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The third-generation BMW Z4 returns for 2024 with a welcome addition: a rowable six-speed manual transmission. That’s right; for the first time since the E89 Z4 bowed out after the 2016 model year. However, the drop-top BMW sports car arrives in 2024 without one of the features that allows new-age sports cars to grip hard, namely all-wheel drive (AWD).

The 2024 BMW Z4 added a manual transmission without including AWD

A gray BMW Z4 drives on a mountain road.
A G29 BMW Z4 | BMW

For 2024, BMW will offer the G29 Z4 with a six-speed manual transmission option. However, like the Z4’s sibling, the Toyota GR Supra, only the 3.0L six-cylinder mill will pair with the three-pedal layout. 

Still, it’s a commendable effort to bridge the driving dynamics gap between the Z4 and the GR Supra. What’s more, BMW’s admittedly pricey ($3,500) manual option isn’t just a stick. No, the three-pedal Z4 gains tuned steering for more feedback. Also, the manual M40i incorporates a stiffer sway bar and adaptive dampers for enlivened driving. The convertible Bimmer certainly took a step toward Freude am Fahren.

However, in the pursuit of pleasurable driving dynamics, BMW omitted a detail that would theoretically make the roadster much quicker: AWD. Of course, while adding AWD to a manual, rear-wheel drive (RWD) roadster would compromise some of its driver’s car credentials, it would multiply the Z4’s grip.

AWD would push the Z4 M40i past M240i xDrive speeds

The 2024 BMW Z4 M40i is properly quick with the model’s eight-speed automatic gearbox. Specifically, the six-cylinder Z4 will hit 60 mph in around 3.5 seconds, just as fast as the range-topping 2 Series, the M240i xDrive.

It stands to reason that a sure-footed Z4 M40i with BMW’s xDrive AWD system would outsprint the 2+2 coupe. What’s more, the 382-horsepower Z4 would be a much more compliant ride in inclement weather with four-wheeled grip. Of course, Z4 buyers probably aren’t looking for a stylish roadster to tackle rainy drives. 

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The BMW Z4 Is Back for 2024 With 1 Very Important Update