Alfa Romeo Giula SWB Zagato is a gorgeous one‑off coach build
Christmas for someone has come a few days early this year, with the reveal of the stunning new Alfa Romeo Giulia SWB Zagato. We say someone, because this incredible coach build, is to be a one-off.
That really is amazing when you consider that the SWB is indeed based on the Giula, which is, by any other definition, a three-box four-door saloon. Not a single panel is shared, with everything on the exterior of the Zag almost entirely bespoke. Okay, we do spy lights borrowed from the new Tonale SUV and the exhaust system from the GTAm but apart from that, the SWB is its own animal. Good luck finding replacement body panels…
Given this car is a celebration of 100 years of collaborations between Zagato and Alfa Romeo, it will come as no surprise that this is a one-off that pays special homage to a number of the two name’s bygone creations. There’s a good amount of SZ in the profile and glasswork – indeed, Alfa’s design team refers to it as the new SZ – a bit of TZ cars in the Kamm tail and of course, it wouldn’t be a Zagato without the double bubble roof. There’s also more than a bit of the stunning Montreal in the nose, with those Tonale lights giving a similar ‘sleepy’ vibe to those in Alfa’s legendary ‘70s coupe.
All told, it’s a properly lovely thing and has us wondering what could have been possible. Remember, the Giulia GTAm, was originally supposed to be two-door. Likewise, how easy would it have been for Alfa to build a production two-door sportscar with a Giulia underpinning, in the same way BMW did with the Z cars for all those years? Oh well.
Underneath the lovely Zagato coachwork are the bones of a Giulia GTAm, albeit significantly docked. We don’t have a hard and fast millimetre figure but suffice to say, it was no small job. The main visual giveaway of the SWB’s DNA is its interior, which is largely borrowed from the GTAm, with the same dash, instrument cluster, infotainment and seats.
Powering it is of course the GTAm’s effervescent 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 engine. With no word on whether there have been enhancements and given this uses the manual transmission, we expect it’s in ‘standard’ 540PS (397kW) trim. There aren’t any performance or indeed weight numbers either, though we expect the SWB chops a few kilograms off the car on which it’s based, thanks to its reduced footprint and carbon coachwork.
“For its centenary, Zagato has created a new one-off,” said Alejandro Mesonero, Alfa Romeo Design Vice President.
“The result is a car that fits perfectly into the historical path of the two marques where the first objective was and is to combine beauty with performance. The philosophy of this new 2023 SZ is that of the 1960s, with a body driven by simplicity, aerodynamics and lightness. The new SZ offers a dynamic, simple body, where long lines run from the front to the rear where creating 'a strong but discreet muscularity at the same time.
“The front end is characterized by the 3+3 headlamp concept widely seen on the new Alfa Romeos, but also on the SZ of the 1990s. The cabin, totally in carbon, re-proposes another characteristic element of the brand with the two humps on the roof in search of height reduction, improving aerodynamics without affecting interior ergonomics. At the rear is the 'truncated tail', a typical Zagato body style solution, aerodynamic and visually powerful.
“As Centro Stile, we are happy to have supported Zagato by contributing to the design of this car, which with this 'one-off' has chosen to celebrate its historic bond with Alfa Romeo.”