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First Look

The new BMW Concept Touring Coupe is a glorious Z4-based breadvan

3.0-litre sixer. Short, shooting brake rear. RWD. Just put it into production please, BMW

Published: 19 May 2023

Salut, Il Commendatore, for had it not been for thine holy refusal to grant Count Volpi a Ferrari 250 GTO back in the Sixties – on account of him stealing thine employees – the signor would never have built a one-off that single-handedly created the pinnacle of sub-zero car genres.

Which in its latest manifestation has taken this delectable form. Step forward, the BMW Concept Touring Coupe. It is a two-door ‘two-box’ design, but we’re calling it: welcome back, breadvan, how we’ve missed you.

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BMW has form here of course, most notably in the shape of the Z3 M and its E46 M3-derived 3.2-litre masterpiece. This new one also gets a sixer – most likely BMW’s turbo 3.0-litre – though details on performance and acceleration have not been divulged.

All we’re privy to is the knowledge that the new breadvan’s performance attributes “confirm its status as a symbol of pure, unadulterated sheer driving pleasure”. Something the old Z3 M had in spades and a philosophy the current Z4 Roadster doesn’t fall too far from.

As for the design philosophy, it ticks all the right boxes, including the fact the rear now has a box. There’s a greater sense of cohesion to the profile of this breadvan, with that long (pre-facelifted) Z4 bonnet flowing into a low, contoured roof, allied to wider, flared arches and a flatter rear window. Naturally there’s a Hofmeister kink present, while BMW declares the car’s muscular new shoulders “athletic” in stature.

Slightly more stature up front, though mercifully, BMW’s (in)famous kidney grille here is a much classier affair, even if it features ‘longitudinal’ bars. It’s all been coated in a special grey-brown colour with embedded flakes of blue glass, superb Alpina-style 20/21in light alloy wheels front and back, and perhaps less successfully, gold detailing.

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Interestingly, there’s no such special treatment inside. Oh sure, there’s the traditional application of generous levels of prime Italian leather in two tones dividing the zone atop the dashboard (to aid concentration, apparently, because driving) and the lower section. The entire boot floor and surrounding area is subject to the same treatment. There’s even custom luggage hand-made to match the boot.

Otherwise, the interior mirrors the regular Z4 exactly – nothing has been changed in layout, functionality or instrument design. You might think this is BMW being lazy, that it spent so much time on the design it forgot to do something speciale with the interior.

We’d like to think (and are hoping) it’s because BMW intends on building a small run of breadvans. Naturally nothing has been confirmed, but experience certainly shows us the BMW concepts that look most production-ready are indeed… production-ready. “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,” said BMW design boss Domagoj Dukec.

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For the future. Do the right thing, BMW. Do it for Count Volpi.

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