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Manual gearbox returns to BMWs Z4 roadster. Image by BMW.

Manual gearbox returns to BMWs Z4 roadster
Six-speed manual gearbox is designed to add more driver engagement to the 3.0-litre Z4 M40i.
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What's all this about?

BMW is bringing three-pedal driving back to the Z4 range, with a new range-topping manual version of the most powerful 3.0-litre M40i model. According to BMW, the new model provides greater driver involvement and a more purist driving experience.

That should keep the purists happy...

Thats the idea. Originally, the basic, 2.0-litre Z4 sDrive20i model was available with a manual gearbox, but when the car was facelifted, that fell by the wayside. Now, though, BMW has brought it back with the sportier M40i model, which has a 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine producing 340hp.

According to BMW, that model has accounted for 30 per cent of the cars global sales volume, and this manual version (dubbed the Pure Impulse) is designed to appeal to petrol-head customers.

So what has BMW done, exactly?

Its as simple as it sounds. The company has taken the existing Z4 M40i, pulled the eight-speed automatic gearbox out and fitted a six-speed manual. Its a custom-made transmission, modified specifically for the straight-sixs output and with its own shift mechanism, including a bespoke gear lever and gate.

Is that it?

Basically, yes, but there are some other subtle tweaks. To accommodate the new gearboxs characteristics, the traction control and differential had to be tweaked, while this is the first Z4 to get mixed-size wheels. With 19-inch alloys at the front and 20-inch rims at the rear, the Z4 is supposed to be better at getting its power down, but the change has necessitated a tweak to the suspension, and the Pure Impulse gets slightly different damping and steering settings for sharper handling.

Apart from the involvement, what else does it do?

Not a lot, really. It means the Z4 M40i is a bit slower, taking 4.6 seconds to get from 0-62mph, rather than the 4.5 normally seen in the eight-speed auto, but otherwise theres very little difference.

I like the green...

Ah, yes. BMW has made a few changes for the Pure Impulse Z4, which it describes as a special edition. European cars get Frozen Deep Green paint, while American cars get San Remo Green, although customers can choose to swap these colours for any existing Z4 paint job if they so wish.

Inside, meanwhile, the Cognac leather with black piping is exclusive to the Pure Impulse, and its complemented by interior trim strips in black high-gloss plastic.

Go on then. How much?

The manual Z4 is available to order now with prices starting at 63,145, which makes it 5,900 more expensive than the automatic Z4 M40i.

James Fossdyke - 31 Jan 2024

Earlier articles featuring 2024 BMW Z4

2023-05-23: BMW shows off Concept Touring Coupe

2024 BMW Z4 LCI M40i Manual. Image by BMW.2024 BMW Z4 LCI M40i Manual. Image by BMW.2024 BMW Z4 LCI M40i Manual. Image by BMW.2024 BMW Z4 LCI M40i Manual. Image by BMW.2024 BMW Z4 LCI M40i Manual. Image by BMW.

2024 BMW Z4 LCI M40i Manual. Image by BMW.2024 BMW Z4 LCI M40i Manual. Image by BMW.2024 BMW Z4 LCI M40i Manual. Image by BMW.2024 BMW Z4 LCI M40i Manual. Image by BMW.2024 BMW Z4 LCI M40i Manual. Image by BMW.    - BMW road tests
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