Home » The 2025 BMW Z4 M40i Manual Is Proof That Someone At BMW Still Cares

The 2025 BMW Z4 M40i Manual Is Proof That Someone At BMW Still Cares

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We knew this was coming, but like a surprise birthday party leaked a bit too soon, we’re still pleased to see it. The 2025 BMW Z4 M40i manual is likely the last stick-shift, non-M BMW we’ll ever get in America, but it’s more important than just the end of an era. It’s living, breathing proof that the BMW enthusiasts fell in love with is still alive somewhere deep in the bowels of the modern luxury brand machine.

P90535772 Highres The Bmw Z4 M40i manual shifter

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This latest BMW roadster is clearly an endearing thing both to fans and to the people who made it. While it was being engineered, it earned the nickname of Handschalter, which in this context is essentially German for stick-shift, at least if my years of parsing German used-car classifieds are anything to go by. No alphanumeric designations or obfuscating codenames here, just heart-on-sleeve love for the manual transmission. It’s hard not to love dedication like that.

You might be wondering what’s so special about an apparent parts-bin car, since the Toyota GR Supra is basically a Z4 Coupe that you’ve been able to buy with a ZF S6 six-speed manual transmission for well over a year now. Well, beyond the manual transmission, the stick-equipped Z4 M40i is so much more than just a manual swap. Compared to the GR Supra, the BMW gets a unique shifter linkage – and that’s just the beginning.

P90535754 Highres The Bmw Z4 M40i manual With

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The obvious hint of greater changes than just a transmission is the presence of staggered-diameter wheels. Measuring 19 inches up front and 20 inches out back, these differing-diameter wheels mark the first time something like this has been used on a non-M BMW, and the front- and rear-specific sizes should work together with other subtle tweaks to change the behavior of BMW’s roadster.

P90535746 Highres The Bmw Z4 M40i With

New hard parts include unique front and rear bump stops, reinforced front anti-roll bar mounting, and a final drive ratio of 3.46:1, up from 3.15:1 in the automatic car. Unsurprisingly, effective gear ratios are nearly identical to those in the manual GR Supra, with a minute difference coming down to a 0.1-inch difference in overall tire diameter. However, new calibration for the rear dampers, electric power steering, traction control, and electronically-variable limited-slip rear differential should imbue the manual Z4 with a slightly different character than its automatic counterpart, some perks for choosing to row your own gears.

P90535760 Highres The Bmw Z4 M40i With

Speaking of perks: If you like green, the manual Z4 M40i has you covered, with both San Remo Green Metallic and satin Frozen Deep Green Metallic on the menu just for this special trim. Oh, and going further to keep the internet happy, you can pair either green paint job with a Cognac interior that features model-specific black door cards. Hey, green over tan is a classic combination.

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P90535755 Highres The Bmw Z4 M40i With

The mere existence of the Z4 M40i manual should make you happy, because it means that deep inside BMW, someone understands that a great performance car isn’t just about numbers. Even if the 382-horsepower manual Z4 M40i boasts a claimed zero-to-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds, it seems to acknowledge that a great performance car’s about the driving experience, and all the little tweaks and optimizations to make a car feel more intuitive, more confident, more alive.

2025 BMW Z4 M40i manual rear three quarters

Even better? This isn’t some limited-batch special. Sure, the manual transmission and all its tweaks costs $3,500 more than a Z4 M40i with an automatic, but anyone who wants one can order it. Expect the Handschalter to hit showrooms this Spring, right in time for drop-top weather. Sure, you could get a Porsche 718 Boxster for similar money, but the Z4 M40i manual makes an outstanding case for itself.

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pizzaman09
pizzaman09
14 days ago

As someone that dailies an e36 M3 coupe with a 5 speed and previously daily drove an e38 M5, I like this car. The only issue I have with it is that I can buy an amazing vintage BMW for the price. Like a manual e31 or a stunning e9. Call me pleased that BMW is offering this and I’m quite intrigued by it.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
18 days ago

This is good stuff. I’ll keep my first gen though.

