Italian automaker Zagato has unveiled the Alfa Romeo Giulia SWB Zagato, a one-off, hand-built special car that celebrates 100 years of collaboration between two iconic Italian brands. As the name suggests, the Giulia SWB is based on the current rear-wheel-drive Giulia sedan, but features a bespoke body and a combination of the Giulia GTA and Quadrifoglio mechanics.
It still powered the Alfa Romeo twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6, but unlike UK Giulia QVs with only an eight-speed automatic, the Zagato instead installed an Alfa six-speed manual; Alfa initially offered a manual transmission alongside the car when the Quadrifoglio was launched in 2016, but only a handful of left-hand drive examples were purchased. For the first time, the V6 engine has been tuned to GTAm specs, producing 533 horsepower and 422 lb-ft. Lighter rods, new cooling jets for the pistons, a new oil cooler and lighter internals for the turbochargers all play a role in the performance increase.
The Zagato’s involvement has to do with the dramatic change to the car’s striking exterior design. It is dominated by a one-piece, forward-opening clamshell hood that features three main louvres, with an Alfa Romeo triangular central grille flanked by large intakes that incorporate new headlights. These are borrowed from the Tonale SUV, and feature a triple lighting signature that recalls the iconic Alfa Romeo SZ from Zagato.
The black pillars and roof are another nod to the SZ, separating the cockpit from the main bodywork. The rear end is widened greatly with powerful punches that end in a straight, Kamm-style tail framed by a thin LED light strip. The Zagato’s distinctive double-bubble roof profile extends to the rear glass. The rear diffuser, also made of carbon, has two central exhaust outlets covered in carbon sleeves. The exhaust system itself is a similar Akrapovic titanium one fitted to the GTAm.
The body itself is made of carbon fiber, and sits above Giulia’s hybrid-only chassis with a shorter wheelbase. The Zagato didn’t go into specifics about how much length was trimmed, but it does create a completely different silhouette compared to the four-door model. The doors themselves now also feature frameless glass, and are also made of carbon fibre.
GTAm carbon ceramic brakes, central locking forged wheels and Michelin Cup 2 tires are fitted.
Internally, the Giulia’s dash and basic bodywork are carried through with careful styling and updates only.
No weight or performance numbers have been confirmed, but thanks to the use of the smaller carbon body, expect it to come in under the GTAm’s figure of 1580kg. As it is, the GTAm is capable of sprinting to 62 mph in just 3.6 seconds.
Unfortunately, the Giulia SWB Zagato is a definite one-piece. Despite the extensive collaboration with Alfa Romeo on its design and engineering, the idea of a lighter, more nimble two-door Giulia is something its lucky German owner will test out. We haven’t lost all hope for the future Alfa Romeo sports car, with the company confirming that a new super sports model with both ICE and EV engines will be unveiled in 2023.
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