Unsurprisingly, the manual Z4 has been discontinued in that country.
It no longer matters whether you're shopping for a $20,000 compact or a $200,000 sports car - manual gearboxes are fast approaching extinction. BMW just launched the new 2 Series Coupe and every derivative uses an eight-speed automatic. Aston Martin will soon no longer offer a manual gearbox at all and, on the other end of the price scale, Kia ditched a manual for the latest Soul. The latest car to lose a stick shift option is Australia's BMW Z4 sDrive20i, a model not sold in the US. However, a quick look at how many manual Z4s BMW sold in Australia over the last two years makes the company's decision a no-brainer.
According to CarAdvice, a grand total of two Z4 sDrive20i models with a manual gearbox were sold since this model's launch in the first quarter of 2019. That's a shockingly low number and makes up a mere 0.54 percent of Z4s sold in Australia over this time period. In total, 371 units of the current Z4 Roadster have been sold in that country. Those two buyers now own two of the rarest Z4s in Australia and these cars could become much more valuable in the years to come. The six-speed manual was paired with rear-wheel drive and a 2.0-liter turbo-four producing 194 horsepower.
By comparison, the base Z4 in the US is the sDrive30i. It also has a 2.0-liter turbo-four but produces 255 hp and is exclusively paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The previous-generation Z4 was offered with a manual in North America but the existing G29 model has always been limited to an automatic in this market. BMW's eight-speed self-shifter is one of the best transmissions out there today and consumers clearly agree, based on these Z4 sales numbers. While it's great that the latest M3 and M4 are still offered with manuals, the era of more affordable BMWs with a stick shift is essentially over in the US and it seems like just a matter of time before other major markets like Australia follow suit.