The BMW Z8 is already a fairly rare car and whenever one shows up for an auction, the undivided attention of most enthusiasts is easily diverted. That being said, the same can be said for its ALPINA version. One 2003 BMW Z8 ALPINA V8 Roadster was just sold at the Bonhams auction in Goodwood this weekend for no less than $329,000.
This year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed hasn’t only focused on watching cars race up the Goodwood hillclimb but also on offering the rich people present on the premises the option buy one or two rare BMWs. And it can hardly get any rarer than an ALPINA V8 Roadster of which only 555 were ever made. This particular model had only one owner over its lifetime and has gathered only 9,480 miles on the odometer since it was built.
The Z8’s body paneling and space frame chassis were fabricated in lightweight and corrosion resistant aluminum, while the 32-valve 4,941cc V8 engine, shared with the BMW E39 M5, was built by BMW’s Motorsport division. With 400 HP on tap, the Z8 raced to 100km/h (62mph) in 4.7 seconds and only the built-in rev limiter stopped it from exceeding 250km/h (155mph). Power reached the run-flat tires via a Getrag six-speed manual gearbox.
The specs and the design of the Z8 that was inspired by the 507 Roadster prompted a lot of people to start a true bidding war when the car was launched. Even though the price tag was restrictive for the 1990s, kicking off at $128,000, that didn’t seem to be a problem. Only 5,703 of them were ever made and BMW promised that spare parts for it will be kept intact in their stockpile for 50 years so that customers can rest easy at night.
On the ALPINA side of things, the German automaker decided to introduce a toned down version, that focused more on luxury and cruising than hardcore driving experiences. Being equipped with a 4.8-liter engine from the 5 Series ALPINA B10 V8 S and an ALPINA-specified ZF five-speed ‘Switchtronic’ automatic transmission with paddle-shift operation, the Roadster had 375 HP on tap but a bit more 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.
This particular car was sold at the Bonhams auction this weekend and it’s truly rare for a couple of reasons. Only 555 units were ever made of the ALPINA V8 Roadster and out of those, 450 were reserved for the US market. Out of the rest of the cars only 11 were painted in the same color ALPINA used to unveil their model at the Geneva Motor Show and this is one of them.