The BMW Z07 concept car, first shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1997, blossomed from a dream into a production reality. Production of the BMW Z8 was announced at the Detroit Motor Show in January 1999. The Z8 was chosen to feature as James Bond’s car of choice which goes some way to denote both its presence and allure.
Designed for connoisseurs, the BMW Z8 was both very exclusive and a technological “tour de force”. Its blend of aesthetic design and dynamic performance is born of BMW’s desire to show how the 1956 BMW 507 might have developed had it been an integral part of the BMW range in the intervening period.
The evocative and exotic style of the Z8 echoes the concept design very closely. The broad kidney grille and small xenon headlights faired in by glass covers flow into a long bonnet with muscular wheel arches and wide doors rounded off by a shapely yet purposeful tail with four large tailpipes. The Z8 even bears the typical 507 air scoops on its front wings whilst a luxurious leather interior is set off by a central instrument binnacle typical of that elegant era of convertible cars.
This was not, however, the end of the Z8 story. BMW tuning specialist Alpina then introduced its own, even more exclusive version: the Alpina V8 Roadster. Alpina’s product was less hard-edged and considerably more refined than the original. This was due to the slightly smaller 4.8-litre engine from the 5-Series Alpina B10 V8 S and an Alpina-specified ZF five-speed automatic transmission. With a maximum of 375bhp on tap, the Roadster’s engine was re-tuned for greater torque at lower revs, which better suited the automatic transmission. Top speed was limited to 161mph, with 60mph coming up in 5.0 seconds, only a couple of tenths slower than the original Z8.
The suspension was revised to provide a smoother ride, and the original 18″ wheels and run-flat tyres were replaced with 20″ rims and tyres with taller sidewalls. Re-trimmed in softer Nappa leather, the interior boasted many Alpina-specific touches including the steering wheel, gauges, and gear selection display.. Car & Driver praised the improved Z8: ‘In fact, some of us, who regard the Z8 more as a design icon than a serious sports car, reckon the Alpina Roadster V8, with its easygoing power delivery and automatic transmission, is what this car should have been all along.’
The limited edition Alpina V8 offered here is number 338 of 555 produced by Alpina. Superior to those of the original Z8, this model boasted extensive features including cruise control, air conditioning, navigation system and electric heated seats to name a few. This example comes with a hardtop in body colour with stand in addition to an electric fabric roof in black. The 20 inch original Alpina alloy wheels come with rim lock for added security. Finally, the wind deflector and cover, tool kit with the original leather bag, and in-flight portfolio with checkbook complete the inventory. The last service was carried out at 66,800 km at BMW Kaltenbach.
This car represents a rare opportunity to own a well looked after German icon for the serious collector.