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Keep Calm: BMW Made a Modern Clownshoe From a Z4

How can BMW charge a subscription for heated seats and then make something amazing like this? What is going on?

Listen, I’m as big of a critic of BMW’s design and business decisions as anyone. But the brand still has it. Take a seat before you read this: The Bavarians just built a modern version of the Clownshoe Z3 coupe. For real.

Called the BMW Concept Touring Coupé, it’s effectively a shooting brake version of the current Z4. I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but at this point, it is just a concept—there is only one. That being said, it seems to be fully functional. It’s powered by a tried and true BMW straight-six, likely a B58, and it looks sharp as a tack. How could the same company make this and the new M3? Bizarre.

For those who aren’t familiar with the original Clownshoe, it was the coupe version of the early Z3 from the turn of the millenium. It didn’t look quite as well put together as this car, but it’s still prized by enthusiasts for its unusual looks. BMW even made an M version of it, powered by an S52 or an S54, depending on the year.

Nothing like the Z3 Coupe has been built since the Z4 Coupe went out of production in 2008, and that car was a fastback as opposed to a quasi-wagon shooting brake. The latter format is considered desirable because it offers two-seat fun with the storage of a larger car. People still make shooting brake conversions of many modern coupes.

The exterior isn’t the only interesting part of the concept. Its interior has been finely upholstered and altered from stock to be just a hair more interesting. If this car ever made it to production, which BMW has not commented on, it likely wouldn’t have a leather-lined cargo area.

And that’s the disappointing part of all of this. The German automaker doesn’t even make a passing hint at whether or not this car could be offered for sale. To be fair, the current Z4 sells in limited quantities. An even more niche version of that would be a big ask. That being said, I think people would pay up for these. If BMW pulled the trigger, there would be a lot less doubt surrounding its perceived direction and how it feels about its hardcore enthusiast customers.


The Concept Touring Coupé will be displayed to the public for the first time at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2023, happening this weekend.

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