Ariel E Jones
Ariel E Jones
22 days ago

I hate staggered diameter wheels. Am I the only one? Staggered fitment, wider rear drive wheels/tires looks bad ass, like God intended. In a situation like the Plymouth Prowler where it’s really exaggerated and it’s such an oddball car, fine. Otherwise, why?

David Hershey
David Hershey
22 days ago
Reply to  Ariel E Jones

A larger rear contact patch theoretically might give you more off the line, but really it’s about dialing in understeer. Since about 96, BMW lawyers have been scared to death of unskilled drivers who can’t handle a car that goes immediately where you point it, and will oversteer if pushed beyond the limit combined with a throttle lift. Better to plow through a corner than go around. Of course today BMWs also have every manor of electronic esp to try to save us from ourselves…

67 Oldsmobile
67 Oldsmobile
21 days ago
Reply to  Ariel E Jones

I agree. I’ve never liked how it makes the car look ass-heavy. There are probably some reasons our goth-uncle would care to elaborate on,but I think it looks shit.

Ariel E Jones
Ariel E Jones
20 days ago
Reply to  67 Oldsmobile

Right? I really don’t know if it’s just a design aesthetic or if there’s real engineering behind it. I have a Chrysler Crossfire. I replaced the stocks with a staggered set of 20s. Looks and works just fine.

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
22 days ago

Green is awesome. And I choose cognac (or brown) leather any time it is available. Does anyone want a black interior? Who wants white? Brown, tan (and in distant third place) gray are the way to go.

Unfortunately even when OEMs offer those interior colors, you never see them on a lot. Green with cognac? Nope, let me order 50 in silver/black.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
18 days ago
Reply to  Vic Vinegar

That’s literally what BMW USA does to their dealers.

Dealers are allocated Silver/Black cars – which the dealers can change up to a few weeks before production to a different spec according to a client order or dealer whim.

So when you walk into a dealer and say “I want a Green/Cognac Manual Z4”, unless one has been ordered on a whim – the dealer will have to look into what’s available in their pre-production allocation and change the color & options for you.

After you make a deposit.

Then you wait.

Last edited 18 days ago by Urban Runabout
Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
18 days ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

Huh, I always thought you could do a true custom order with BMW. Check the boxes, put the order in, get exactly what you want. Guess not?

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
18 days ago
Reply to  Vic Vinegar

Only if they have allocation for that model – Then they’re changing the specs of that car in that allocated build slot for you.

So if you want a purple M5 with a green interior – the dealer needs an allocation of an M5 in an upcoming build slot that has not already been spoken for to change the specs for your order. Then the factory needs to confirm that they’ll actually accept your order for a purple M5 with a green interior.

If the dealer and the region have used up all their allocation and can’t manage to get an additional allocation from the factory – or the factory taste-police say” No” to your special request – No purple/green M5 for you.

Last edited 18 days ago by Urban Runabout
Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
22 days ago

Nice…glad the buck teeth were kept to a minimum

Rod Millington
Rod Millington
22 days ago

This is great and is an example of exactly what I have been saying for a few years now. To keep being able to offer the manual, just offer it at an upcharge over the automatic. Sure the take up rate will be low, but you make more money from each one sold.

It’s just a reverse of the decades where going from manual to automatic was a $1-2000 upcharge.

Fuzzyweis
Fuzzyweis
22 days ago

I don’t get what the lowercase i stands for in cars, M40i, Subaru 2.5i, iDrive, is it an iphone holdover? Are we still doing the i things for that?

Rod Millington
Rod Millington
22 days ago
Reply to  Fuzzyweis

Traditionally in BMW land the i stood for fuel injection.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
23 days ago

The front and side look to me like a 2nd gen of the miata based Fiat 124…which is much nicer to look at than anything else BMW currently.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
23 days ago

Any new BMW that hasn’t been sullied with unnecessary grille shenanigans AND has a manual transmission is going to get a thumbs up from me. Even if it has a bit too much ‘stylist enthusiasm’. The price is about what it should be at sticker. Only problem, is that no real enthusiast cars go for sticker anymore. I suspect they will be list at about $83K if you go to a dealership.

