The BMW Z4 M40i Handschalter is here, and it’s got a stick-shift! Here’s everything you need to know about this new enthusiast-focused roadster.

The current generation of BMW Z4 is a sports car that doesn’t feel all that sporty, certainly compared to some of the other two-door roadsters on the market. However, if you want a bit more involvement and fun from the driving experience, the new BMW Z4 M40i Handschalter looks set to be a step in the right direction, featuring a bespoke six-speed manual gearbox.

new Z4 manual gearbox

BMW Z4 M40i Handschalter package

We’ll cut straight to the chase. The headline feature of this new Z4 M40i is surely its transmission options. BMW claims that it has developed this six-speed manual specifically for this car, much like how Toyota went to great lengths to develop a manual version of the GR Supra (which I’m sure you know shares a platform with this generation of Z4). Cynics would question why not just steal the Toyota ‘box? Especially since that transmission was transformative for the Supra’s enjoyment factor. But the realities and legalities of car development are a little more complicated than that, so let’s take BMW’s claim of a bespoke gearbox at face value.

You can of course buy the new Z4 M40i with an automatic transmission as well; the manual option coming as part of the ‘Handschalter’ edition, which literally translates to ‘Hand shifter’ in German.

rear of BMW Z4 M40i Handschalter

New aesthetic elements

In addition to the new stick shift, Handschalter cars will receive exterior trim pieces finished in gloss black, as well as dark badging. Red brake calipers add a burst of color into the mix, and speaking of which, there are notable new paint options too. The standout offering is Frozen Deep Green (or, BMW M5 CS green, to you and me), and there are five different shades of Vernasca leather upholstery available on the inside. So, if you’re part of the ‘green on tan’ collective, fill your boots!

Manual versions of the Z4 M40i will also get staggered alloys; 19 inch wheels up front and 20 inches in the rear.

Interior of Z4 M40I Handschalter

Price & performance

The Handschalter manual package will add around $3500 to the retail price of a new BMW Z4 M40i, before individual paint option costs. That’s not the only added cost to be aware of either. A manual gearbox will come at the expense of a 0.1-second slower 0-60mph time, and marginally worse fuel economy – though that’s a small price to pay in my eyes.

Dynamically, the Handschalter should feel lither than the auto too, thanks to a better reinforced anti-roll bar, revised damping and steering software, and new ‘model-specific logic’ for the differential.

The Z4 isn’t the only sporty BMW that’s received some new revisions though. Here’s the low-down on the new M4 Competition update.