Burkhard Göschel is the kind of man missing in many of today’s performance engineering departments. This is a boss that jumps into a McLaren F1 GTR or BMW M3 GTR for some hot laps, just to stay sharp. The rest of us hang out by the water cooler. Göschel is figuring out how to make his next road car feel more like a Le Mans winner.
Today he sits on the board of Magna International, an Austrian parts supplier doing boring stuff, like parts supply. But in his prime, throughout the Nineties, Göschel was instrumental in BMW’s dominance in the performance end of the consumer market. He was also responsible for mega hits such as the X5, and single-handedly drove development of halo products like the Z8 roadster.
But ask him what he remembers most fondly from his time at BMW’s M department, and he’s likely to start reminiscing about the Clown Shoe.
The BMW Z3 M Coupé was Göschel’s pet project, a challenge to turn the flexy Z3 roadster into a serious driver’s machine, and he of course succeeded. The toughest part of development was convincing BMW’s conservative board to put such a strange-looking and driver-demanding vehicle into production, but he did that too, by keeping costs down. In the end, particularly considering the Z3 M Coupé’s, um, unique styling, the car turned out to be a hard sell, however, became the epitome of a skunkworks special.
Result? Enthusiast recognition and rising values today, because things with M badges are starting to go crazy, too. E30s are over $100,000 (Dh367,000), and M1s are into seven figures. Whereas this thing, developed by a genius (and let’s remember that all great cars are borne of one mind) and powered by M’s S50 series engines can be had from about Dh75,000. If you get one with the S54 from the E46 M3, you’ve got yourself the rarest production BMW ever made.
There is a great discrepancy in price (some mint examples are offered in Europe from Dh300,000) but the car is still undervalued as a whole on the enthusiast market and once everyone catches on, once we’ve run out of CSLs and E30s, this is where people will start to look.