BMW’s Sole Roadster, the Z4, Is Getting a Manual Transmission for 2025

Jackson Wheeler
6 Min Read

  • Roadsters are few and far between these days, but BMW has managed to continue producing its Z4 roadster in conjunction with the Toyota Supra.
  • For 2025, the top-of-the-line BMW Z4 M40i will feature a 6-speed manual transmission, specifically tuned for the drop-top sports coupe.
  • Staggered wheels, upgraded suspension, and updated dynamic software are also included with the special-edition manual transmission units.

It’s no secret that the Toyota Supra is based on BMW’s Z4 architecture, but there has been one key difference since the last model years. After initial disappointment over the lack of a manual transmission in the resurrected Toyota Supra, BMW and Toyota remedied the enthusiast problem swiftly, offering a row-your-own option for both powerplants in 2022.

Now, BMW’s only true roadster is due for an update, marking the beginning of the 2025 model year. And what better way to stoke some enthusiast goodwill than to add a manual transmission? No matter the low number of Z4s sold annually (1883 cars in 2023), there is still room for fun at a serious company like BMW.

Paired with a 382-hp, 369-lb-ft of torque turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine, the 2025 BMW Z4 M40i will feature a 6-speed manual transmission for the first time in its current generation. Notably, the new manual gearbox installed in the Z4 M40i was optimized specifically for the roadster, according to BMW.

Even though the Toyota Supra and BMW Z4 share a production platform and powerplants, it’s not surprising that BMW would opt to design a model-specific transmission and shifter. In fact, Toyota has previously said the manual transmission in the Supra was tailored specifically for the model, too.

In the case of the BMW Z4, the modular transmission has been modified with an M-specific gear set and shafts. BMW says the shift lever, its guide, and the connection to the transmission itself are also specific to the Z4. Drag times do suffer from the addition of a stick shift, taking 4.2 seconds to hit 60 mph from a dig. That’s 0.3 seconds slower than the 8-speed Steptronic-equipped model.

The addition of the manual transmission isn’t the only dynamic change for the refreshed Z4. BMW is revising its approach to the tire and wheel setup on the Z4. Instead of offering 19-inch wheels all around, the top trim Z4 M40i will run on light-alloy wheels measuring 19 inches at the front and 20 inches at the rear, creating a staggered setup.

This staggered arrangement comes standard with the manual transmission equipped Z4, in addition to unique auxiliary springs at the front and rear axles plus a specially reinforced anti-roll bar clamp. Damping rates in the rear and the steering software are also altered specifically for the stick shift Z4.

However, variable sport steering, M Sport brakes, an M Sport differential at the rear axle, and adaptive M suspension continue to be standard across the Z4 M40i lineup. Similarly, the exterior styling and interior appointments remain largely the same for 2025, though manual transmission models can be optioned with custom exterior colors and leather trim.

With a curb weight of 3500 pounds, the current Z4 certainly isn’t as light as the original Mazda Miata or other roadsters of note. Even so, the fact that BMW continues to produce a true roadster is a testament to its sporting heritage.

“An inline 6-cylinder engine, manual gearbox, and rear-wheel drive defined the driving experience in the original BMW 328, which capped its debut public appearance in 1936 with victory in the Eifelrennen race at the Nürburgring,” representatives from BMW explained.

“In later generations, evolutions of this arrangement have continued to power the brand’s roadsters; the BMW Z1, which was unveiled in 1987 after being developed as an innovation testbed by BMW Technik, and the BMW Z3 presented in 1995,” the release reads.

Known as the 2025 BMW Z4 M40i “Handschalter” (German for hand shift), adding on a manual transmission will cost an extra $3500. Pricing for the 2025 BMW Z4 has yet to be announced, though the 2024 BMW Z4 M40i started at $67,295. As such, prospective buyers can expect a starting price north of $70,000 come March.

Would you rather have a Porsche Boxster or a manual-equipped BMW Z4 M40i? Why? Please share your thoughts below.

Headshot of Emmet White

A New York transplant hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Emmet White has a passion for anything that goes: cars, bicycles, planes, and motorcycles. After learning to ride at 17, Emmet worked in the motorcycle industry before joining Autoweek in 2022. The woes of alternate side parking have kept his fleet moderate, with a 2014 Volkswagen Jetta GLI and a 2003 Honda Nighthawk 750 street parked in his South Brooklyn community.

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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