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BMW Z4 M Coupe Shooting Brake Is a Modern Clown Shoe
BMW didn’t originally plan to sell the Z3 M Coupe or any hardtop version of the Z3. Engineers working on the project, though, led by Burkhard Göschel, thought the car needed additional torsional rigidity and had other plans.

BMW Z4 M Coupe Shooting Brake Is a Modern Clown Shoe

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Göschel somehow managed to convince BMW’s management to also make this more rigid body style, but instead of doing a typical coupe, they instead went for a weird shooting brake version of the Z3. They called it the Z3 Coupe, although it isn’t really your typical coupe shape.

The Z3 M Coupe, to this day, looks like a Jaguar E-Type with a Z3 nose and wide rear flanks. When it was made, between 1998 and 2002, it didn’t really tickle fans’ fancy, and didn’t sell all that well.

Still, 6,291 examples did find homes (of which 1,815 went to U.S. owners) by the end of production. To put that into perspective, during the same time some 300,000 Z3s were sold (with all body and engine configurations,15,322 of them were Z3 M Roadsters.)

Compared to the overall Z3 sales figure, the number of Z3 M Coupes sold is insignificant, but it is worth noting that one in four Z3 Ms is the hardtop. And as it so happens, rarity and oddball looks (coupled with a sweet-sounding straight-six engine) make cars valuable to the point that nowadays the M Coupe is quite a bit more expensive than the M Roadster.

The Clown Shoe, as it came to be known, is now a highly sought-after collectible whose second hand values are on the rise. And this is in spite of the fact the car doesn't have amazing handling (partly because its rear end was based on the then already aging E30 3 Series). Sure, the extra shell stiffness provided by the roof made it a bit better to throw around, but it was never a prized driver’s car.

Now people just like the look of the car and the sound of its engine (regardless which of the three Motorsport engines it comes with - they all sound rather glorious). That and the weird rear end shape that looks like nothing else on the road, with its upright greenhouse and exaggerated wide hips.

This got me thinking, though. BMW only sells the current Z4 as a roadster, but what would it look like if it was made over like the Z3 M Coupe? Well, I took to the wondrous world of PhotoShop to find out.

The car that resulted is, to my eye at least, well worth a modern coach builder’s time to try and create. In fact, while I do genuinely like the look of the new Z4, with its crazy wide and low stance, I wouldn’t buy it as a drop top because Toyota sells a hardtop version of it (the Toyota Supra) and I think torsional rigidity is important for a driver’s car.

At the same time, Toyota’s styling isn’t that pleasing - some parts are quite revolting, actually - and it wouldn’t seem fitting to have a Z4 with the Supra roof. That’s why I think this shooting brake body style would be perfect for the Z4 as it would be an homage to a misunderstood (but increasingly popular and prized) modern classic, and also differentiate it from the Toyota.

All is not lost, though, and maybe after seeing this rendering, some Z4 owner will decide this is what he or she wants to do - to chop up their brand new BMW roadster and try to recreate a weird late 90s model that nobody really liked back in the day (some people still think the Z3 M Coupe is hideous).

So, if you are that Z4 owner and plan to do this, do write to us and we’ll document the conversion process.

 
 
 
 
 

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