Is this the new look for BMW? Just three months after the maker revealed the striking Coupe it designed in a collaboration with Italian design house Zagato it unveiled the new BMW Zagato Roadster during the long weekend’s celebration of automotive elegance in Pebble Beach.
The partners reveal that the Roadster was pulled together during an intense six-week push. It helped, of course, to start out with the same basic BMW Z4 platform that was use for the BMW Zagato Coupe unveiled at the Concorso Ville d’Este in May.
“We set ourselves the challenge of preparing the car in time for the renowned Pebble Beach Concours, explains Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW’s global design chief. “It was only with the expertise of both companies in the manufacture of high-end one-off cars and another display of outstanding teamwork that we were able to finish the car on schedule,”
Considering the refined details of the concept vehicle it comes as a surprise that the Roadster was little more than a concept when the Coupe debuted in Ville d’Este.
“When you do a coupe you always ask what a roadster would look like,” says Karl Baumer, head of BMW Classic. The strong reception for the Zagato Coupe convinced the partners to see what they could put together in what Baumer describes as an “intense collaboration” that was largely driven by BMW North American Chief Ludwig Willisch.
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Our success in finishing the car in such a short space of time shows what is possible when two successful companies pool their resources” says the eponymous Andrea Zagato, head of what is the last remaining independent design house in Italy – which was founded by Ugo Zagato in 1919.
There have been a number of questions raised since the BMW Zagato Coupe debuted in Italy – notably whether the new design form it reveals is an indication of the direction the German maker might have in mind for the future, especially for its popular Z4 roadster line.
It’s been a decade since BMW debuted the “flame surfaced” styling language pioneered by van Hooydonk’s predecessor, the oft-controversial Chris Bangle.
The new BmW Zagato Roadster features a low-set double-kidney grille, here formed out of the Zagato signature “Z.” The 2-seater is wide and low, with a very three-dimensional shape that is more muscular than the current Z4. The grille is framed by twin “razorlight” strips of LEDs.
The car’s blacked out A-pillar, sweeping hood and long wheelbase further accent its muscularity. The concept integrates twin rollbars which mimic the double-double roof design of the Ville d’Este Coupe.
Neither BMW nor Zagato will talk about the mechanicals of the Roadster other than to acknowledge that the aluminum body sits on a platform based on the current BMW Z4. However, it appears likely the new model also shares some of the changes made for the BMW Zagato Coupe.
That would mean it gets a boost to an even 400 horsepower from its twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six. In the current sDrive35is version of the Z4 roadster that powertrain makes a less aggressive 340 hp.