BMW and Zagato Get Together Again to Create a Striking Roadster Concept

After the positive reaction the Z4-based Zagato Coupe concept received at the Concorso d’Elleganza Villa d’Este in Italy earlier this year, BMW chief designer Adrian van Hooydonk and Andrea Zagato decided to collaborate again and produce yet another concept, this time for the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California.

The fruit of this collaboration, which appeared in an obscure teaser image a couple of days ago, is a roadster version of the Zagato Coupe that we saw in Italy. One may assume that BMW and Zagato have simply taken that car and chopped off the roof (which would be ironic, since the Z4 is a roadster), but this is not the case.

The BMW Zagato Roadster, which was constructed in just six weeks, certainly looks a lot like its fixed-roof sibling.

But that’s not a bad thing as the aggressive, “three dimensional” (in Zagato talk) front end with the large air intakes, contoured hood with integral air scoops, the black A-pillars, the sculpted sides and the overall solid stance and minimal overhangs of the concept make for a muscular look.

“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 Andrea Zagato.

“BMW is a high-achieving carmaker boasting a vast well of knowledge and technical capability in this area. When you combine that with our expertise in the creation of micro-series, everything is in place to produce a beautiful model like the BMW Zagato Roadster in double-quick time,” he added.

Compared to the Coupe, the Roadster features a lower-slung rear end and an additional line which, BMW says, “forges a visual connection” between the sill and the rear apron and sets of the car’s rear-end nicely.

Of course, there is the issue of the roof – or more accurately, its absence. Instead of a folding hard top, like the standard Z4, BMW and Zagato have opted for a soft top. Mind you, despite being a roadster, it doesn’t fail to incorporate the “doppia gobba” or twin roof domes that are a Zagato signature mark in the roof cover panel.

This being an open-top car, Zagato has designed a pair of roll bars for additional protection. “The low, dynamic roll-bars, inspired by an airplane wing, are an eye-catcher that makes the BMW Zagato Roadster recognizable from a distance”, says Zagato’s head of design, Norihiko Harada.

According to BMW, the grey paintwork makes the Roadster’s body look like it is wrapped in a cloak of liquid metal, as it changes from dark grey to light silver, depending on how it is lighted.

Unsurprisingly, the cabin is identical to the Coupe’s. The main difference is that instead of the fixed-roof version’s all-black interior, in the Roadster there’s a lot of brown leather starting from the door sills and extending to the top of the dashboard and behind the seats, including the roll-over bars.

As with the previous Coupe study, BMW didn’t say if it has any plans to produce the Roadster model.

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