A high-ranking BMW executive has revealed why we shouldn’t expect to see a full-blown Z4 M any time soon, explaining that a shrinking market for sports cars meant he had to fight hard to make the Z4 a reality at all.

Speaking to Road and Track, Klaus Fröhlich, who is the member of the BMW Group’s board of management responsible for development, confirmed the hottest model in the new Z4 roadster range would be the M40i derivative.

"At the moment, this segment is very small, and I had to fight hard to make the happen at all, honestly," Frohlich told the US publication.

"It was against the finance controllers. But you should drive it. It is sensational," he added.

Fröhlich also hinted that the Z4 – which was developed alongside in the new Toyota Supra – would for the foreseeable future be offered exclusively with a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission rather than a manual gearbox, thanks again to a lack of demand for the latter.

Revealed in August 2018 at Pebble Beach, the two-seater Z4 M40i is powered by the Munich-based brand’s turbocharged 3,0-litre straight-six petrol engine, which boasts a peak power output of 250 kW. Expect the new model to arrive in South Africa in the first quarter of 2019.