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BMW Z8: Buying guide and review (1999-2003)

BMW Z8: Buying guide and review (1999-2003) Classic and Performance Car
BMW Z8 BMW Z8 BMW Z8 BMW Z8 red interior BMW Z8 dashboard and steering wheel BMW Z8 engine BMW Z8
The BMW Z8 is far from the perfect car. It was always expensive, and although the fantastic 400bhp V8 M5 powertrain provide much entertainment, the Z8 was simply not an exceptional drivers' car. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the most desirable cars the company has ever made. Take one look at that all-aluminium Henrik Fisker-styled bodywork, and it’s easy to see why so many people love it – and also why it is so expensive today.
 
Launched in 1999, it paid homage to the ultra-rare 507 of the 1950s with classic, yet not overtly retro looks. The result was a high-performance convertible that everybody wanted – even James Bond in The World is Not Enough. Add the fact that just 5703 Z8s were produced worldwide, you suddenly have the makings of a highly collectible modern classic. 
 
The Z8 really didn’t have any rivals, and even BMW’s lesser Z1 and Z3 models were never anywhere near as exotic. This really was the re-embodiment of the 507. The only cars that could match the Z8 for drama would have been the Ferrari 360 and Aston Martin DB7, it’s the Z8 that is now the demand. 
 

Which Z8 to buy? 

 
The Z8 was a pure and-simple model, with one engine option and a limited range of colours, so the breadth of choice is not ridiculous like finding a Porsche 911. There weren’t any significant changes of the four-year production run either, but finding the perfect car might be more tricky than you think. 
 
As with any modern collectible classic of this ilk, finding one with low miles isn’t a difficult task, but finding a car that has been used correctly and maintained perfectly is more challenging. They do come up for sale from time to time though, and are generally in excellent condition. 
 
If a manual gearchange and a generally sporty demeanour are not what you are looking for, but you still love the looks, then the Alpina version could be the answer. Being far more than just a tuning company, Alpina has been producing its own versions of popular BMW models for decades. With the Z8, Alpina saw an opportunity to offer its customers a less edgy, more relaxed cruiser – making some rather unorthodox changes. 
 
Ripping out the M5-derived V8 engine was the first step, replacing it with another more torquey motor – the M62 4.6-litre Alpina-tuned V8 used in the B10 saloon. Power dropped by about 27bhp, however with torque increasing to 383 ft lb, the character changed massively, offering a far more laid back driving experience. This was compliented by a BMW steptronic transmission, softer sidewall tyres and more supple leather seats. 
 
The deciding factor may be availability, because the Alpina V8 Roadster is an extremely rare sight on UK roads. Officially only eight were sold here, with the majority of the 555 production run ending up in the United States. 
 

Performance and specs

 
BMW Z8

Engine  S62 4.9 Litre 32-valve V8
Power 400 bhp @ 6600rpm
Torque 370 lb ft @ 3800rpm
Transmission Six-speed manual
0-60mph 4.7sec 
Top speed 155mph (limited)
Insurance group   39
Fuel consumption  16.0mpg
Price when new  £1478
 

Dimensions and weight


Wheelbase            2505mm
Length 4400mm
Width 1830mm
Height 1317mm
Weight 1660kg
 

Common problems

 
• Unlike most one off sports cars, or highly strung exotics, the Z8 benefits hugely from utilising well proven running gear from the BMW stable. Here are the main things to look out for:
 
• All aluminium construction means rust is not an issue, but any repairs need to be carried out by an authorised repairer. 
 
• This same aluminium frame is also the cause of one of the more serious issues to look out for. Some owners complained of damaged front suspension struts after having driven over potholes or other obstructions. This was because the aluminium undercarriage was thought to be susceptible to warping. 
 
• Take a close look for any gaps around the bonnet shutlines and/or any visible distortions on the shock tower crown as this can indicate warped suspension mounts and lead to a very costly frame replacement. 
 
• BMW did not ever state that this was a fault of the vehicle, however they did release a ‘Performance Package’ comprising of hardened suspension mounts which was said to enhance handling and performance over rough roads. Most believe that this was BMW’s way of resolving the issue without admitting to there being an actual problem, either way it is an important thing to check on an otherwise reliable and solid car. The part needs to be ordered and fitted by a BMW dealer. 
 
• There were two cooling system recalls in 2001 and 2002, you should ask for proof that the required modifications were carried out by an approved BMW dealer on the vehicle you are looking at purchasing. 
 
