The BMW Z8 was the production car of the 1997 Z07 concept car, a tribute to the BMW 507 (1956-1959). Chris Bangle led the design team, while Henrik Fisker designed the exterior and Scotty Lempert the interior. Later on, Henrik Fisker would also be responsible for the design of the Aston Martin DB9 and V8 Vantage. In 2004 Fisker started his own car company of which the Fisker Karma would be the first (and only) model.
The Z07 concept was introduced at the 1997 Tokyo Auto Show and caused such a stir that BMW decided on a limited production model, the Z8. The engine was the 4,9 litre V8 from the E39 M5 coupled with a six-speed manual transmission. Its 400 hp launched the Z8 from 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) in 4.7 seconds. Top speed was limited to 250 km/h (155 mph). And according to the rave press reviews it was a real super car, capable of outperforming a Ferrari 360 Modena.
The exterior was a modern interpretation of the BMW 507, featuring innovations like the neon tail lights and turn indicators. The side-mounted turn indicators were integrated into the side vents in such a clever way, that they were only visible when activated. The front featured the famous BMW-kidneys but in a very atypical stretched-out fashion. The rear was the most vintage-styled part, resembling 1950s-1960s roadsters. A light-weight aluminium space frame supported the graceful body.
The interior was a combination of aluminium, leather and coloured panels. The retro leather steering wheel featured 3 spokes, each consisting of 4 aluminium bars. All gauges were located in the centre of the dashboard to offer an unrestricted view on the hood and the road. And although it featured many (luxury) options, the interior remained uncluttered by using multifunction controls and hiding equipment beneath retracting panels.
From 1999 until 2003 5,703 Z8s were built, 3,160 EU and 2,543 in US spec. During the last year (2003) Alpina produced 555 Alpina Roadster V8s (mainly for the USA). Alpina replaced the engine with an Alpina tuned V8-engine (381 hp) from the BMW X5, an automatic gearbox and Alpina-specific details.
All Z8 were convertibles with body-coloured hardtops. All elements of the car were built or finished by hand. In order to promote the Z8’s instant classic status, BMW even promised to stockpile 50 years’ worth of spare parts.
This Z8 is a Topaz Blue 2002 car with only 26,532 km. The combination with the beige nappa leather interior is only one of 138 ever produced.
The lines of the car are incredibly elegant. Especially the rear of the car reminds me of the Jaguar Series 1 E-types. The chrome details like the side vents and mirrors do really complement this deep shade of blue. Giving it a very distinct look.
But to be honest the interior is what impresses me most. The blue paint and beige leather, both some of my favourites colours, are truly stunning. The leather is everywhere; on the doors, centre console, dashboard, even on the rollover bars! The easiest (and most classic) way to go, would have been leather & wood. But instead the aluminium gives the interior the modern (slightly high-tech) feeling it deserves.
This makes up a gorgeous vintage interior, finished to the high standards you come to expect from a hand-built BMW.
The overall impression of the Z8 is not one of brutal force, but of effortless and elegant power. A true modern interpretation of a classic roadster. I really adore this car!
This BMW Z8 is being offered by Gina Classics (NL).