BMW's Z4 Concept Touring Coupe Could Herald the Return of the Clown Shoe

A highly limited production run is a possibility for this concept that is sure to turn heads and get attention.
HARDY MUTSCHLER
  • BMW unveiled the Concept Touring Coupe at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este in Italy.
  • The concept turns the Z4 roadster into a two-door hardtop with a shooting-brake body—a look that has been dubbed "clown shoe" in previous years.
  • BMW is said to be pondering a limited production run.

It's raining cats and dogs on the eve of the 2023 Villa d'Este Concorso d'Eleganza in Cernobbio on the banks of Lake Como, but the foul weather does not stop the paparazzi from zooming in on the metallic brown show car. Head on, the two-door fastback looks exactly like the recently facelifted Z4 roadster. But the quarter-front view shows a different animal altogether: sleek and muscular, the restyled silhouette turns out to be a crowd-stopper par excellence.

Instead of the traditional canvas top, the coupe sports a long metal roof that fuses with a neatly sculptured, nearly vertical hatch. Although it is effectively a shooting brake, BMW chose to badge its latest creation Touring Coupe, thereby paying homage to the very first touring model launched in 1971, which was based on the 02 series. The bespoke paint has tiny glass fragments mixed in for extra depth and luster.
Although the show car is completely redone from the B-pillar rearward, the well-balanced two-seater's look is still of a piece. Whereas the stubby rear end of the Z4 is busy and cluttered, the tail of the coupe appears prettier and more practical.
The side view shows the trademark BMW Hofmeister kink, which, like the frame of the kidney grilles and the tailpipes, is finished in matte bronze. The slowly dropping roofline terminates in a full-width drag-cutting and downforce-enhancing spoiler, which together with the bulging hatch below creates a fast and furious look even in the parking lot.
HARDY MUTSCHLER

The bulging rear fenders house 21-inch wheels shod with Pirelli P Zero tires. Up front, the concept rolls on 20-inchers. The muscular shape suggests that this coupe could eat an M4 for breakfast, but engineering fitted the Euro market's 340-hp version of the turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The suspension is an unchanged carryover item.

What's It Like Inside?

Despite the short rear overhang, the Touring Coupe easily eclipses the roadster for luggage space. On the debit side, we noted the tall loading lip, the relatively narrow cargo deck, and the substantial blind spots caused by the ultra-wide C-pillars.

HARDY MUTSCHLER

HARDY MUTSCHLER

The reinforcing crossbeam mounted between the passenger cell and the cargo deck, which seriously compromised the seat travel in the Z3 coupe, is not an issue here. As you would expect, the cockpit is leather-trimmed from wall to wall. The tri-tone color scheme blends a brownish gray with an ochre saddle tone in the center and contrasting black accents. The supple cowskin was provided by the renowned furniture company Poltrona Frau, and the leather is braided together in a highly elaborate fashion that recalls the baseball pattern used in the first Audi TT roadster. Nice. The three custom bags come courtesy of Schedoni—maker of bespoke Ferrari luggage sets.

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