I’m still trying to find a Supra or a Z in my preferred spec at sticker, but have met with no success. Whichever one I can find first will likely replace one of my other boats. If this shows up at a reasonable price, I will of course include it in the list of potential candidates.

Very nice package.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
23 days ago
Reply to  Doctor Nine

At the end, it’s still a BMW.

Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
23 days ago
Reply to  Doctor Nine

I was under the impression that although you may need to be picky about what dealer you go to, luxury cars that can actually be ordered to spec, typically can be found without markup.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
23 days ago

This. BMW will actually let you order a car to spec and they won’t charge you over asking. My dad custom ordered an X5 50e this summer and it was a super seamless process with 0 shenanigans. I also spent a while browsing listings for him before he ultimately decided to order and I didn’t come across any Bimmers that were marked up…and I’ve browsed M car listings myself for fun plenty and I don’t see anything go for over MSRP.

Markups aren’t super common in the luxury segment. While it’s easy for your average Honda or Toyota dealership to talk someone buying an NPC mobile into paying over sticker that shit doesn’t fly with the average luxury buyer. Really the only time I’ve seen it is on super special Porsches and those things have pretty much always led to bidding wars.

I’ve heard of Acrua dealers trying shit with the Integra Type S and TLX Type S but no one seems to be budging because those cars aren’t hard to find.

Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
22 days ago

Yeah definitely seen some markups on 911s that weren’t even that special, but in that case there’s still the option to shop around.

I wish Hyundai let you properly build out an N car, but that’s part of the reason that the Ioniq 5 N costs less than half as much as a Taycan with comparable performance.

The thing I don’t understand about Hyundai and Kia both is the weird way they play around with features within a model lineup. My Niro EV doesn’t have seat memory or that mirror shift on backup feature, despite using the exact same controller that is used in the PHEV which does have those features. The mirror module is the main thing holding the EV back, but I can’t see there being any real difference in component cost. Technically the EV is more premium as well which makes it even more frustrating. It does have auto-closing mirrors which to me is 1000% less useful.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
23 days ago

please somebody buy a few so I can get a used one at some point. Pretty please?

Alexk98
Alexk98
23 days ago

Consider this an additional reminder that if we yell at automakers loudly enough, we might actually get what we want

Chronometric
Chronometric
23 days ago

Wow, a BMW I actually like. If only I weren’t too cheap to spend $70k on an another impractical car.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
23 days ago

I love this thing so damn much and it’s clearly a labor of love that they had no financial reason to undertake. They clearly did this because they wanted to and it shows. Between the different wheel and tire setup, the different hardware, and the different steering and damper tuning, they decided to make it an entire experience rather than a simple transmission swap.

The fact that unique greens that are available over cognac are on offer for only the manual version is icing on the cake and an ode to the classic roadsters of old. Are either of those colors BRG, the greatest color automative history? Not quite, but you can tell they’re an homage to it, and that this entire package is a farewell letter to the timeless and perfect roadster formula.

Two seats. Manual gearbox. Light (ish, I see you Toecutter, 3,300 pounds is still pretty good for 2024). Tossable. Meant for the twisties. And to bring it all together you have the glorious B58. It’s hands down the best modern BMW engine and I think you can make an argument that it’s the peak of ICE. The combination of power, gas mileage that exceeds a lot of 4 cylinders, and sound is pretty perfect.

And you can have it with a manual in either the Supra or this. Just awesome stuff. It is indeed good to know there are still some folks at BMW who remember their roots and want to keep this sort of car alive. Unfortunately I am not even vaguely in a position to acquire one and I’m sure they’re going to be considered collector cars almost right away, so I may never be.

But if you are and you love BMW? Do it! Sure, this is 718, C8, etc. money. But I think that one of these would be so much cooler and more unique than just about anything in this class. And I’m just going to say it-this is cooler than any current M car. Don’t @ me.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
23 days ago

@’ing you just to be contrarian, even though I 100% agree. Well said.

