Technically, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance doesn’t open its gates until tomorrow morning, but that’s not stopping BMW from pulling the wraps off the coachbuilt Zagato Roadster concept a little ahead of schedule.
As we predicted earlier this week, the Zagato Roadster is much like the Zagato Coupe one-off, which debuted earlier this year at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy. According to BMW, reaction was so positive to the first Zagato-bodied Z4 project, it didn’t take long for the company to decide to partner with Zagato for a second. That said, it didn't leave itself much time to complete another car: after deciding the Roadster should debut at Pebble Beach, that left designers and fabricators a scant six weeks to finish the car.
From the A-pillars forward, the Zagato Roadster echoes the Zagato Coupe echo each other nearly line-for-line. As such, the Roadster shares the Coupe’s long hood, chiseled fenders, scalloped side air extractors, and funky little details like the Z-shaped grille insert pattern. But, as BMW notes, “there is more to designing a roadster than just slicing the roof off.” In fact, though it looks similar to the Coupe’s rear fascia, the Roadster’s rear clip is unique, and allegedly designed to exude a sense of elegance. In fact, the upper edge of the decklid and rear valance panel are lower than the Coupe, and the Roadster also gains a faint character line between the sill and rear apron that helps soften the car's rear corners. We think the decklid itself helps lend some visual length to the Roadster’s form, and its twin fairings – which echo the hood's strakes while neatly rising towards the integrated roll hoops – is an interesting interpretation of Zagato's signature double-bubble hardtops.
As was the case on the Zagato Coupe, the Zagato Roadster interior is comprised mostly of stock Z4 panels and hardware, though they’re embellished with all sorts of bespoke touches. The saddle-on-charcoal two-tone theme is applied to door panels, seating, center console, and instrument panel. A large leather piece wraps from the instrument panel, over the door sill, behind the seat, and into the roll bar, allowing designers to bring some of the interior’s tones to the Roadster’s exterior form.
Much like the Coupe, we think the Zagato Roadster is a sensuous, attractive work of art. We’d love to see the Zagato’s lines incorporated into the next-generation Z4, but the fact that both the Coupe and Roadster ride upon current, production-ready mechanicals makes the idea of a small production batch of Zagato-bodied cars somewhat feasible. Hey, if brands like Aston Martin and Alfa Romeo can do it, why can’t BMW?