BMW Dazzles (and Teases) with Zagato Coupé

BMW is a longtime sponsor of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, held each year on the picturesque shores of Lake Como, Italy, and its appearance there has become a global highlight for aficionados of automotive beauty. At Villa d’Este in 2008, the company revealed the scintillating M1 Hommage, a mid-engine concept that paid tribute to its iconic Giugiaro-designed supercar of 1978; in 2011, it unveiled the gorgeously elemental 328 Hommage, a salute to the seminal 328 roadster on the occasion of its 75th birthday. And this year’s entrant was a car created less as a celebration of BMW’s past than as a glimpse into its future. With its long hood and defiant stance, the BMW Zagato Coupé is unmistakably a BMW, yet it’s blessed with cues—the double-bubble roof panel, for instance, or the tiny Zs that form the mesh inside the twin-kidney grille—that tie it to the storied Italian Zagato design house.

BMW is mum on production plans for the Zagato Coupé, though there’s clearly some serious interest within both companies. Development was undertaken using “a realistic and applied approach,” and the result is a car that, although completely handcrafted, is fully realized, as thoroughly engineered as any BMW, and aerodynamically optimized on the automaker’s high-speed test track. In fact, the Zagato Coupé is registered for road use in Germany and meets all worldwide standards related to crash safety and pedestrian protection. BMW isn’t sharing details of the Zagato Coupé’s engine or suspension, but it’s not difficult to see its relationship to the Z4 roadster.

It’s possible that BMW—whose relationship with Zagato goes back to the 3200 Michelotti Vignale coupe of 1959—is considering a limited production run for the one-off Zagato Coupé, much like Aston Martin did with the unspeakably pretty V12 Zagato. We’re optimistic. Seems a shame to keep such a beautiful baby an only child. (www.bmwusa.com; www.zagato.it)

Photo by Mercedes-Benz USA
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