I wish the styling were less cluttered but at least there’s no lung shaped “kidney” grill.

Cautionary Tail-Light
Cautionary Tail-Light
21 days ago

Is this thing the new Clownshoe? The “skunkworks” BMW that the engineers managed to sneak out while the marketing and [over-] styling departments were looking the other way?

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
23 days ago

Also an LSD in a Non-M BMW is a big deal

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
23 days ago

Since the turbo era yes, but getting a LSD in many non-Ms was easy from 80s to 2000s.

Mike F.
Mike F.
22 days ago

If it’s the same eLSD that’s in my M240, then it’s not very impressive. I ended up putting a mechanical LSD from BMW in mine and it made a world of difference. Here’s hoping the stock diff in the Z4 is better.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
23 days ago

> 2025 BMW Z4 *M40i* manual is likely the last stick-shift, *non-M* BMW

sigh

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
23 days ago

No mention of the best part?!?! No giant kidney grill you would have to pretend is not hideous like the G8x M3/4 6spd!

Beer-light Guidance
Beer-light Guidance
23 days ago
Reply to  Brian Ash

The rest of the car is still ugly though. I think the Supra looks much better in person but every time I see one of these on the road I still think “they could have done so much better”.

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
23 days ago

Yeah the body is complicated and I am not a fan ridges going up both sides of the hood, but my expectations of BMW aren’t very high these days so it’s barely acceptable

Beer-light Guidance
Beer-light Guidance
23 days ago
Reply to  Brian Ash

A lot of their choices these days are really hard to understand. I think the 5 still looks good and I think the 8 is pretty great, but the rest is bad to terrible. The giant grills are awful and the XM SUV and the 7 series are some of the worst looking cars I have ever seen. The first time I saw the 2 Gran Coupe I thought it was a Corolla or Camry but that is really insulting to Toyota because the latest version of both of those are way better looking.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
23 days ago

I think the X3, X5, and X7 look decent to good. I don’t mind the current 2 Series (coupes, the gran coupe is an abomination) but I get that it’s polarizing. The 3 series is fine outside of the M3 and the 8 series is elegant and looks great despite its age. The 4 series and 7 series are absolute abominations in the eyes of god…and the XM might be the ugliest car in human history and the iX isn’t far behind.

I don’t think it’s so much an issue that BMW design is bad across the board, and Doug made a good point in his video of the new i5 that every single new BMW has been criticized by enthusiasts for being ugly pretty much forever. I think it’s moreso that their bad designs are so shockingly awful that it taints everything else to a degree.

I understand why they do it…their brand has grown a ton in the luxury space and in the era of social media and off the rails end stage capitalism/turbocharged tasteless conspicuous consumption people don’t care if something is ugly or unwieldy looking if it gets them attention. No press is bad press for the rabid consumerists that want to buy their products to flex and go viral. Even if their electric yellow M4 or blacked out iX is objectively hideous at the end of the day they’re being noticed, which is what they crave.

But that doesn’t make it lame. It’s definitely lame and I get why so many enthusiasts are shunning the roundel…however the fact that stuff like this manual Z4 and the M2 exist tells me that there are still some folks over there who care about us weirdos. And that’s reassuring.

I’m nearing the point that I don’t really care if they make hideous, ungainly odes to conspicuous consumption if it means that we still get stuff like this. I see it as roughly the equivalent of Porsche selling Macans and Cayennes…if it keeps the 911 and 718 alive and well then I’m fine with it.

Beer-light Guidance
Beer-light Guidance
22 days ago

I think you have a more charitable view of their lineup than I do, but I take your point. I think the difference with Porsche in my mind is at least the money makers aren’t hideous and they are not infecting the great stuff with a bad design language. If anything it goes the other way in that I would be interested in seeing what a Panamera that didn’t feel obligated to pay homage to a 911 would look like. Maybe they have already answered that with the Taycan, which if I could get one for the price that first gen Panameras are going for I would have one.

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