A modern classic but certainly a classic and one set to appreciate. The Z8 was almost exactly the same as the Z07 concept car, that appeared only two years before, with only (and sadly) the rear fairing removal being the major visual difference. Strongly evoking the classic BMW 507 roadster of the 1950s the design combined sleek retro styling with modern performance, equipment and build quality.
A highly stylistic car with an interior impressive as the beautiful coachwork. The dials were set in the centre of the dashboard in traditional style and angled towards the driver. Specially designed controls and neat covers kept the interior clutter-free. Each car came with a fabric folding roof as well as a removeable metal hardtop.
A limited number of less than 6,000 right-hand-drive cars were built, each car being finished by hand. An aluminium chassis was designed specifically for the car and power came from the five litre V8 engine from the M5 of the day. The performance figures remain impressive today with a 0-100 km/h time of just 4.7 seconds and a top speed limited to the standard 155 mph.
Despite these impressive figures the BMW Z8 had mixed reviews for a lack of BMW-like precision in cornering. The Z8 was often described as more of a muscle car than a roadster.
The final 555 cars were produced under licence by Alpina. These editions of the car were tuned, perhaps in reaction to earlier criticism, to be more relaxed. A less powerful engine with higher torque at low revs was fitted along with a paddle-shift automatic transmission. More complient suspension, a re-trimmed interior, 20 inch wheels and various branded details completed the face-lift and made it a more useable car.
The limited number and stunning retro styling combined with real-world practicality are enough to make the BMW Z8 Roadster extremely collectable but the addition of a staring role at the hands of James Bond in ‘The World Is Not Enough’ means that few have ever dropped below their original list price.