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BMW Z4 shooting brake: new concept revives ‘clown shoe’ design

Dylan Campbell

Shooting Brake Z4 shocks motoring world – and not just for not being an SUV

BMW showed it still knows how to make beautiful cars after it revealed a new-age Z4 ‘clown shoe’ Concept Touring Coupe in Italy last week – and it could be heading to showrooms in limited numbers.

In an age where every BMW concept seems to be an SUV designed to shock, the Concept Touring Coupe is a pared-back Z4 convertible with a fixed roof, flat rear window, Hofmeister kink, flared rear wheel arches and a much larger boot.

BMW Z4 Concept Touring Coupé above
BMW has unveiled the Z4-based Concept Touring Coupé

Revealed at the 2023 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este near Lake Como, Italy, the cabin is decked out in sumptuous two-tone leather from Italian manufacturer Poltrona Frau, while the exterior paintwork is a bespoke colour – Sparkling Lario charcoal-brown.

The front wheels measure 20 inches while the rears are 21-inch to accentuate what BMW called a classic “two-box” vehicle design. “A timeless symbol of freedom on four wheels,” said BMW.

BMW Z4 Concept Touring Coupé interior
The two-tone leather from Italian manufacturer Poltrona Frau certainly stands out
BMW Z4 Concept Touring Coupé boot
Certainly a lot more room back here than in the convertible

An inline six-cylinder has been confirmed but it’s not clear if it’s the 375kW twin-turbo S58 of the M3 and M4 or the single-turbo B58 from the Z4 M40i. The Z4 M40i convertible’s B58 3.0-litre turbocharged inline-six produces 250kW and 500Nm.

A production Concept Touring Coupe range could also utilise the Z4 sDrive20i’s turbocharged 2.0-litre inline-four producing 145kW and 320Nm – and would be the perfect platform for a new age Z4 M. 

BMW Z4 Concept Touring Coupé front 3/4 2
BMW has no plans for production but we hope they change their mind

Interior photos reveal an automatic transmission, presumably the ubiquitous ZF eight-speed torque converter automatic. But a six-speed manual is a realistic option, given it’s offered in both the Z4 convertible and closely related Toyota GR Supra.

BMW execs tease possible production

Group Design Director Adrian van Hooydonk said BMW had received “at least two or three” expressions of interest and could put the Concept Touring Coupe into production.

“There’s no concrete plans to put it in production,” van Hooydonk told British outlet Motor1. “But, we made the agreement before we set sail for Lake Como that, if there’s enough interest, we will take a look at it. That could be a very low-volume version, like 50 cars or so.”

BMW Z4 Concept Touring Coupé front 3/4
BMW execs haven’t ruled out putting the concept into production

BMW has a track record of producing modern concepts in very low volumes if enough interest is received. Fifty units of its Hommage 3.0 CSL concept were built after it was revealed in 2015. They are only being delivered this year.

“Maybe we can do it a bit quicker [this time],” smiled van Hooydonk. He said the experience of producing the Hommage 3.0 CSL – which could not go down a usual production line – could be carried over to the Concept Touring Coupe.

A homage to the original Z3 M Coupe

Dubbed the ‘clown shoe’ as a way of mocking its pugnacious styling, the original Z3 M Coupe was sold between 1998 and 2002. With a 236kW 3.2-litre naturally aspirated inline-six and five-speed manual, it was a skunkworks vehicle developed by just five engineers in their own time.

BMW M Coupe 1999
The concept is of course a homage to the original BMW Z3 M Coupe

The engineers successfully ‘fixed’ the flexing of the open-top Z3 Roadster, and while it was initially ridiculed for its unusual styling, the ‘clown shoe’ coupe outsold the identically priced convertible version by nearly three to one. 

The Concept Touring Coupe comes off the back of the successfully-received BMW M3 Touring. Going on sale last year, it became the first production M3 wagon produced by BMW.

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