What Is It?
BMW Z4 Coupe Concept

What’s Special About It?
Once again BMW used Frankfurt to showcase its ability to introduce exciting cars in the most boring manner possible. In a long, rambling press conference BMW CEO Helmut Panke talked about last year’s models, last year’s sales figures and everything but the Z4 Coupe concept. After what felt like a trigonometry lecture, Dr. Panke finally gave the word and the sheet came off.

At that point Professor Panke let the car do the talking. Good idea as this concept’s shape says a lot. Unlike the squared-off hatchback style of the Z3 Coupe, this Z4 Coupe tapers down to a distinctive teardrop shape that’s less bulky and more athletic. Not everyone loved the look, but that seems to be the way BMW likes its cars these days. To us, the coupe looks just about as good as a Z4 could, with better proportions than the stubby-looking roadster.

Like most concepts, the interior of the Z4 Coupe was filled with high-end materials that look good but wouldn’t last a second in a real production car. The headliner is ultrasoft Nubuck leather while the doors are covered with interwoven layers of a more heavyweight glossy leather. The aluminum pedals sport patches of black cowhide and even the floor is covered in what BMW calls a "functionally technical textile." Not sure what animal that comes from.

Looks aside, it’s guaranteed to drive as well, or better, than the current roadster. Built on the same rear-wheel-drive chassis, the Coupe concept uses BMW’s newest 3.0-liter straight six. Rated to produce 261 horsepower, BMW claims a 5.7-second sprint to 60 and a top speed of 155 mph. Nothing polarizing about those stats.

As quick and nimble as the roadster is, the Z4 Coupe was designed to widen the performance envelope even further. A shorter final-drive ratio gives it more punch out of the hole while a set of beefed-up brakes assures that it will stop just as fast. A new electric power steering system is also part of the coupe’s package along with a set of the sweetest-looking 19-inch wheels to roll out of Munich since the ghost chrome 18s on the last-generation M5.

What’s Edmunds Take?
BMW’s latest design philosophy may have mucked up the 7 Series for a while, but all those creases look good on a car like this. Other than a more traditional interior, this concept will see production with few significant changes. - Ed Hellwig

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