Motor (Australia)

SWEET DREAM

CARS THAT DON’T EXIST, BUT SHOULD A ‘clown shoe’ for the modern age that would elevate BMW’s M division beyond its current styling circus

- BY CAMERON KIRBY

What if BMW was to reinvent the Z3 M Coupe for a modern audience?

MORE THAN TWO decades ago a team of BMW engineers began an after-hours project to transform its handsome but dynamicall­y shaky Z3 roadster into a serious performanc­e coupe – looks be damned!

What they created was the Z3 M Coupe, a car with the performanc­e credential­s to remain a cult classic to this day despite its controvers­ial styling and unfortunat­e ‘clown shoe’ nickname.

First released in 2019, the current Z4 finds itself in a surprising­ly similar position as the E37 Z3. It’s handsome, and well-liked by those wanting a pleasant roofless driving experience. But public perception deems it dynamicall­y inferior to its non-identical twin from Japan, the Toyota Supra. That judgement is somewhat short sighted, but the solution that was found in 1998 could work again today.

Enter the BMW Z4 M Coupe – a shooting brake performanc­e halo that could help elevate the entire roadster family and bring BMW’s M Division to its unhinged and brilliant best. We know from the execution of the current M3 and M4 that BMW’s designers are willing to take bold risks, so our stylistic

vision shouldn’t be too far out of their comfort zone.

With the Toyota Supra filling the swoopy coupe styling position already, BMW would need a divergent visual path to give the Z4 M its own unique positionin­g. Instead of a swooping roofline, Australian Calvin Luk’s design would be updated with a squared-off wagon rear end. Along with the ‘bread van’ looks, BMW’s M division will give the Z4 a suitable nip’n’tuck with carbon fibre front lip, side skirts and rear diffuser. Quad exhaust tips anchor the rear bumper styling to drive home the point that the Z4 M should not be underestim­ated.

M boss Markus Flasch says that the Z4 M40i already offers M-car levels of performanc­e, and a track test by German outlet Sport Auto confirmed that the roadster is two seconds a lap quicker around the Nordschlei­fe than even the esteemed M2.

But there’s no reason to be content with that – time to aim higher Mr Flasch! To earn its full-fat M badge, the Z4 could gain the S58 drivetrain from the current M3/M4, lifting outputs by 90kW/150Nm to 375kW and 650Nm. With a kerb weight around the 1500kg mark, the Z4 will appeal to those wanting a finer scalpel than that offered by the M3, but with more firepower than the M2 CS. In order to make the twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight six fit, an all-wheel xDrive layout is off the cards – but we doubt enthusiast­s will be too displeased.

Read on to discover the finer details of how we’d make it all work.

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