Earlier today, we took a look at a very cool car collection that featured two of the most desirable BMWs of all time—the 3.0 CSL and BMW Z8. In this new video from The Late Brake Show, host Jonny Smith drives that very Z8 and claims it to not only be the most misunderstood BMW but also potentially the most collectable one.
The BMW Z8 is a fascinating car and is the exact sort of car BMW doesn’t make anymore. BMW wanted to make something special, a convertible GT car not based on any other pre-existing BMW. So it asked one of its most talented designers to pen the car, Henrik Fisker. What Fisker and his team did was create a gorgeous homage to the 507 that was also a throwback to classic sports cars of old. It’s a stunning piece of design and easily one of the prettiest BMWs ever made, perhaps the prettiest.
Looking at the BMW Z8 and it’s easy to see its influence. Its incredibly short rear deck, long hood, excellent dash-to-axle ratio, low-slung hood with raised front fenders, and short overhangs made the Z8 look and feel like every great classic sports car. Its wide mustache-like kidney grille is iconic, as are its razor-thin taillights, and its interior is retro design done right.
Under the skin, the BMW Z8 is powered by a 4.9-liter naturally aspirated V8, the same one found in the E39 M5. It made 400 horsepower, a fantastic noise, and was paired only to a six-speed manual transmission. Here’s where it gets misunderstood, though. Despite its free-breathing V8 and manual gearbox, the Z8 was never a sports car. Instead, it was a sporty GT car. It was too comfortable and easy to drive to be a sports car. What it was meant to do was be a long-legged, continent-crossing cruiser that could handle a twisty road if it found one.
With its punchy V8, the BMW Z8 is quick but not astonishingly so, with a 0-60 mph time of about 4.7 seconds. So it isn’t going to light your hair on fire. Instead, it’s going to reward you with a pleasant driving experience that gives you all the things you want from a sporty GT: great steering feel, a comfortable ride, a smooth but torquey engine, a wonderful manual transmission, and the ability to cruise at high speed for hours. If I were looking for a six-figure BMW GT car, I’m not sure I could pass up the Z8.