After years of rumors, BMW finally confirmed earlier this week plans to put a manual transmission in the Z4 M40i. The M Performance roadster with a clutch pedal has been primarily engineered for the United States. However, there are plans to sell the sporty convertible with the do-it-yourself gearbox in other markets.
Seen here is a Euro version of the “analog” Z4 M40i with a German license plate while testing in the Dolomite Mountains. The six-speed ZF manual adapted by BMW will be available in Germany, but other markets have yet to be announced. While the US-spec prototype we saw a few days ago was painted in matte Frozen San Remo Green, this one keeps it simple with a Sapphire Black color. It does away with the orange side markers mandatory in North America and has a different set of wheels with winter tires.
BMW decided to remove the Z4 and M40i badges from the trunk lid and it applied camouflage on the roundels. That’s not all too surprising since prototypes usually go through these changes while they’re being tested out in public. Interestingly, the swirly black and white disguise has also been applied on a section of the front fenders where the M logo typically resides. There could be some subtle changes there to separate it from the regular model equipped with the eight-speed automatic.
BMW has yet to release the technical specifications of the Euro-spec Z4 M40i with a manual. However, if it’s anything like the two-pedal version, the inline-six will be significantly detuned on the Old Continent. Due to stricter emissions regulations, the Euro model has had 335 horsepower ever since the G29 came out five years ago. In the US, the turbocharged 3.0-liter “B58” is massaged to deliver 382 hp. Regardless of region, peak torque is always 369 lb-ft (500 Nm).
With BMW USA rumored to charge a $3,500 premium for the manual, the six-speed gearbox is likely going to cost extra in Germany as well. It wouldn’t be the first model to have a higher price tag with the manual compared to the automatic. In BMW’s domestic market, the M2 G87 will set you back an extra €500 if you want the essential clutch pedal, starting from €75,900 with the 6MT.
A Z4 M40i with the manual won’t be considerably cheaper than a stick shift M2 since the 8AT model available now retails from €69,300 in Deutschland. Full details about what may very well be the final M Performance car with a manual transmission will be disclosed in January 2024. It is believed you’ll have about two years to buy the car since insiders claim production of the Z4 will end in early 2026 at Magna Steyr’s factory in Graz, Austria.
[Photos: Hardy Mutschler, BMW]