The previous Z4 2.5i had a 5-speed manual transmission, the 3.0i model a 6-speed. For ’06, all Z4 models come standard with a 6-speed like the one Motor Trend praised in its August ’04 issue: “Like the engine,” commented the magazine, “the gearbox is a sweetheart. Said one editor, ‘The shifter has that positive, spring-loaded feel.’ Another wrote, ‘It snicks into its gates with an oiled authority.’”
There’s also good news for those who like their shifting automated – at least part of the time. Now the Z4 joins other BMW Series in offering a 6-speed automatic; compared to the previous 5-speed it’s fully 10% lighter, has a more efficient torque converter and new shift programming for improved responsiveness, actually operates with fewer internal clutches, and can reduce fuel consumption, particularly at cruising speeds when 6th gear is in frequent use.
As with other current BMW automatics, the STEPTRONIC feature offers drivers a choice of Normal, Sport and Manual modes. The Sport mode, in which shifts occur at higher engine speeds, is engaged by moving the lever leftward from Drive; the Manual mode is engaged when the driver manually chooses a gear by tipping the lever forward (for downshifts) or rearward (for upshifts).
BMW strives to produce its motor vehicles and other products with the utmost attention to environmental compatibility and protection. Integrated into the design and development of BMW automobiles are such criteria as resource efficiency and emission control in production; environmentally responsible selection of materials; recyclability during production and within the vehicle; elimination of CFCs and hazardous materials in production; and continuing research into environmentally friendly automotive power sources. Tangible results of these efforts include the recycling of bumper cladding into other vehicle components; water-based paint color coats and powder clear coats; near-future availability of hydrogen-powered models; and various design and engineering elements that help make BMWs easier to dismantle at the end of their service life