Charl Bosch
Online Motoring Reporter
2 minute read
13 Jul 2022
3:10 pm

Update could lead to manual gearbox for BMW Z4 M40i

Charl Bosch

A manual Z4 has not been offered in some markets since 2016.

Z4 has been on-sale since 2018 without having been updated.

A model that has largely faded into obscurity over the last few years, a new rumour pertaining to the BMW Z4 has emerged that could potentially be the swansong for Munich’s flagship sports car.

According to the BMW Blog, citing unnamed sources in the United States, the range-topping M40i is being investigated as possible recipient of the manual gearbox that debuted on its twin, the Toyota Supra, two months ago.

Since premiering in 2018, only the eight-speed Steptronic ‘box has been offered on the M40i, with a six-speed manual available in some markets as standard on the entry-level 2.0-litre engine sDrive20i.

Manual gearbox rumoured for BMW Z4 M40i
Roadster won’t be continuing after 2025.

Reportedly on course to receive what is likely to be its first and final facelift this year, the manual-shifting Z4 M40i will continue with the 285kW/500Nm version of the B58 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six engine, though with a likely drop in weight as a result of the transmission.

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Currently tipping the scales at 1 535 kg, the likely drop will impact upon performance with a slower 0-100 km/h time compared to the Steptronic’s 4.1 second claim. The limited top speed though is unlikely to change from the current 250 km/h.

If proven accurate, it would be mark the first time since 2016 in some markets that a six-cylinder Z4 will have the option of a manual transmission.

Manual gearbox rumoured for BMW Z4 M40i
Six-speed manual gearbox from the Supra is BMW made and could, therefore, feature on the Z4 M40i.

For now, talk is centring on the European-spec Z4 M40i benefitting from the three-pedal box, however, suspicion is other markets will be included either towards the end of this year or in early-2023.

Currently, no Z4 has the option of a manual in South Africa, thus rendering the chances of the row-it-yourself M40i slim if the rumours prove accurate.

Despite Toyota having approved the manual Supra for South Africa, with sales set to start soon after its public showing at next month’s Kyalami Festival of Motoring, it remains to be seen whether BMW does the same should the manual Z4 M40i come to fruition.