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by Tim Beissmann

The BMW Zagato Roadster has been unveiled at the 2012 Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, California.

The one-off collaborative creation comes just three months after the German manufacturer and the Milanese design and engineering firm took the wraps off their Z4-based BMW Zagato Coupe at the Concours d’Elegance in Lake Como, Italy.

Encouraged by the public’s reaction to the fixed-roof concept in Italy, BMW Group Design senior vice president Adrian van Hooydonk explained the two companies set themselves the task of preparing the BMW Zagato Roadster for Pebble Beach, with just six weeks separating the original design idea from the finished model.

Zagato chief designer Norihiko Harada said there was more to designing the Roadster than simply chopping the Coupe’s roof off.

“This car is not designed only as an elegant convertible, but also as a masculine and extremely dynamic sports car which evokes a powerful driving experience,” Harada said, adding that the show car was ready to drive, and intended to be driven at high speeds.

The dynamic front-end styling pushes the car’s long nose forward and close to the ground, giving the impression that it is crouching and ready to pounce. The ‘razorlight’ strip of LEDs cuts an aggressive line over the focused headlights, while the matt silver kidney grille is decorated with intricate ‘Z’ letters to emphasise the Zagato influence.

The Roadster’s rear end is smoother and more elegant than the Coupe’s, and retains its masculinity and muscularity despite the lower-slung profile, while Zagato’s signature double-bubble roof gets a fresh interpretation in soft-top form.

Brown leather embraces the cabin, wrapping around the dashboard, doorsills, behind the seats and across the rollover bars, while matching brown details are also stitched into the seats, door panels, steering wheel and gearshift surround.

Traditional horizontal lines give the cockpit a tight, low profile feel, engaging the driver with angled, focused lines.

Neither BMW nor Zagato has revealed details of the Roadster’s powertrain, although it is expected to mirror that of the Coupe, which was rumoured to feature a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine with around 300kW of power.




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