Alfa Romeo and coachbuilding firm Zagato have rounded off 2022 the only way they know how – by revealing a beautiful sports car out of absolutely nowhere.
Built as an homage to the iconic but awkward-looking Alfa Romeo SZ of 1989, pictured in red below, the Giulia SWB Zagato is based on Alfa Romeo’s four-door Giulia saloon, but is shortened into a two-door configuration (hence the SWB or ‘short wheelbase’).
The car features entirely bespoke carbon fiber bodywork and a drivetrain comprising the twin-turbocharged, 2.9-litre V6 engine as found in Alfa’s Giulia Quadrifoglio.
Closely related to the V8 engine of the Ferrari Portofino, the engine powering the one-off Giuliua SWB Zagato is tuned to match the enhanced specification of the Alfa Romeo Guilia GTAm. This means 522 bhp and 422 lb ft of torque, mostly thanks to lighter internal components. It is married to a six-speed manual gearbox that is no longer offered with the regular Giulia.
The striking front end of the Giulia SWB Zagato features Alfa’s trademark triangular grille, flanked by the same headlights as used by the company’s new Tonale SUV. There’s also a huge, clamshell-style bonnet, Zagato’s signature ‘double-bubble’ roof, and a blunt, Kamm-style rear end with boomerang tail lights, carbon diffuser and twin, central-exit titanium exhaust. The black A-pillars and roof are a nod to the Alfa SZ.
Built to celebrate 100 years of collaboration between Alfa Romeo and Zagato, the one-off Giulia SWB has been sold to an unnamed German car collector who owns many Alfa Romeos, including a rare 8C Competizionie, and several Aston Martin Zagatos, the coachbuilder said. Over the last century, Zagato has produced more than 150 modified Alfa Romeos.
Neither company has published performance figures for the car, but given the engine’s power output, and how the car is probably lighter than the Giulia GTAm, a 0-62mph time of under 3.5 seconds is likely.
Alejandro Mesaonero, Alfa Romeo design vice president, said: “For its centenary, Zagato has created a new 'one-off'. 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.
“Alfa Romeo ‘SZ’, an acronym that evokes emotions, roots its origins in the deep history of coachbuilding…The philosophy of this new 2023 SZ is that of the 1960s, with a body driven by simplicity, aerodynamics and lightness.”