Why the BMW Z4 M40i Manual Is the Top Choice for 2024

The BMW G29 Z4 M40i range lacks a manual transmission, a curious omission for a dedicated sports car. While some markets offered a six-speed Z4, it was limited to the base model with lower performance. Surprisingly, even the more powerful 30i four-cylinder turbo variant didn’t offer a manual option.

The Toyota GR Supra, mechanically akin to the Z4, swiftly introduced a manual variant, earning praise from owners and media. BMW’s choice not to offer a manual Z4 seems even more perplexing. A manual transmission delivers a level of engagement and connection absent in an automatic, even with the excellent ZF 8HP and its responsive paddle shifters. It doesn’t make the Supra any faster (it takes a few tenths longer to reach sixty).

BMW is fixing things by bringing a manual Z40 M40i in 2024, four years after the Z4’s debut. A BMW enthusiast got to try out an early prototype and was seriously impressed. The six-cylinder manual Z4 convinced them it’s the sports car to get next year.

BMW owner’s manuals haven’t ranked among the best, trailing Porsche and others like Honda and Mazda. These manufacturers have excelled with precise manual shifters that enhance the driving experience with each gear change. Notably, the GR Supra, the Z4’s Japanese counterpart, features a manual shifter distinct from BMW’s ambiguous and soft manuals of the past.

BMW has no intentions of replacing the current Z4, which is expected to remain in production for another two years. The absence of plans to replace it with an electric vehicle suggests BMW’s reluctance to continue Z4 production.

The G29 BMW Z4, even without the manual, ranks among the company’s most enjoyable and captivating models. It offers a similar experience to an M car but without the overwhelming power that can be intimidating. The 2025 BMW Z4 M40i is an exceptional package that will be further enhanced with the addition of a manual transmission. This should be your top pick if you’re a sports car enthusiast seeking a new car with a manual gearbox next year.

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