BMWs that Will be Missed: BMW E52 Z8 Roadster
Jeremy Clarkson said, when reviewing the Z8, that it didn't know whether this little car was a roadster or a supercar. It's easy to see why Jeremy was so confused. The Z8 had the engine of the E39 M5. That means that this roadster had a 4.9-liter V8 naturally aspirated engine producing 400 HP and 500 Nm of torque.
That engine gave the M5 a 0 to 100 time of 4.8 seconds. That is for a car that weighs almost 2 tones. The Roadster, as you might imagine, being a two-seater, weighted less. Around half a ton less, adding up to a total of 1,585 kg. This way, the "almost supercar" acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h was done in 4.2 seconds.
The E52 Z8 made history from other points of view as well. It was the second BMW car to be used in a Bond movie, after it's little brother, the Z3. Also, it was produced in only 5,703 units, most of them being sent out to the US.
During its limited life span, the Z8 managed to score some good numbers. Car and Driver magazine said that it was better than a Ferrari 360 Modena, a supercar that was really loved at the time. The car's lateral grip was measured at 0.92 by Road and Track magazine and so on.
In November 2002 the production for the Z8 stopped, only 3 years after being launched. However, true enthusiasts were able to buy a limited Alpina V8 Roadster edition. This one was tuned to be more enjoyable. The engineers at Alpina wanted to bring out the touring side of the car, instead of the super sport one.
The Alpina V8 Roadster had an automatic gearbox for more comfort (the BMW Z8 had only a manual gearbox) and the engine was downgraded to 4.8-liters (not much of a difference) while the suspension was modified to be more comfortable. The interior was also changed, featuring Alpina inserts and detailing.
Performance-wise the peak power was 375 HP while the torque levels increased to 519 Nm, available at considerably lower RPMs, all in the hope of creating a more comfortable tourer.This version was even more exclusive, only 555 of them being built.
The Z8 will be the closest thing to a supercar that BMW ever produced, excluding the M1. That can only make us wonder what the future holds for the Munich based company regarding the supercar segment.
❐ Check out the BMW E52 Z8 Roadster photo gallery