The BMW Z8 (internal design model E52) is a sports car from the Munich-based automobile manufacturer BMW. From March 2000 to July 2003, 5703 copies were produced by hand (555 of the Z8 were sold by the automotive manufacturer Alpina).
BMW Alpina Roadster V8 (2002-2003)
The model, which was based on the roadster BMW 507 produced from 1956 to 1959, was designed by Henrik Fisker. The interior designed by Mike Ninic and Bruno Amatino and the steering wheel by David Carp.
A prototype under the name of Z 07 supervised by Adrian van Hooydonk and David Carp in close co-operation with the designers Fisker and Ninic was already shown at the 1997 motor show in Tokyo and in 1998 in Detroit.
The 4.40 meter long, 1.83 meter wide and 1.31 meter high roadster has the 5.0-liter V8 engine of the BMW M5 (E39S), called S62B50. The engine delivers a maximum of 294 kW and accelerates the Z8 in 4.7 seconds to 100 km / h. The power is transmitted to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox.
The construction of the Z8 consists of a self-supporting aluminum frame (spaceframe) with a screwed-on outer skin. The cavities are not sealed as aluminum does not rust. By this type of construction, the body is comparatively lightweight and extremely rigid. The side skirts as well as the front and rear bumpers with integrated antennas for radio, navigation and telephone are made of polyurethane and can be elastically deformed up to an impact speed of 4 km / h.
The interior can accommodate two people. The seats with leather cover are heatable and electrically adjustable. The steering wheel with three spokes, each consisting of four thin metal bars, recalls the style of the 1950s. The classic impression is strengthened by the round instruments arranged in the center of the dashboard and the starter knob.
The roadster can be closed by hand and the canopy is stored in a 203-liter trunk. For winter, the Z8 has a hardtop with a heated rear window as standard.
The BMW Z8 could only be ordered with full equipment. This includes airbags, alarm system, ABS, cruise control, radio, telephone with hands-free kit, navigation, hardtop, hardtop racks, alloy wheels, headlights washer system, xenon light, automatic lighting control and a “birthbook” and 1: 18 model from Kyosho in the ordered color combination. The price was initially 235,000 DM or 122,700 euros at the end of the construction period.
In mid-2002, the Z8-based Alpina version was released. The difference between this and the BMW Z8 is mainly a more powerful V8 engine with 280 kW (381 hp) and an automatic transmission to make it more interesting for the American and Japanese market. This vehicle was marketed by the BMW AG in the USA similarly to the Z8.
Through targeted interventions in the chassis, the roadster absorbs road sweeps more sensitively than the Z8 and surprises the driver with a high level of comfort. For a better response, tighter springs, softer dampers, a body lowered by five millimeters in the area of the front axle and 20-instead of 18-inch wheels, which, in contrast to the Z8, do not have emergency running characteristics and thus have less stiff side walls.
Despite the slightly softer chassis adjustment, the Alpina is no worse than the series Z8. By replacing the drive train from the M5 engine with manual gearbox to the Alpina V8, which is based on the X5 engine, and the five-speed automatic transmission from ZF, the center of gravity of the car has slipped into the middle.
The axle load distribution is slightly shifting from 49.5 to 50.5 in the direction of the stern, which gives the Alpina some more neutral handling characteristics.
By the end of 2003 a total of 450 Alpina Roadster V8 were delivered to the United States. The remaining 105 units remained for Europe and Japan.
If you are interested in Legendary Cars, you can have a look at our Cars for Sale, where we recently sold a BMW Z8 from 2002.