirmed what we’ve been reporting on for months if not years. The Z4 M40i is getting a stick shift after all, and that six-speed manual gearbox is coming along with several other changes. However, the sporty roadster with a clutch pedal is not going to lend its novelties to the standard model available with the eight-speed Steptronic transmission.
But what exactly is so different about the new Z4 M40i flavor? For starters, the row-your-own-gears convertible inherits the rear axle assembly from the M240i, including the differential. In addition, it rides on staggered wheels, measuring 19 inches at the front and 20 inches at the rear for extra grip at the back. By the way, you can’t get the automatic model with 20-inch wheels from the factory. With the two-pedal variant, you can only choose from several 18- and 19-inch alloys that are the same size at both axles.
The purist version of the Z4 M40i is further differentiated courtesy of recalibrated adaptive dampers and sharper steering. BMW’s engineers have also installed stiffer anti-roll bar mounts at the front to make handling even more enjoyable. You’re not sacrificing any power since the inline-six engine continues to deliver 382 horsepower. However, we’ll remind you the European version of the M Performance Z4 is significantly detuned compared to its American sibling by packing only 335 hp.
There is one downside, although we’re sure it won’t be an impediment. Sources close to BMW have told us that buying the Z4 M40i with the manual gearbox is going to command a $3,500 premium over the auto. Consequently, prepare to pony up around $70,000 to get the ZF-developed transmission specifically adapted for this car. You won’t have to hurry because this will be a permanent member of the lineup rather than a limited-run special edition.
Well, “permanent” might be a bit of a stretch since the G29 generation is rumored to be discontinued from Magna Steyr’s plant in Graz, Austria in early 2026. A direct replacement is unlikely to be planned. In other words, the six-speed Z4 M40i may very well be the model’s last hurrah.