BMW is unlikely to offer a manual gearbox as an option on its new 2019 BMW Z4. The convertible sports car exists in a niche segment to begin with, and adding in the choice of a manual transmission would slice an already small take rate into quantities too small to matter.
Speaking to Road & Track, BMW's head of R&D Klaus Fröhlich said, "At the moment this segment is very small, and I had to fight hard to make it [the Z4] happen at all, honestly. It was against the finance controllers."
Such a fight is likely the reason that we will not see a full-on M version of the Z4 as well. If BMW is already butting heads on the notion that this car should even come to light, the team behind it is likely happy that it exists at all.
Despite the potential lack of a manual option or a top-tier M version, there's still reason to get excited. The BMZ Z4 M40i will be fitted with a 6-cylinder engine producing 380 horsepower. Early reports suggest that it's a blast to drive and it should be as it's taken years to fully develop.
Half of the reason this car is even being built is due to the fact that BMW joined forces with Toyota. The Japanese automaker wants a sports-car capable platform while BMW is looking for access to electric tech. Shaking hands with the arrival of the Z4 and Toyota's new Supra serves as a sort-of ribbon cutting for this technical partnership.
Fewer automakers are offering manual transmissions for even the sportiest of models. Automatic transmissions shift quickly, can handle increased torque loads, and offer a smooth driving experience despite the perceived need of a clutch pedal and a shift lever.