Home » The Incredible Alfa Romeo Giulia SWB Zagato Is A Three-Pedal Scorcher Here To Haunt Our Dreams

The Incredible Alfa Romeo Giulia SWB Zagato Is A Three-Pedal Scorcher Here To Haunt Our Dreams

Alfa Romeo Giulia Swb Zagato Topshot

Seven years after we first saw the beguiling Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, the internet’s finally getting the coupe version it always wanted. Well, sort-of. You see, this coupe wasn’t actually built by Alfa. Inspired by works such as the TZ3 Corsa and il mostro, the SZ, Alfa Romeo’s head designer and the designers at Zagato got to work turning the Giulia sports sedan into a short-wheelbase coupe called the Giulia SWB Zagato.


The stylists at Zagato are masters of making things that are sexy but also slightly ugly at the same time. The Giulia SWB Zagato is no exception. It’s a pretty kind of dirty, some of the proportions are very wrong but the balance tips toward attractive the longer I look at it. The compromises of trying to turn a sedan into a low-slung coupe are glaring like the midday sun, yet they don’t completely ruin the shape.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Swb Zagato Side Crop

So, let’s jump into a list of things wrong with the way the Giulia SWB Zagato looks. The deck is far too high and bulky, the C-pillar is enormous, the snout is four miles downstream from the hoodline, there’s just so much metal between the tops of the arches and the greenhouse, and the wheelbase chop makes the car tower like the Eiffel.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Swb Zagato Left Rear 34 Moving

However, there’s also a lot to like about the Giulia SWB Zagato. It looks purposeful, like the slightly gawky cut-down racing specials of the ‘60s. The roofline is absolutely classic, the kammtail is rather clean, and the six headlights look positively menacing. Draped in deep green paintwork with a black roof, Zagato’s lunacy begins to make sense.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Swb Zagato And Sz

If the coachwork isn’t enough for you, remember the bones of this special coupe. The Giulia SWB Zagato doesn’t draw an engine from just any Alfa Romeo, but the Giulia GTAm, The ‘roided-up R-rated monster of the Giulia family. Its 90-degree 2.9-liter V6 that sounds like the angriest GM 3800 in the world is tuned up to 533 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque, more than enough to light a fire in your heart. Best of all, the Giulia SWB Zagato ditches the ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox for a six-speed manual. Brilliant.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Swb Zagato Interior

While not exactly surprising, Andrea Zagato is incredibly proud of how the Giulia SWB build turned out, stating that “It has been an exhilarating experience that has confirmed how the combination of Alfa Romeo and Zagato is an absolute classic of collecting.” Hey, if your name’s on the building and you have the legacy of your father and grandfather to follow, wouldn’t you want to make the best of the best?

Alfa Romeo Giulia Swb Zagato Rear Three Quarters Crop

Unfortunately, if you want your own Giulia SWB Zagato, you’re out of luck. Zagato’s only making one and it’s already been sold. No doubt the German collector who commissioned this car paid a small fortune, but without their passion, this car wouldn’t exist at all. For now, let’s revel in the presence of this car, a flawed yet stunning rolling work of art that shows coachbuilding isn’t dead.

(Photo credits: Zagato)


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29 Responses

  1. I have an Alfa Romeo Giulia. I absolutely love it. I’m certainly a fan of the Alfa Romeo line-up. While I definitely want to shoot for the Quad, this new Alfa Romeo product is something to be desired!

    The roofline could stand some streamlining, though. But I’d still love to have it and be extremely proud to drive it. I’m out here in Los Angeles, Cal. I’m seeing more Alfa Romeo’s out there. I can’t wait to see a Zagato Roadster; that will definitely turn heads even moreso!

  2. I know I’m a pig, but here it is: Nice headlights, terrible ass. That rear roofline had me flashback to the Datsun B-210. The interior is gorgeous!

  3. So the design is overall stunning, but I want to talk about the front for a second, as it relates to car design in general.

