BMW tweaks 2023 BMW Z4, but still no manual transmission


If you didn’t know the BMW Z4 shares a great deal with the Toyota Supra, you haven’t been paying attention. That kinship continues with the refreshed 2023 BMW Z4, which gets “a raft of detail updates, fresh design accents to the exterior, expands the range of standard equipment, and adds new items to the options list,” says BMW, which is manufacturer-speak for: “This is a mid-cycle update that adds some new features, some interior and exterior tweaks and (hopefully) fixes some of the features buyers didn’t particularly care about when we introduced it.”

The BMW Z1 was unveiled in 1987, the Z3 in 1995. The BMW Z4 has been around for 20 years now: The first generation of the roadster was revealed at the 2002 Mondial de l’Automobile show in Paris. It was followed four years later by the hardtop BMW Z4 Coupe, out of which a GT3 racing car was developed.

The current BMW Z4 has been on the market since 2020, and over 55,000 units of the third-generation roadster have been sold worldwide. From day one, it has been by far the highest-selling model in a class populated exclusively by German premium brands, and it has consistently increased its market share.

2023 BMW Z4 front three-quarter

Mid-cycle refreshments are supposed to keep you interested until an all-new model comes out, and the Z4 has several. First, the model lineup is simplified, with the Advantage, Sport Line, and M Sport departing. The M Sport package will now come standard on the 30i base model.

Detail updates have been made to the design of the BMW kidney grille, which has gained in visual impact. The kidneys now have a horizontal inner structure, reinforcing the impression of a wide front end. Also new to the options list are the M Shadowline Lights, which may be specified with the optional Adaptive LED Headlights. The headlights’ dark inserts “imbue the front of the Z4 with a discreetly sporting aura and compliment the optional Extended Shadowline Trim,” BMW says.

Newly optional are 19-inch M light-alloy wheels designed exclusively for the BMW Z4. The V-spoke design has a Jet Black matte finish and diamond-polished rim edges. The 19-inch M light-alloy wheels are fitted with 255/35 ZR19 tires at the front and 275/35 ZR19 tire at the rear.

New body colors are Thundernight metallic, Portimao Blue metallic, and Skyscraper Grey metallic, available for the roadster for the first time. The soft top will continue to be offered in silver and black. Inside, the interior of the BMW Z4 sDrive30i adds an M leather steering wheel, M Sport seats, M pedals and an M driver’s footrest. Seat heating, the wind deflector, extended storage, the through-loading system, Park Distance Control with sensors at the front and rear, the automatically dimming rear-view mirror, and two-zone automatic climate control are now included as standard in all model variants.

The BMW Z4 M40i and BMW Z4 sDrive30i are also fitted as standard with ambient lighting and M door sill finishers. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder has 255 horsepower, and the 3.0-liter six-cylinder has 382. Transmission is the eight-speed automatic.

Read this as still no manual transmission—if you want to shift for yourself, you’ll need to look at the Toyota Supra, or journey to Europe for the base four-cylinder BMW.

The MSRP for the Z4 sDrive30i is $52,800 and the M40i is $65,300, both plus $995 destination. Look for it in November.

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    I’m sure the 8- and 10- speed transmissions do wonders for fuel economy, but I found in auto-stick mode, the maximum functional number of gears is 6. I was driving my buddy’s 10-speed automatic in manual mode, and you just can’t surf up and down that many gears fast enough to get the engine at the right RPMs at the right time

    Many want this car with the manual transmission like the Toyota got. I’m fine with the 8 speed but why not shove the M3/M4 Competition motor in this car. It would be a beast and I would purchase this sight unseen as I am sure many others would also.

    Coming from owning Manual M cars, latest being a manual M2 that I sold in ’21, the only thing that has kept me from owning this car for many years to come is the no manual option. This is a car I want to cruise on the weekend and carve canyons. And I want the full driving experience ewe can only get when you get that mechanical connection you get when rowing your gears and working the clutch.

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