It was unveiled at the very exclusive and very plush Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, held this weekend in Italy on the banks of Lake Como, home to the most aesthetically agreeable homo-sapiens on earth. George Clooney has a home there, to give you some idea.
Anyway, this new BMW conjures up the very essence of the coach-built racers of old, and realigns Munich with its Italian connection; tailor-made BMW 328 coupes featuring Italian coachwork were made for late 1930s racecars and the Mille Miglia, while BMW went to ISO founder Renzo Rivolta to help with the dinky little Isetta. Italian hands were also prominent in the BMW 3200 Michelotti Vignale, the BMW 700, the BMW 3200 CS Bertone and of course, the iconic BMW M1 supercar.
So this new Zagato Coupe keeps that flame burning with its entirely hand-built body, with Zagato engineers crafting the lines out of aluminium sheet metal and moulding it flank by flank. Apparently, the brief for the car was a ‘Vmax concept’; a road-registered, aerodynamically optimised car ready for driving.
Clearly taking its base from the Z4 (though BMW doesn’t mention it), it gets the classic BMW face, and the contours of the bonnet sweep into a classic Zagato double-bubble roof, right back to that familiar vertically-cut rear end for which the company has become famous.
The whole thing sits on 19in wheels – with a “hint of propeller” that nods to both companies’ heritage – in light alloy construction. They’re finished in matt, complementing that exclusive Rosso Vivace paintwork. Inside, there’s dark grey leather, red decorative stitching, embroidered ‘z’ logos in the seats and even two bags – one for luggage, one for your hat. Nice.
There’s no word on the engine powering this thing, but it ultimately plays second fiddle to the stunning coachwork. Let’s guess at something 3.0-litre shaped, with pistons arranged in a straight line. Many horses. Many torques. A nice sound. Probably.