    I see the current design trend of big grilles as basically lazy. Don’t have enough design talent to make a nicely surfaced front clip? No problem, just make the whole thing grille!
    Now when it’s a high-volume car that’s all grille, okay, they didn’t want to spend the time.
    But I expected more from Zagato. They’re a design house after all.
    I know this is a one-off and doesn’t matter in the grand scheme, but it just struck me that if any car would not have the all-grille cop-out, it would be this one.

    1. BMW now has an oversized grille design. It kind of looks better, but Alfa Romeos are more stylish, seductive and farrrrr more attractive than BMW. I appreciate the insight in your comment

    2. Eh, compared to BMW’s current beaver teeth, this grille is nothing to complain about. Plus I really like the way the center part of the grille is repurposed as a badge. A giant badge, but I still like it.

    1. I read the review of either MotorTrend or Road & Track’s 40,000 mile life of the car its based on. I’d rent one for a weekend, but I’d never own one.

    2. I leased an ’18 Giulia Ti, and it spent months at the dealer. On top of that, I didn’t see all the fuss about them once I owned one. It was beautiful, but aside from that it was kind of a meh car. It needed another 50HP, the interior was cheap feeling and rattled like hell, and for a car that cost $50k, it was missing a lot of features that come standard on Hyundai’s. Say what you will about “driving enjoyment”, or such niceties are not what the car’s about, but it’s just an Italian Chrysler. I want my damn radar cruise because traffic is absurd here and it’s a daily. Between spending months in loaners and getting stranded 3 times, I couldn’t wait to get rid of it.

      The only one worth owning is the Quadrifoglio, and that’s a maintenance nightmare.

      Anyway, back on topic, the Zagato is beautiful and I kind of love it for all the reasons Thomas hates it.

  4. I love the super teledial wheels and I’m swooning over the color. The front end is glorious too. I don’t care how many trips to the dealer this needs, it’ll look great while it’s inoperative in my garage.

  5. The interior is fantastic. That green piping really looks good and (clutches pearls) the screen is integrated into the dash?!?!? How can it be?

    Looking forward to Adrian’s take on the exterior.

  6. Can someone photoshop that rising-beltline to C-pillar fiasco? Really I think it is the only thing that is ugly on it.

    Also, can we have pics in the comments if we behave? Pleeeeeeeassssse?

  7. Not a fan of bringing the green 1/3 of the way up the oversized c-pillar and dragging that line to the end. I would have liked to see more of a wrap-around glass to breakup that line, ala C2 Vette or boat-tail Riviera.

    Also, I like the multinational unity of a German commissioning a custom Italian car in British Racing green.

  8. I think it’s interesting that it looks so much better from a low angle in front, but a high angle in back. The way it draws up in back looks kind of slabby.
    I don’t know if this is the case specifically, but many cars have their grille moved down the front to meet pedestrian impact requirements, and it looks bad to me. Also, those light immediately made me think of the ones on new Astons.

    1. Interesting that you say that about the lights…from the front this looks pretty Alfa to me, but between the passably-BRG paint and the shape of that rear lightbar, it feels to me like Zagato has picked up a few habits after doing some of those recent Aston specials.

  9. Commissions like this should come with an agreement: if the manufacturer gets enough interest, they should build them and pay commissions to the original commissioner/purchaser.

    This would give two beneficial results: more gorgeous, visionary and unusual cars for the general public to buy, and more commissions for one-off cars with the arrogant assumption that everyone else will love the creation like the original commissioner/purchaser.

  10. You see that big indentation on the side of this car? The one that all cars have that makes them look like they got t-boned by a mattress? Does that have a name other than “the dirt catcher” ?

    Perhaps the powers that be here at The Autopian could command the Bishop to explain why all cars have that now, because it sure isn’t because it makes cars look better.

    Is there some law that when you throw kittens at the side of a car it subtly rolls them away? Are running boards about to make a comeback?

    Please explain this. Then you can go on to the question of why so many of today’s cars have a front end that seems inspired by a cat’s anus.

    Thank you.

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