By Edward Niedermeyer on September 7, 2010

Stumping TTAC’s Best And Brightest is never an easy task, even with a relatively obscure picture clue. But if ever there was a car to do it, it’s the BMW M Coupe. Hell, three weeks ago, I had forgotten it existed… and now I own one.

The M Coupe’s ability to evade memory is simultaneously totally understandable and wholly mystifying. On the surface, it’s a completely distinctive model: the only true shooting brake-style sportscar to be built in my lifetime. It also generated a fair amount of controversy when it debuted. I can vividly recall seeing pictures of the weird be-hatched Z3 in my father’s Auto Motor und Sport, and thinking why on earth did BMW let a Z3 mate with a Civic hatchback? Then I saw one on the road, and was struck by how bizarrely good-looking it was. Before I ever got behind the wheel of one, I had already enjoyed a complex emotional relationship with the model, hating it, loving it, and ultimately respecting the balls it took to put it into production.

So how did I forget about it? Perhaps because the M3 has loomed so large in the minds of all automotive enthusiasts for so long. Possibly because it was only produced for four short years. More likely though is the fact that it got lost in my dislike for its sister model, the Z3 convertible. Having seen the Z3 appear in the Bond film Goldeneye, I instantly loved it. But in an inversion of my relationship to the Z3 Coupe, I quickly came to loath the Roadster. The appeal of its styling wore off extremely rapidly, and left behind only a stinging distaste for the car’s image. Middle-age Bond wannabes, Cougars (though the term had not yet been coined) and hairdressers dominated my perception of Z3 drivers.

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