A fully fledged M model, last offered in 2008, will remain a forbidden entity for the BMW Z4 as it reaches the twilight stage of its lifecycle.
Reportedly on track to the discontinued by 2025, the Z4, which currently ranks as one of Munich’s slowest selling global models, benefited from what is believed to be a one and only mid-life revision last year after being introduced in 2018.
No new ‘clown shoe’
Despite calls for an M model and even a coupe along lines of the E85 Z4 M Coupe and the now sought-after Z3 Coupe, better known by its nickname “clown shoe”, Z4 product boss, Michael Wimbeck, stated that neither will become reality simply as a result of there being no feasible demand.
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Although admitting that a number of engineers had wanted to pursue to the idea of a M model, Wimbeck was quoted by the BMW Blog as saying that after eventual number crunching was made, little sense existed for it to introduce a model above the range-topping M40i.
In a preceding in interview not long after the debut of the Z4’s twin, the Toyota Supra in 2019, Australian-born designer of the current G29 Z4, Calvin Luk, said plans for a hard-top roadster or even a coupe never turned-up during development as plans had already been approved to offer solely with a soft-top.
“From the beginning we knew that it was going to be a soft-top mostly just because of the performance advantage in terms of the weight, so we didn’t need to mock up an alternative to that,” Luk told Australia’s goauto.com.au at the time.
Row-it-yourself M40i likely
In spite of the downturn, what could potentially materialise is the Z4 following in the wheel tracks of the Supra by gaining the six-speed manual gearbox Munich largely helped to develop.
Again the claims of the BMW Blog, a unnamed BMW spokesperson hinted at the possibility of a three-pedal layout making its way into the M40i offered until now solely with the eight-speed Steptronic gearbox.
While a manual gearbox is already available in certain markets, only the entry-level Z4 sDrive 20i has been the recipient, with the other global model, the sDrive 30i, being automatic-only similar to the M40i.
The introduction of a manual ‘box could further count in the Z4 M40i’s favour, albeit in Europe, which never received the upgraded 285kW/500Nm version of the 3.0-litre B58 turbocharged straight-six Australia, North America and indeed South Africa all got in various stages of roll-out since 2020.
South Africa pricing
As per Z4 production ending within the next 18 months, chances are that a manual M40i could be introduced later this year or even in 2024 should approval be given.
For now, the G29 Z4 prevails solely with the automatic and in South Africa, priced at R963 645 for the sDrive 20i M Sport and at R1 286 537 for the M40i.