BMW Zagato Roadster: BMW’s Italian art project lets the sun shine in

BMW Zagato Roadster rear profile viewA few months ago, BMW dazzled the world with the Zagato Coupé, a sexy take on the Z4 created with the help of Italian styling house Zagato. Just in time for the end of summer, BMW and Zagato decided to drop the Coupé’s top to create the BMW Zagato Roadster.

The Zagato Roadster is a follow-up to the Zagato Coupé, which debuted at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy this past May. According to BMW, reaction to the Coupé was positive enough to warrant a second team-up with Zagato.

After seeing both cars, the Roadster project seems like the proverbial no-brainer. What is really remarkable about the Roadster is that it was developed over a much shorter time span than the Coupé; it went from concept to completion in roughly six weeks.

Luckily for the designers and coachbuilders, turning the Zagato Coupé into a roadster didn’t involve any drastic changes. The Coupé is based on the BMW Z4, so its chassis was stiff enough to work without a roof.

The Zagato Roadster retains the Coupé’s classic long-hood, short rear deck proportions, as well as styling details like scalloping around the side vents and grille mesh made of tiny interlaced “Zs.” From the A-pillars forward, the two cars are nearly identical.

Still, BMW said, “There is more to designing a roadster than just slicing the roof off.” The Zagato Coupé had a fastback roof and Honda CRX-like double rear window, all of which had to be replaced with something equally stylish.

From the rear wheels back, the Zagato Roadster is entirely different from the Coupé. The Roadster gains a conventional trunk and rear decklid which, along with some tweaked character lines, make the drop-top Zagato appear longer and leaner.BMW Zagato Roadster front overhead view

Helping to further streamline the Zagato Roadster, fairings for the seats match the creases on the hood. They also make the Roadster look like a vintage racecar.

Both the Zagato Roadster and Coupé share most of their parts with the Z4; owners of that car will recognize the Roadster’s interior. It has the same steering wheel and controls, as well as the same asymmetrical dashboard. The Roadster does get its own saddle and charcoal two-tone leather, which carries over to the car’s external roll hoops.

The Z4 connection also means that the Zagato Roadster is fully drivable. That’s an exciting prospect not just for potential owners, but for everyone. Who wouldn’t want to catch a glimpse of this beauty driving by?

So far, the Zagato Roadster and Coupé are just styling exercises; BMW has no plans to put either into production. That is a shame.