The BMW Z8 (E52) is a two-door roadster, produced by the German automotive manufacturer BMW, and developed by a team of designers led by Chris Bangle, of whom Henrik Fisker is certainly the most famous. The basis for the super sports car was the production model of the BMW Z07, which was presented as a concept car in 1997. The Z8 itself was presented at the IAA in Frankfurt in 1999 and built between April 2000 and July 2003.
The designers of the Z07 who presented the car at the 1997 Tokyo Motor Show were inspired by the BMW 507, a popular but rare sports car from the 1950s. Since the response to the Z07 was very good, BMW decided to produce the car almost unchanged, but with a different name.
The BMW Z8 is equipped with a 4.9L V8 engine which, combined with a six-speed manual gearbox, provides 400 hp (294 kW). This engine was built by BMW Motorsport and was also the base of the E39 M5. It accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds. It has a limited top speed of 250 km/h, but unlimited, it would reach 300 km/h. Full braking from 100 km/h to 0 km/h takes place in 2.5 seconds.
The Z8 weighs 1,590 kg. It is 4.40m long, 1.83m wide and 1.32m high.
BMW 507, year of construction 1958
The BMW Z8 has obvious similarities with the BMW 507: both are completely made of aluminum, the V8 engine is also under a long bonnet, the two long, narrow kidney openings, the air inlet in the side behind the front wheels, a tight cockpit and also the short tail are typical.
For the body of the Z8, the engineers used a new technique: an aluminum space frame structure coating. The bumpers are made of polyurethane. The Z8 has 18-inch rims with run-flat tires. At the rear, two taillights, a diffuser and two polished stainless steel tailpipes shut off the car.
BMW also presented some technical innovations with the Z8, including the new Neon lighting technology. This fitted the turn signals, the taillights and the brake lights. The great advantages of neon tubes are, firstly, the faster response time and, second, the longer life. The latter proved, however, soon to be wrong, since the neon tubes were quickly replaced by lamps made by Seima and Osram.
The Z8 had no accessory list: the car was standard full equipped, including a hardtop with heated rear window, the same color as the body, a Motorola phone, a Harman Kardon sound system etc. The car was delivered in 5 colors: Titanium silver, Black, strato gray, topazblue and red, and upon special request an individual two-tone mixture. One could choose from three leather colors: red, black, beige, and combinations of the three colors.
The Z8’s cockpit consists mainly of aluminum and leather. It is also noteworthy that parts of the dashboard, the center console, and even the overhangs are covered with leather.
Inside you find elements of the older sports cars from BMW, but modernized: The Z8 has among other things a pushbutton to start. The tachometer, the odometer and the speedometer are located in the center of the dashboard. The retro steering wheel has three spokes, each consisting of four aluminum rods.
Alpina roadster V8
In the last year of the Z8, the official tuner from BMW, Alpina, built a modified version of the sports car: the Alpina Roadster V8. So they called him. It was only produced in 2003. A total of 555 of the tuned Z8 Alpina Roadster V8 were built, of which a large majority was destinated for the USA. This car was the reason for some criticism, mainly because the original BMW M engine was replaced by an Alpina-updated V8 engine, which is also installed in the BMW X5. The Alpina V8 engine delivers 381 hp, but, in comparison, at a lower engine speed (5800 rpm). Therefore it was important to equip the Z8 Alpina Roadster V8 with an automatic gearbox. The V8 roadster accelerates from 0 to 100 km / h in 4.9 seconds.
Other changes are the new 20-inch wheels and tires. The cockpit is equipped with special nappa leather, special pipes and Alpina logos on the backrests.
BMW Z8 Racing Dynamics RS50
Racing Dynamics, an official BMW tuner, introduced in 2000 a tuned version of the Z8, the BMW Z8 Racing Dynamics RS50. Some of the new features:
The RS50 engine from RD delivers 515 hp at 7400 rpm.
A sport air intake and exhaust and an EMS (Engine Management Software) from RD.
An aerokit from RD consisting of a front spoiler, stainless steel side profiles, a sporty rear bumper with two double stainless steel sports exhaust, a headlamp cover, a stainless steel roll bar, and double five-spoke 19-inch wheels.
When the BMW Z8 went on sale in 2000, he was already well-known and popular. This was because he was acting as a Bond car in the James Bond movie “The World Is Not Enough”, which appeared in theaters in November 1999. Later, in 2002, the Z8 could also be seen in the movie “The Tuxedo” with Jackie Chan and Jennifer Love Hewitt.
In addition, the BMW Z8 was also a protagonist in some racing games like “Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2”.