The evolution of the BMW Z car has gone through constant improvements, from the not very popular Z3 to the much better executed Z4. Currently, the Z4 is long on the tooth and one of if not the slowest selling BMW in the lineup. Through the history of the Z’s there have been the much more desirable coupes and the downright collectible M coupes. Everyone (Or at least I) was expecting BMW to release the current Z4 with an M badge on its trunk and the performance upgrades to back it up but sadly the idea faded away in the same way the steering feel did. Gladly though, it arrived in a package completely oposite to where you would expect to find it.
The allure of the ZM Coupes has always been their design. The only reason why you would get an M Coupe over the M3 Coupe is solely the looks. The Z3M or Clown shoe was an either adore it or abhor it design and I can’t help but love it. The later Z4 M Coupe was a much less audacious design but it was unbelievably sexy and (IMO) the best looking body that has housed the iconic straight six. But currently, BMW has been missing more daring looking coupes (i8 notwithstanding) and if you wanted M performance in a quirky body your best bet was an X6M. That was until 2012, when the stubby looking 1 series got poked with a stick.
When I first saw the reveal of the M135i hatch, I wasn’t blown away with the 5 door body style. The idea of a true RWD hatch is very enticing, but I wasn’t feeling it completely. That is when I saw the 3 door and then it clicked. It’s the new Clown Shoe.
A long hood, short rear, 2 massive coupe-like doors and a roof that extended right to the back a-la-shooting break. It was and is perfect. All of the right ingredients are there when it comes to the technical bits; A straight six engine, 6 speed manual, improved brakes and M sport suspension. Getting deeper into the specs it is a lot more obvious that this is indeed a modern Z3M Coupe, both weight around the 3,300 lb mark, both have a similarly sized wheelbase and te horsepower rating difference is as small as 1 hp between the two inline sixes. It may not share the controversial rear end of the Z3 Coupe, but BMW couldn’t have made it more similar if they tried.
As a lifelong Z3 M Coupe fan, I would love to get my hands on an M135i because I truly doubt it will keep living for much. 2015 was it’s refresh, but with the success of the X1 I doubt the 1 series will keep being RWD. This will be truly desirable car when the time comes because it follows the recipe of M performance with true quirk from one of the most stoic car makers in the industry.