One of BMW’s best-looking vehicles is receiving a manual transmission for the first time for the 2025 model year. A small team at BMW used the German term “Handschalter”, or “hand-shift” in English, as the internal project name for the 382-horsepower six-speed manual 2025 Z4 M40i. Since the G29 chassis’ introduction in 2019, this eye-pleasing and sporty roadster has only been available with an eight-speed ZF8-HP automatic—a wonderful transmission by any standard, but nothing can compare to the experience of rowing your own gears for many die-hard enthusiasts.

The manual-only M40i “Handschalter” package adds a number of other goodies in addition to the three-pedal setup. Per BMW, for the price of $3,500 you receive:

  • Vernasca leather upholstery with a choice of five shades.
    • Cognac/Black with Black M piping unique to manual version.
    • Black Alcantara / Black Vernasca leather combination or Black SensaTec also available.
  • Metallic paint in choice of seven shades or Alpine White non-metallic
    • San Remo Green metallic only available on the manual-transmission-equipped Z4.
    • Exclusive BMW Individual Frozen Deep Green metallic available for $2,950.
  • 19-inch front / 20-inch rear wheel and tire package.
  • Extended Shadowline trim and mirror caps in black high-gloss.

BMW explains, “Variable sport steering, M Sport brakes, an M Sport differential at the rear axle, and adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled dampers all remain standard equipment on the Z4 M40i regardless of the gearbox chosen.” However, some additional spices in the form of “chassis tuning” are added to the pot for the manual-equipped cars. BMW says, “Unique auxiliary springs [have been indeed] at the front and rear axles and a specially reinforced anti-roll bar clamp fitted at the front. Both the mapping for electronic control of the rear dampers and the software for the variable sport steering have been reconfigured. Finally, the traction control and M Sport differential incorporate model-specific control logic.”

The 3.0-liter B58B30O1 straight six carries over and produces 382 horsepower between 5,800 and 6,500 rpm, and 369 lb-ft of torque between 1,800 and 5,000 rpm. That’s plenty of power and torque to propel this 3,500-pound roadster to 60 in just 4.2 seconds.

Car and Driver reported the eight-speed automatic 2023 Z4 M40i can hit 60 in just 3.5 seconds, but for some driving isn’t always about what stats are better on paper. I’d gladly take a slower manual-equipped car to have a more enjoyable and engaging experience behind the wheel. While manuals used to be “standard” and we would pay more for the optional automatic, the world has changed. In today’s automotive landscape, $3,500 for the manual-transmission package in the 2025 Z4 M40i seems like a bargain. —Mike Bevels

[Photos courtesy of BMW.]



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