While at the 2023 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, we learned that BMW is actively considering building 50 production versions of the Concept Touring Coupe. That would mark the official return of the Clown Shoe. However, if it does get built, it will cost upwards of $250,000 but still use the same B58 engine as the Z4 M40i. And, frankly, that’s unacceptable.
According to BMW, the S58 doesn’t really fit and/or work in the Z4. BMW claims to have tried. You’re telling me that the S58 engine, which is based off of the B58 engine that the Z4 already uses and is the same size/displacement, can’t fit in a new Clown Shoe? For one thing, I’m not buying that BMW M, with all of its engineering might, can’t fit an S58 under the hood. I think the real answer is that BMW doesn’t want to fit an S58 in the Concept Touring Coupe because it will cost a bit of extra money that it doesn’t want to spend.
For another, what the hell happened to BMW’s sense of spirit and adventure? This is the same company that built the V16-powered (vee sixteen!) 7 Series just for laughs. It cut two V12s down to V8s and welded them together to make a V16, then stuffed all of the radiator gubbins into the trunk, because they wouldn’t fit under the hood, and crafted massive rear air intakes for it all. This is also the same company that built a convertible with removable body panels and downward sliding doors.
Let’s also not forget the spirit of the original Clown Shoe, from which the Concept Touring Sport takes its inspiration. The original BMW Z3 M Coupe “Clown Shoe” was not an originally board-approved car. Engineers built it in secret, as a skunkworks weekend project, because they knew how good it would be. Then, after proving its sensational driving dynamics to the board, it was greenlit and developed. Did the Z3 M Coupe make BMW a lot of money? Probably not. Is it still so revered that a modern reinterpretation of it set the internet on fire and stole the show at the most prestigious car event in the world? Absolutely.
BMW needs to stop thinking so logically sometimes. I know it’s easy for me to sit in my chair and type these words without any knowledge of the internal costs and budgets of car company. I get it, it’s different when real dollars and cents are at play. However, let’s be real: BMW is one of the largest automakers in the history of the world, it can afford the development dollars to make a Z4 M Coupe with an S58 engine.
If just seeing the Concept Touring Coupe set the internet ablaze, can you imagine what an actual Clown Shoe recreation would be like? It would sell out in minutes and BMW would instantly gain massive cool points from every car enthusiasts on the planet.
Then there’s the cost. Does BMW really think it’s acceptable to sell a $60,000 car for $250,000 just because it has a hard top and a trunk? The Concept Touring Coupe, as it stands, is mechanically identical to the Z4 M40i. Are customers really going to dump a quarter of a million dollars on a Z4 with a funny hat? Probably, actually, rich people are nuts. However, if it had an M engine, I guarantee more people buy it.
All of this is to say that BMW needs to grow a set and do cool things for the sake of doing cool things again. If BMW does make the Concept Touring Coupe, whatever it might end up being called, it needs an S58 engine. It should also get a manual but I’ll take what I can get at this point.