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The stunning Zagato AGTZ Twin Tail is a rolling, €650k piece of Alpine art

Plus: how hard is it to switch the tails around? And what's it like inside? Answers here...

Published: 23 May 2024

What is it?

Essentially a re-bodied Alpine A110 via the tender ministrations of legendary Italian coachbuilder Zagato. A car inspired by the gorgeous Alpine A220 racer of the 1960s, a car which came in two distinct formats - long and short tail. Except for the fact the Zagato interpretation combines the two; the long tail section of the AGTZ is demountable, meaning you can have either extended or chopped Kamm-tail versions depending on mood. Or, one assumes, parking requirements.

TopGear.com popped over to Zagato HQ in Milan, Italy - where the cars are being built - to take a closer look prior to the car’s debut at FuoriConcorso in Lake Como.

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So it’s just an add-on to an Alpine A110?

Nope. This isn’t the work of a moment - the A110’s lightweight aluminium chassis is entirely clothed in a bespoke set of carbon panels. Once you start to look, you’ll notice that little has been left untouched - even the roof is now sporting Zagato’s signature double-bubble roof. The front is smoother - without the A110’s circular driving lamps - the front wheelarches are rounder, the windscreen more visor-like.

There’s an intake on the side that doesn’t exist on the base car, and with the longtail in place, a big rear deck with fin-like rear creases bookending a slatted venturi. The short car itself is actually longer than the base A110 (4,305mm for the Zagato-bodied version vs 4,181mm for an A110), and gets positively horizontal with the back bit in place - 4,799mm for the longtail configuration.

The weird thing is that it is a little awkward at first, but when you see the Sixties A220s that inspired it, it all makes sense. And those cars are very cool.

So how easy is it to transform?

Probably five minutes-worth of work, and it’s relatively easy. Essentially the rear deck just hugs the back of the short-tail, and is secured by various fasteners. Pop the boot, unscrew and unclip, and then you offer up the custom trolley (it comes with the car) to float the rear section away. That then reveals the more textured rear end of the short-tail, triangular shapes at the top, horizontal strakes at the bottom, with a central exhaust. Where the longtail is all about the vertical at the back, the short tail is much more horizontal, and they really do look quite different.

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The exhaust, by the way, discharges through the centre of the upswept Venturi. Probably wouldn’t want to spend much time with your head up there. And if Top Gear can manage the mechanics of the transformation, it’s proof that it’s easier than a Billy bookcase from IKEA. There are also various heritage-inspired liveries available, or you can design your own, and paint-to-sample is an option.

What about the inside?

Zagato seats, some limited-edition plaques and different views from the ‘screen and windows, but other than that, the AGTZ is pretty much a standard Alpine; compact and intimate. There’s the same seven-inch touchscreen in the middle, the same connectivity, the same need to fold and crease larger frames into the cockpit. A definite feeling of ‘if it ain’t broke’ - though for €650,000, you might expect a few more interesting finishes. Mind you, not that many people are really interested about what’s going on on the inside.

Is it faster?

Hard to say. The Alpine mechanicals are left untouched, though there are packages of upgrades available should you want upwards of the 300bhp the A110S offers as standard. Plus there’ll be suspension packages on the cards if owners want more performance, and the show car still needs some tweaks - panel fit needs some adjustment, the final car will ride lower, that sort of thing.

Zagato AGTZ Twin Tail

But from the passenger seat it feels like it handles/rides/goes exactly like an A110 - that is to say, very sweetly. The carbon bodywork apparently weighs no more than the A110’s normal dress, so the performance is nigh-on exactly the same, the seven-speed dual-clutch offering the same experience. Apparently the longtail configuration may offer some gains at high speed, but it’s not been verified yet. To be honest, this thing isn’t about the horsepower - it’s more about the creativity and the design.

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As Andrea Zagato told TG, "Zagato doesn’t deal with the mechanical side of things, it’s all about the suits". And when the base car is as nimble as the A110, there’s not much that needs doing.

Isn’t Zagato all about more… prestigious transformations though?

Well, here is where it gets interesting. Zagato is probably most famous for aesthetic re-workings of various Ferraris, Lancias, Alfas, Aston Martins and the like. But it was approached by a Polish high-end car dealer called La Squadra with the idea for the Twin Tail. And when we’re talking about high-end, this is a dealer of the good stuff: Ferrari, Pagani, Koenigsegg, Bugatti, Rimac and yep, Alpine.

At a random meeting, the CEO and founder of La Squadra, Jakub Pietrzak, was chatting to Andrea Zagato about possible future projects. Discussion turned towards McLaren, but Jakub  - a particular Alpine fan - suggested something based around the A110. A slightly more edgy, modern take on what coachbuilding could be. Familiar with the story of the A220 Alpines of the 1960s, where the unsuccessful longtail racers were chopped to become more nimble short-tails, the project grew from there.

In fact, Jakub’s take is remarkably practical for a man who makes his living from outrageous supercar sales, feeling that electrification will make it harder to get a truly characterful product, meaning design will take on much greater significance. The follow on to a meeting of minds with an artisan coachbuilder seems like a natural step - even when focussed on a current ICE car.

“Our project is dedicated to people that are looking for something more in automotive,” says Pietrzak. “People that are looking for something that you can’t see every day on the street. People that are looking at cars through an artistic prism.”

So it’s an art piece?

A real, moving, breathing art piece. It’s not really a track car or a racer, more a piece of rolling automotive artwork, in homage to some of the coolest racing cars France has ever produced. But the best bit is, it actually works as a car, and a transforming one at that. It’s not the easiest car to process, but it absolutely nails the idea of an instant conversation piece.

The fact the AGTZ has been born from the slightly left-field direction of a petrolhead Polish car dealer, through to a short run of 19 functioning examples being built by a legendary Italian coachbuilder, just adds to the mystique.

Price: €650,000 excluding taxes
Engine: 252bhp- 300bhp, 250lb ft, mid-mounted 1.8-litre turbo 4-cyl
Speed: 0-62mph > 5-seconds/ 4.2 seconds with upgraded engine, 155+mph 
Transmission: seven-spd dual-clutch, rear-wheel drive
Efficiency: 153 - 160g/km, 40.3 - 41.5mpg (est)
Weight: 1,109kg (tbc)

9 minutes 22 seconds

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