BMW And Zagato Combine Forces to Produce A One-off

BY Joel Tam

Milanese coachbuilder Zagato has teamed up with BMW to unveil the BMW Zagato Coupé, a hand-crafted special that premiered at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.

No news as to whether this is a hint at the new BMW Z4. But the BMW Zagato Coupé certainly looks like a BMW, yet at the same time, not entirely so. Italian design with German engineering has resulted in this special one-off car, likely powered by the 3.0-litre turbocharged unit from Munich. Although the exhaust note seen on some videos online suggest a more exotic engine configuration.

“Zagato has always provided its customers with ready-to-drive cars which can be sent into action on the road or race track without further ado – and the BMW Zagato Coupé fits the same template,” says Dr Andrea Zagato, who represents the third generation of his family to sit at the helm of the company. So this is no poseur, it is a car registered for road use and meets all the legal requirements worldwide. 

The BMW Zagato Coupé heralds a new chapter in the tradition of cooperation between BMW and Italian designers. Much has changed since earlier collaborations, however, with the advent of new working methods such as digital sketching, Photoshop and CAD/CAS tools, things have gotten easier, and designs alot bolder.

But despite these advances in the design tools available, the human touch is still essential to the process. “Working with Zagato was a fantastic experience. It was extremely enriching for us to create something with people who share our understanding of good design and passion for cars,” explains Karim Habib, Head of Design BMW Automobiles.

“And that is what makes the car so special — the open and constructive dialogue with Zagato, their experience, craftsmanship and incomparable sense for forms. All of these gifts are wrapped up in the BMW Zagato Coupé.”

The body of the BMW Zagato Coupé has been built entirely by hand. As in the past, the new skin was tailored to fit the car’s mechanical architecture, tracing its lines yet giving it space to breathe. The Zagato experts spent many hours crafting the aluminium sheet metal by hand and meticulously moulding it to give the car its unique form.

This is in essence, a BMW seen through the eyes of Zagato, it's wide and powerfully contoured at the front. A stunning interpretation of the classic BMW face — with its twin circular headlights, kidney-shaped radiator grille and BMW logo — marks the BMW Zagato Coupé out as a BMW without the need for a second glance.

A stand-out detail here is the use of countless small matt Zagato “z” letters to make up the kidney grille. Viewed from the front, the “z” letters appear to be floating within the kidneys. Close-up, it is clear that they are set against a collection of other dark-coloured “z”s positioned into octagons.