BMW Z8 E52 Roadster

The BMW Z8 roadster was the production variant of the 1997 Z07 concept car produced by BMW at the Dingolfing and Munich Plants in Germany from 1999 to 2003, of which was given the E52 BMW model code. There were 5,703 BMW Z8 Roadsters built of which almost half were exported to the USA.

Due to the limited volume of Z8 production, all elements of the car were constructed or finished by hand, thereby compounding the importance of ongoing manufacturer support for the type. The Z8 spaceframe was produced in the Dingolfing Plant and the cars were hand-finished in Munich.

Improvements made to the cars were mandatory with the windscreen of the new Z8 extended upward, and a larger front airdam was fitted to improve the aerodynamic stability and give the occupants of the car better protection from the wind force. The hardtop was changed to a single dome with a truncated convex backside. The four-spoke steering wheel of the concept car was replaced by a three spoke design. The fender mounted indicators were integrated into the side vents in a fashion.

The car retailed at R990,000-00 which featured an all aluminum chassis and body, fitted with a 4.9 litre, 32-valve V8 motor that was capable of developing 400 Hp or 300 kW and 500 N.m of torque. The engine was located behind the front axle in order to provide the car with 50/50 weight distribution. The engine is coded and known as the BMW S62 motor which was built by BMW Motorsport and was also fitted to the BMW E39 M5 cars. The factory claimed a 0–100 km/h in a time of 4.7 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h.

The Z8 included an innovative use of neon exterior lighting. The tail lights and turn indicators are powered by neon tubes that offer quicker activation than standard light bulbs. Every Z8 was shipped with a color-matching metal hardtop with rear defroster.

BMW promised that a 50 year stockpile of spare parts to investors in order to support the Z8 fleet. The price point and production process allowed BMW to offer custom options to interested buyers.

With production of the Z8 completed by the end of 2002 the Z8 was replaced by the Alpina V8 Roadster which was upgraded with an Alpina E39 B10 V8 S 4.8 litre S62 engine was featured with a 5-speed BMW steptronic automatic transmission. A new softer grade of Nappa leather replaced the Z8's less supple leather trim, and special Alpina gauges were featured on the instrument cluster. An Alpina steering wheel with three solid spokes replaced the original, which could not be retrofitted with shift paddles for the automatic.

The performance of the Alpina V8 differed from that of the standard car in that peak power was reduced to 375 Hp or 280 kW and torque output was raised to 519 N.m of torque. The electronically limited top speed was officially raised to 259 km/h.

Only 555 versions of the Z8 Alpina’s were built.

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