MUNICH - BMW will not offer its automated manual transmission on its latest M-badged model - a tuned-up Z4 roadster.
When the face-lifted Z4 debuts at the Detroit auto show in January, BMW will offer a high-performance M version of the car for the first time.
But unlike BMW's M3, M5 and M6, the Z4 M will not have an SMG automated manual transmission. It will be offered only with a six-speed manual transmission.
SMG is BMW's German abbreviation for sequential manual transmission.
The SMG transmission also will be dropped from less powerful Z4 models, where it is currently offered as an option.
Falling Z4 sales, especially in the vital North American market, have forced BMW to improve the Z4 range. The new Z4 coupe, which debuted at the IAA in Frankfurt, joins the lineup in late 2006.
US sales of the Z4 fell 27 percent in the first nine months this year, to 8,224 units from 11,316 a year earlier. The fall came even though BMW's US sales are up slightly so far this year.
Dropping SMG from the Z4 leaves BMW's M3, M5 and M6, some versions of the 5 series and 6 series, and some Ferrari and Maserati models as the only premium vehicles available with an automated manual transmission.
Poor SMG sales
Sales of the SMG transmission were "negligible," said a BMW spokesman. "Volumes did not justify developing an SMG option for the Z4."
Automated manual transmissions enable quick shifts in manual and automatic modes, along with manual-transmission fuel efficiency.
But dual-clutch technology is increasingly perceived as the better alternative.
"Automated manual transmissions are yesterday's technology compared to dual-clutch systems," said Arne Behlmer, analyst at CSM Worldwide in Frankfurt. "DCTs offer the fuel efficiency of automated manuals, but with quicker and smoother gear changes."