By now, most enthusiasts have seen the incredible BMW Touring Coupe Concept that debuted at Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy. The man behind it is Adrian Van Hooydonk, the long standing BMW Group Head of Design. Chatting about the little, brown, modern interpretation of the clown shoe, he offered BMWBLOG plenty of insight.

Where the Z4 Touring Coupe Concept Came From

The BMW Touring Coupe Concept was a bit of a “right car for the right time” situation. BMW already had the underpinnings ready, and with so many visionary concepts already in the works, Van Hooydonk considered the crowd that attends Villa d’Este. “We didn’t want to use every platform, every meeting, to talk about the next ten years. We felt the crowd and public here completely understand cars, they understand car design, they just want their dream to continue.” They thought – correctly, it seems – that this vehicle would accomplish that.

When modifying the Z4’s sheet metal to fit the new Touring Coupe profile, BMW partnered with the same Turin, Italy-based company that helped make the Garmisch concept car recreation. “We knew that if anybody could do it – hand built, handcrafted, complicated shapes – and make it in time into a running prototype…they were the ones,” Van Hooydonk said. “I didn’t know if that was going to go over well, but it did.”

Predictably, inspiration for the Z4 Touring Coupe Concept came mostly from the Z3 M Coupe. It was no contest when comparing prices (and enthusiast reception) between the “bread van” Z3 M Coupe and the fastback Z4 M Coupe. “It’s that kind of maybe controversial look that made it into the classic that it is today,” he says. “Of course, we could have done a fastback coupe here as well. We thought about that. Very quickly. We decided on the bread fan or Shooting Brake architecture. We felt that would make it probably a bit more iconic.”

I think he’s right about that. I can’t imagine the internet falling quite as hard for a more standard coupe design.

Feedback on the Concept

“At least two or three people said they want it…one person sent me a [message] last week saying ‘whatever it is, I’ll take it,'” Van Hooydonk responds. Positive feedback is everywhere for the Touring Coupe Concept, and Domagoj is noticing. “It seemed to fit, let’s say, the location, the event, the type of car passionate people that are here,” he said. We can’t agree more – few cars fit in better at the Concours than the beautiful new Z4 concept.

The Concept isn’t exactly a recent development, according to Van Hooydonk. “This design is something that our California design studio came up with, actually, quite a while ago when we were doing the Z4.” Apparently, this project is something that the team and Van Hooydonk himself were quite passionate about, even making a model version some time ago. After the Touring Coupe Concept became something closer to reality, they got to work making it a little bit more feasible for production.

Touring Coupe Concept Production

Van Hooydonk cites the current 3.0 CSL as a bit of a benchmark for when – or if – the BMW Touring Coupe Concept sees the green light for production. From the original Hommage car that debuted in 2015, it took nearly eight years to actually get a similar vehicle in production. “So it took us a while, but at least we got it done. 50 units, 50 pieces, with this…I don’t know maybe we can do it a bit quicker,” he says regarding the Z4. “But it depends also on the interest.” Regarding volume, you can rest assured that the Z4 Touring Coupe will be highly exclusive. “It will always be a much lower volume than, let’s say, a 3 Series or an X5. But I think it adds something or would add something to the brand.”

As far as concrete plans going forward with the BMW Touring Coupe Concept? Well, there’s not much. “It is a one-off at the moment. But we’ve made the agreement before we set sail for Lake Como that if there’s enough interest, we will take a look at it. And that could be a very low volume version, like 50 cars.”

For America, anyway, that spells big markups – if the vehicle even comes here. So I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Either way – it would be a shame if one of the prettiest modern BMWs never went into production. So cross your fingers and keep saying nice things about it.