The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este show in Italy is beginning today. Lately more than ever, manufacturers have used these shows to debut new production models and concepts. Last year’s Villa d’Este saw the debut of Aston Martin’s stunningly beautiful V12 Zagato, which has been given the green light for production.
At Pebble Beach, Infiniti debuted the M sedan in 2011 and last year, Cadillac showed off the Ciel Concept. BMW is an official sponsor of Villa d’Este, and has unveiled a new creation designed in concert with Zagato. The resurgence of the coachbuilding is a welcome development, resulting in increased diversity and expression of design. In the past (and we mean way back in the past) it wasn’t unheard of for rich buyers to take a car chassis and commission a unique design.
Modern technology is to thank for the comeback of the coachbuilding method, and companies like Zagato have the official blessing of OEMs. With the Zagato Coupe, BMW Group and Zagato designers collaborated to produce something special. The car is what is known as “Vmax Concept” – which means it is registered and fully operable, meeting all governmental crash tests and regulations worldwide. That is unlike many official concepts, which are often just designed for the show stage. Could there be something more to this than just a design exercise? Probably not. While they haven’t spelled it out for us, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the Zagato Coupe likely has the Z4 Roadster as its basis. Zagato’s whole method is predicated on fitting all-new, handmade bodies over production platofrms.
The design is an interesting amalgam of BMW’s Germanic and Zagato’s Italian design philosophies. “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,” says 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.” We do love that long hood and particularly the direct front view. Designers worked within a lot of constraints; a preexisting platform and European pedestrian safety regulations. The Zagato Coupe plays host to many different detail elements, such as the mini “Z” letters worked into the mesh of the kidney grille. Be sure to check out the gallery below and let us know what you think in the comments.