BMW is fitting the Z4 M40i with a row-your-own gears option. The six-speed manual and six-cylinder powerplant combination are aimed at fans of “exhilarating driving pleasure,” says BMW.
The so-called “Handschalter” (German for “hand shift”) version of the Z4 M40i delivers 335 bhp from its 3.0-litre twin-scroll turbo motor and drives the rear wheels via a stick-shift transmission that BMW says it developed specifically for the roadster. (Though we suspect it can’t be all that different from that in the manual-transmission Toyota GR Supra 3.0, with which the Z4 shares its platform and engine.) BMW says the modular transmission uses M-specific components for the gear set and shafts, along with a custom-made shift lever and linkage. The company promises a “mechanical feel for which BMW manuals have been praised.”
The added engagement has a small cost, however. The six-speed manual Z4 takes 4.6 seconds to accelerate to 62 mph – a whole one tenth of a second slower than the eight-speed auto. A pittance, for a third pedal, we say.
The Z4’s electronically controlled active dampers have a software update the Handschalter Z4, along with new springs front and rear. More special programming has gone into the variable sport steering system, the traction control, and M Sport differential. New light alloy wheels are fitted, with a staggered set-up: 19 inches in width at the front and 20 inches at the rear, and M Sport brakes come as standard. Exterior tweaks include a Shadowline trim as standard with gloss black mirror caps, unique badging, red brake calipers, and redesigned flaps around the rear arches for improved airflow. The manual version will be the only to offer San Remo Green metallic paint (a no-cost option), while BMW Individual’s Frozen Deep Green, also Handschalter-exclusive, will be available “at a special package price.”
The Z4 Handschalter will be available from the spring priced from £60,675.