BMW has a longstanding tradition of unveiling a concept at the annual Villa d’Este Concours d’Elegance, and this year’s is a head-turner. Called Concept Touring Coupé, it’s a Z4-based shooting brake with a silhouette reminiscent of the “Clown Shoe” Z3 Coupe released in 1998.
If the idea of a modern take on the Z3 Coupe ruffles your feathers, keep in mind that 1998 was a quarter of a century ago; time flies. We’ve seen other Z-badged coupes since, the original Z4 was notably offered with a fixed roof, but none have featured the Z3’s distinctive bread van-like silhouette. This changes at Villa d’Este: the Concept Touring Coupé looks a lot like the current-generation Z4 when viewed from the front, but it’s characterized by an almost flat roofline that ends in a rear that’s nearly upright from the bumper to the beltline.
The more you look at the Concept Touring Coupé, the more you notice the finer design elements. The brown paint — called Sparkling Lario — was created specifically for the coupe and features flakes of blue glass for added depth. The 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels were designed specifically for the long-roof Z4 as well, and the kidney grilles wear vertical slats that create a link to BMW’s past models.
Like the regular-production Z4 roadster, the Concept Touring Coupé offers space for two passengers. It’s for weekend getaways, not to look good in the school drop-off line. The interior’s basic layout comes from the Z4, but details such as leather upholstery provided by Italian furniture-maker Poltrona Frau help set the concept apart. Out back, there’s a generously-sized trunk (for a coupe, at least) lined with leather and designed to hold custom-made luggage provided by Schedoni, a Modena-based brand that specializes in high-end leather goods.
BMW didn’t release full technical specifications; it merely noted that power comes from a straight-six engine. The six spins the rear wheels via an automatic transmission (presumably the eight-speed fitted to the standard Z4). If there’s a manual on the way, it hasn’t landed yet.
We’ll be at the 2023 edition of the Villa d’Este Concours d’Elegance starting on May 19 to bring you live updates from the classic car-focused event, including photos and additional details about the Concept Touring Coupé. However, we can already tell you that the odds of seeing the design study make the transition to a production model are low. BMW stresses that the coupe “was developed for one-off production.”