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BMW shows off Concept Touring Coupe. Image by BMW.

BMW shows off Concept Touring Coupe
Z4-based shooting brake is, alas, a one-off.
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What's all this about?

Looks like a Z4 estate, doesn’t it? Well, that’s because it is. Kind of. Actually, this is the BMW Concept Coupe, and it’s a sixties-throwback to the days when glamorous people owned slinky but practical sports cars instead of hulking great SUVs.

Is BMW going to put this one sale?

Sadly not. This concept car is a one-off, being shown at the Concorso D’Eleganza, a famous classic car event in Italy that BMW sponsors, and to which the Munich firm always brings an interesting concept car.

What's so special about it, then?

Well, while the front end is recognisably a Z4 (and we assume that the 340hp six-cylinder engine from the Z4 M40i is under there, although BMW isn’t officially saying) the rear bodywork is unique, with tall but tapering roofline under which is a fairly practical shooting brake estate-type boot. There’s certainly enough room for two people to pack in luggage for a week or so away.

That's a nice colour...

Custom-made for the car, no less. It’s called Sparkling Lario, and BMW says that it’s “embedded flakes of blue glass, its grey-brown hues achieve a unique impression of depth.” To finish off, there are silver-bronze accents that extend around the ‘Hofmeister Kink’ and up to the roof (slight shades of the XM, we think?) and a special grille at the front, which gets nice silver-bronze bars. Even the alloy wheels — staggered with 21-inch rims at the back and 20-inches at the front — are bespoke.

Is that a new interior I spy?

Oh yes. While the basic architecture is that of the standard Z4, BMW has gone to town on the upholstery, drafting in famous Italian leather-maker Poltrona Frau to do a two-tone brown leather look for the cabin, with gorgeous details like braided leather for the edges of the seats. That same pale ‘saddle’ brown leather extends to the boot, where you’ll also find a matching pair of duffel bags, hand-made by the Schedoni leather workshop in Modena (Ferrari’s home town, if you needed reminding).

Why has BMW made it?

Basically, it seems, to remind us that it still loves proper sports cars, even as the lineup becomes filled with chunky, heavy SUVs and crossovers. “The BMW Concept Touring Coupe celebrates the original Sheer Driving Pleasure,” said Domagoj Dukec, head of BMW Design. “A highly emotional vehicle like this shows that the passion for everything that goes into driving pleasure has been essential through the ages and will be for the future.”

Why won't BMW build it for real?

Economics. Z4 sales have been on a steady downward curve for some time, and it seems unlikely that, once the current model comes to the end of its production life in 2025, that it will be replaced at all. Few people buy sports cars anymore, and even fewer people would lash out money on a two-seat estate, however tempting the idea might seem to us enthusiasts.

Seems a shame...

Right? Not many modern BMWs that are this elegant. In fact, we even spotted legendary car designer Giorgetto Guigiaro braving the heavy rain at the launch event to take several photos of the car. If he appreciates it, it must be good…

Neil Briscoe - 23 May 2023

2023 BMW Touring Coupe. Image by BMW.2023 BMW Touring Coupe. Image by BMW.2023 BMW Touring Coupe. Image by BMW.2023 BMW Touring Coupe. Image by BMW.2023 BMW Touring Coupe. Image by BMW.

2023 BMW Touring Coupe. Image by BMW.2023 BMW Touring Coupe. Image by BMW.2023 BMW Touring Coupe. Image by BMW.2023 BMW Touring Coupe. Image by BMW.2023 BMW Touring Coupe. Image by BMW.    - BMW road tests
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