The Concept Touring Coupe may head to production at a price of $270,000 - but that's just the beginning.
The BMW Concept Touring Coupe, unveiled at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este this weekend, has been so well received that the case for a low-volume production car is compelling. Equally persuasive is the argument BMW should make niche cars on a more frequent basis. And after speaking with Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Group's Design Director, on the shores of Lake Como, we suspect that's exactly what will happen.
Regarding BMW's latest concept, the design boss said that while there are "no concrete plans to put it in production, we made an agreement before we set sail for Lake Como that if there's enough interest, we will take a look at it." Of course, it wouldn't be a full production run. Instead, van Hooydonk says it "could be a very low-volume version. Like 50 cars or so."
He also alluded to its price being north of €250,000 should it reach production - around $270,000 at current rates.
That may sound like a lot for a Z4 with a closed roof and Breadvan shape, but it's considerably less than the $780,000 BMW asked for the 3.0 CSL.
First shown in a slightly different concept form in 2015, the 3.0 CSL is only now being delivered to customers. But the production version of BMW's latest concept won't take that long.
"With [the Concept Touring Coupe], maybe we can get it done a bit quicker," revealed van Hooydonk.
Lessons learned from producing the 3.0 CSL - also a 50-unit niche model - will help BMW get its latest concept to production quicker and cheaper. It's a process that will be refined again should the Z4 Coupe be greenlit and should lead to more niche models in the future.
"I would like to do these special, more niche types of cars. It's good for a brand to have some products that are lower volume. It adds something to the brand," van Hooydonk said.
"Typically, when you do a low-volume car [like 3.0 CSL], you have to be smart about how you do it. You cannot cycle it through the factory. That's impossible; they cannot deal with that low volume. You have to do it outside of your production structures, and you need several companies that help with different pieces. The final assembly and quality control, we do it in-house. That's how we did it with 3.0 CSL. We've done this cycle once before, so we know how to do it. We know enough good companies that could help us."
One of those companies is Turin-based Superstile which worked with BMW on the Garmisch, the long-lost concept car BMW recreated.
Van Hooydonk admits that BMW only decided to make the Concept Touring Coupe back in November. But he knew that Superstile would be able to deliver in time for Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este.
"We knew if anyone could handcraft a body with complicated shapes, and make it in time into a running prototype, then they were the ones. I showed up with a sketch, and within two days they said they could do it."
Interestingly, the original sketch dates back three years.
"This design came from our Californian design studio, quite a while ago. When we were doing the Z3, we were already thinking about coupes. But we decided not to do it and focus on the roadster."
"It was a sketch that I never forgot. It's something I myself and my team felt passionate about. We even had a [foam] model made some time ago. So we knew it would work and look good. When it became serious, we had to rework it a bit more to make it feasible."
So now that BMW has the experience of making one low-volume model with the 3.0 CSL and is almost certainly going to make another, should we expect more low-volume models? That's the question we asked van Hooydonk directly.
"Who knows? That would be cool."
The question is, what next? We know we'd kill for the M1 Hommage concept from a few years ago. What do you say, BMW?
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