This month, at a press conference celebrating BMW’s 100th anniversary, BMW CEO Harald Krueger was asked about his favorite BMW of all time. The BMW boss picked the Z8 alongside the 507 Roadster as being his favorite BMWs of all-time. The first Z3 also received an honorable mention.
The high-class roadster made its debut in 2000 and during its three years life span there were 5,703 units built. The Z8 was the production variant of the 1997 Z07 concept car, which was designed by Henrik Fisker at BMW Designworks in Southern California. The Z07 originally was designed as a styling exercise intended to evoke and celebrate the 1956-’59 BMW 507.
At $128,000, the Z8 was placed near high-end of BMW’s lineup. The car had an all aluminum chassis and body and used a 4.9 L (4941 cc) 32 valve V8, that developed 400 hp (294 kW) and 500 Nm (363 lb·ft). This engine was built by the BMW M division and was shared with the E39 M5.
The engine was located behind the front axle in order to provide the car with 50/50 weight distribution. The factory claimed a 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62.5 mph) time of 4.7 seconds, but faster times were achieved by professional drivers and car magazines. The usual stop on the top speed was present in the Z8 as well, 155 mph (249 km/h).
BMW’s Z8 was first noticed by the world in the Bond film, “The World Is Not Enough”. While this isn’t the most popular of Bond films, nor was Pierce Brosnan the most popular of Bonds, the BMW Z8 made its mark on cinema. It was beautiful and exciting.
Only 5,307 units were ever made by BMW, while AlPINA built 555 units. We had the chance to drive a rare ALPINA Z8 Roadster back in 2010.