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One-off, handmade BMW Zagato Coupé unveiled at Villa d'Este


July 4, 2012

The BMW Zagato Coupe is a brand new, one-off, handmade collaboration between BMW and Milan’s Zagato workshop

The BMW Zagato Coupe is a brand new, one-off, handmade collaboration between BMW and Milan’s Zagato workshop

Image Gallery (47 images)

The Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake Como in Italy is a most beautiful and exclusive place. Each year it hosts the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este to celebrate the skills and craftsmanship of the motor industry’s best "carrozzeria" - coachbuilders in English - and a mouth-watering display of classic handmade motor cars is the result. BMW regularly sponsors the event and shows off a vintage car from its collection. This year, however, they pulled off something completely unexpected, a spectacular brand new, one-off, handmade vehicle made in collaboration with Milan’s Zagato workshop.

It’s quite unusual for a large volume car manufacturer to indulge in this sort of "vanity" project. Indeed, 1978 was the last time BMW worked with an Italian outside design house (the M1 supercar).

As can be deduced from the pictures, the base chassis comes from the BMW Z4 Coupé, but the body is completely new and hand-crafted. As we saw with the Aston Martin V12 Zagato, there are a number of design features that the Italian design house likes to use as its signature.

These include the bonnet vents and side strakes, the "double-bubble" roof line (originally so that helmets could be worn when racing), the way the rear glass and side glass "swap-over" at the C-pillar, the muscular but sharpened rear haunches, and finally, the cut-off "Kamm" tail - based on research from the 60s that shows it to be an effective reducer of drag. On the BMW Zagato the rear panel that incorporates the light clusters is all glass and can be seen through from the cockpit, evoking Lamborghinis of the 70’s.

The front fascia is unmistakably BMW, yet a beautifully executed aggressive interpretation of the present in-house style. A nice touch is that the grill is made from little repeating Z’s. In fact the whole design skilfully synthesizes both BMW and Zagato design language elements and the car looks very coherent and "production ready." It’s also fully functional, the classic straight-six motor producing a tested 400 bhp and the interior achieving the high standard one would expect.

There is absolutely no indication that the vehicle is ever intended for production and it seems unlikely that more than one will ever be made. Perhaps we should just be thankful that BMW seems to have got its design "mojo" back and is confident enough to indulge in these cross-border design exercises from time to time. To our eyes, it’s really a very good looking vehicle - you can make up your own mind by clicking through to the image gallery.

Source: BMW, Zagato

About the Author
Vincent Rice Vincent Rice has been an audio-visual design consultant for almost 30 years including six years with Warner Brothers Cinemas. He has designed several large retail installations in London and a dozen major nightclubs across the world from Belfast to Brno to Beruit. An accomplished musician and 3D computer graphics artist, Vince also writes for AV Magazine in the U.K. and the Loudscreen digital signage blog. All articles by Vincent Rice

OMG bring back Chris Bangle please

Bill Bennett

yeah Bangles creations were stunning compared to this. Even if you squint the proportions are all wrong. I went through all the photos thinking it might just be an angle thing, but this thing doesn't look good from any angle!

Facebook User

So it was Chris Bangle who was responsible for converting the refined German look of the BMW into the ugly things they are today? I think this one is almost beautiful but not quite there yet.


REALLY? I thought this is one of the best looking cars I've seen in a long time! I guess personal taste is an almost undefinable thing? :-)


Meh...reminds me too much of a Viper. Don't love it, don't hate it. It doesn't inspire me.


It looks like the Dodge Viper SRT 10 in most exterior lines, combined with Alfa Romeo Spider stile...

Iosif Olimpiu

You guys are crazy. I think this is the best looking BMW I've seen in a while. That is pure European Muscle right there. Yes, it does have a lot of Viper in it, but it also has a lot of BMW in it. Just Beautiful


Dodge Viper? Seriously? Aside from having 2 doors and 4 wheels, these car designs couldn't be more different.

EJacob Cornelius
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