The BMW Z4 Handschalter brings the manual back to the roadster one final Time along with a host of important tweaks.

Say hello to the 2025 BMW Z4 M40i “Handschalter” (German for “hand shift”), the brainchild of a small skunkworks team within BMW that had one goal – to make the Z4 a driver’s car. But the Z4 Handschalter isn’t just manual transmission Z4 as we know it. The car has been subtle but importantly tweaked with chassis changes and a new wheel and tire set-up that evokes the M3 and M4.

The Z4 Handschalter is all about the inline six and manual tradition in roadster form. It all started with the race winning BMW 328 in 1936 and was then recaptured with the 1978 Z1 – itself a product of a skunkworks team known at the time as BMW Technik. After than came the series production of the 1995 Z3 and finally two generations of the Z4.

The Tweaks that Brought the BMW Z4 Handschalter to Life

Under the hood of the BMW Z4 M40i is the familiar 3.0L with 382 hp between 5,800 and 6,500 rpm, and of 369 lb-ft of torque available from 1,800 and 5,000 rpm. This takes the Z4 M40i to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and tops out an electronically limited 155 mph. We’ve long loved this engine and it’s free-revving nature perfectly fits the control a manual gives you.

The new 6-speed manual gearbox was developed specifically for the BMW Z4 M40i. More specifically it’s a BMW modular transmission (supplied by Getrag) that has been altered for the B58B30O1 engine’s output. Key to this are the M-specific components for the gear set and shafts. The outer shift mechanism comprising the shift lever, its guide, and the connection to the transmission, has been specially engineered for use in the BMW Z4 M40i and reportedly delivers mechanical similar to the best BMW manuals of the recent past. We’ll find out for ourselves later this year.

Why is the manual so important for driving involvement? It’s a question that any manual driver doesn’t need answered. But for others it’s pretty simple. The direct flow of power between engine and transmission combined with the driver’s central involvement in gear changes reinforces the bond between driver and vehicle. In other words the driver has more direct control over the car via the clutch, accelerator and gear lever creating a bond that even the best manually controlled automatics cannot match. The key output in all of this is driver engagement and (dare we say it) fun.

Refined chassis tuning and a New Wheel and Tire Set-up

Moving on to the chassis – variable sport steering, M Sport brakes, an M Sport differential, and adaptive M suspension all come standard on the Z4 M40i no matter what transmission you choose. However those who opt the BMW Z4 Handschalter get unique chassis tuning intended to sharpen responses and elevate the overall driving experience. Exclusive chassis technology created for the manual option includes unique auxiliary springs at the front and rear axles and a specially reinforced anti-roll bar clamp fitted at the front. Mapping for electronic control of the rear dampers and the software for the variable sport steering have been reconfigured accordingly. BMW also recalibrated the traction control and M Sport differential with logic that allows for more wheel slip and even the ability to drift.

As part of the Handschalter package there are also staggered-size wheels and tires . The new bi-color M light-alloy wheels in a double-spoke design measure 19 inches at the front axle and 20 inches at the rear. Previously reserved for high-performance models from BMW M GmbH, this setup enables optimum transfer of drive power to the road while providing a progressive and predictable transmission of lateral forces in hard cornering.

BWM Z4 Handschalter Unique Colors & Trim

The Handschalter package also adds a handful of design features to the exterior of the Z4 that define it as unique. This includes extended Shadowline black high-gloss exterior trim on the exterior mirror caps and badging. BMW also added specially designed flaps for managing the airflow around the rear wheel arches due to the larger tire and wheel size. Finally the Handschalter package comes with red callipers for the M Sport brakes.

Included in the price of the package is the choice of metallic paints including San Remo Green metallic, an exclusive color for the BMW Z4 Handschalter. Also available exclusively on the Handschalter package is BMW Individual Frozen Deep Green metallic, offered at a special package price.
Inside the Z4 Handschalter has five shades of interior leather at no charge including Cognac with unique black M piping complemented by interior trim in black high-gloss. Black Alcantara combined with Black Vernasca leather with blue contrast stitching is also available as part of the package.

Early Verdicts

BMW offered a few journalists early prototype drives and the praise has been resounding. Many have commented on the sharper steering and the increased communication through the wheel. The revised suspension seems to offer both increase control and feel while still being comfortable over broken pavement. Most importantly those who have driven the Z4 Handschalter and the manual Supra have come away with the same conclusion – BMW’s version of the manual is better.

The BMW Z4 Handschalter Package will be available beginning with March production for $3,500. And yes, this will be the last manual roadster to come from BMW.

The BMW Z4 Handschalter Photo Gallery