Rare Rides: A Forgotten German Coupe by Wiesmann - the 2010 GT MF 4
Your author first heard about Wiesmann on Top Gear in the early 2000s, while watching Jeremy Clarkson drive what appeared to be a very well-constructed roadster around a track. After that particular episode I never heard of Wiesmann again, and promptly forgot the company existed.
Turns out they made more than a singular roadster. Today we learn about the Wiesmann brand — and this particular 2010 GT MF 4 coupe.
Tracing its origins back to 1988, Wiesmann was established by brothers Martin and Friedhelm Wiesmann. The mission of the company was to be a provider of low-volume, hand-built roadsters for the wealthy. After the introduction of its first offering in 1993, the company slowly scaled up production. Wiesmann hit its stride by 2006, when it produced two or three distinct models, including the MF 30 featured on Top Gear.
The MF 30 was the first in the MF series. Bodied in fiberglass, the roadster was powered by a 3-liter BMW inline-six, hit 62 miles an hour in five seconds, and went on to a top speed of 143 miles an hour. The MF 30 was eventually replaced by the MF 3, which looked identical but utilized a larger 3.2-liter BMW engine. While acceleration stayed the same, top speed increased to 158 miles an hour.
Simultaneously, Wiesmann broke its roadster mold and offered today’s Rare Ride — the two-seater MF 4 coupe. Sporting familial styling, the MF 4 was about 400 pounds heavier than the MF 3 (a hefty 3,064 pounds). That meant it needed more power, so the coupe was blessed with a 402-horsepower turbocharged version of the 4.4-liter V8 from a 7 Series. The increase in cylinder count meant the MF 4 was the fastest Wiesmann, at 4.6 seconds to 62 and a top speed of 181.
Indeed the MF 4 was the fastest Wiesmann… until the introduction of the limited edition MF 5 in 2009. Powering a run of just 55 cars was a 5.0-liter V10 borrowed from the M5. In this ultimate version MF, 547 horsepower meant 62 miles an hour arrived in 3.9 seconds. The top speed was a heady 193 miles an hour.
Wiesmann continued building its other cars through the decade, struggling all the while to get its vehicles federalized for sale in the U.S. Those costs combined with poor exchange rates, challenging the profitability of the small company. In August 2013, Wiesmann started its bankruptcy filing in Germany. Four months later, the board filed a petition to dismiss the bankruptcy, as it was no longer necessary. At the time there were discussions with a British firm that was interested in obtaining Wiesmann’s assets, but talks fell through. The brand was officially closed in May of 2014.
The company’s website states the brand will relaunch with a new vehicle in 2020, “Project Gecko.” Gecko is a roadster powered by a twin-turbo BMW V8.
Time will tell if there’s a future for Wiesmann, but it’s got a real uphill battle here in The Current Year. Meanwhile, this 20th Anniversary Edition MF 4 is for sale in the UK. With right-hand drive and a baby blue quilted interior of luxury, it asks $157,000.
Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Writing things for TTAC since late 2016 from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio. You can find me on Twitter @CoreyLewis86, and I also contribute at Forbes Wheels.
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