• Brakes are well up to the task of retarding the car as they are also borrowed from the heavier M5, however there are many alternative brake replacement kits out there, so make sure that if it is modified they are from a reputable manufacturer 
 
• The S62 engine is a robust unit however regular oil changes are a must. The Mass Air Flow meters, located in the two intake tubes can give trouble at higher mileages which shows itself as engine hesitation/misfire at high revs and poor performance. Cleaning the sensor can sometimes resolve the problem otherwise a replacement unit will need to be purchased. 
 
• Intermittent starting issues or a clicking sound when turning the key usually is nothing more than the starter motor needing replacement. 
 
• Headlamps fogging up are an annoyance and can be cured by drilling small holes at the top and bottom of the units instead of having to replace them entirely. 
 
• A common fault on the Z8 is cam position sensor failure. An engine management warning light is the first sign of a problem and a system diagnostic can identify the issue. Replacement parts are not prohibitive. 
 
• Gearboxes are from the E39 M5, they should be trouble free if unabused, changing the gearbox oil can ease gearchanges when cold. 
 

Model history

 
1997: Z07 concept car shown at Tokyo Motor show 
1999: Z8 goes on sale, shape remains faithful to the Z07 concept car 
2002: Z8 production run of 5703 cars comes to an end 
2003: Alpina V8 Roadster goes on sale in limited numbers – 555 produced in total 
2006: Last five Alpina V8s sold 
 

Owners clubs, forums and websites

 
- www.bmwcarclubgb.uk
- www.bmwz8.us
- www.bmwz8club.com
 

Summary and prices

 
The BMW Z8 is the sort of car that comes along once every few decades, combining the best an auto manufacturer has to offer without the restrictions imposed by mass production. Limited numbers and a timeless appeal have seen prices rise in recent years, finding one however can be tricky. Prices currently range from around £150,000 to £175,000 and values are mainly influenced by condition and mileage. 
 
Colour and age are not as crucial and modified examples are rare. If you are in the market for a useable exotic, you may find that you can have your cake and eat it with the Z8, as the ownership prospect is a largely trouble free one. You may even walk away after five years having turned a profit, now that is an investment worth making. 
BMW Z8 BMW Z8 BMW Z8 BMW Z8 red interior BMW Z8 dashboard and steering wheel BMW Z8 engine BMW Z8
Last updated: 16th Jun 2017
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BMW Z8 cars for sale

9 Search results
BMW Z8
199995 245000 GBP
  • BMW Z8 cabriolet 2003 Titanium Silver

    POA POA

    SOLD / VERKAUFT / VENDU / VERKOCHT BMW Z8 cabriolet 2003 Titanium Silver, 43.000 original km, dealer maintained The BMW Z8 was produced between 1999 and 2003. Only 5703 were built. This perfect BMW was delivered in 2003 in the original BMW Titanium Silver colour and the original Z8 wheels. The car has a black leather interior with a partly varnished dashboard. The interior looks sporty, but is comfortable too, with all the possible options. The car has the original BMW M-power, V8, 4941 CC, 400 HP engine and a 6 speed manual gearbox. Fully dealer maintained. The car has all the booklets and even the introductionpackage is present. The BMW Z8 is a very popular, exclusive youngtimer and an interesting investment also. Car has Holland title and Holland mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 2003
    For sale
    E&R Classic Cars
    +31 416 751393 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • BMW Z8 Cabriolet 2000

    POA POA

    BMW Z8 2000 original 84.000 kms, damage free, full black with hard top The BMW Z8 was introduced in 1999 at the Frankfurt Motor Show and built from april 2000 till july 2003. The developers were inspired by the BMW 507, a popular but very rare sportscar from the fifties. This BMW was delivered on 12 september 2000. There were 4708 Z8 built and only 667 had the colourcombination of black with black interior. The car is in a very beautiful, very well maintained condition and damage free ofcourse. The car has the original 4941 CC V8 400 HP engine and manual gearbox. Drives great. The original manual and service booklets are present. The interest in Z8 in increasing, so this is not only a great car to see and drive, but a good investment also. Car has Japanese title and mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 2000
    For sale
  • BMW Z8

    POA POA

    Features : Delivered new by BMW MIRABEAU Paris 16, V8 400hp, maintenance book to the day Comment : Hard Top, cover, power hood, Monochrome GPS, leather interior, heated seat, CD audio system, air conditioning

    • Year: 2009
    • Mileage: 56868 mi
    For sale
  • BMW Z8 Roadster

    £245,000 £245,000

    The BMW Z07 concept car, first shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1997, blossomed from a dream into a production reality. Production of the BMW Z8 was announced at the Detroit Motor Show in January 1999. Designed for connoisseurs, the BMW Z8 was both very exclusive and a technological tour de force. Its blend of aesthetic design and dynamic performance is born of BMW’s desire to show how the 1956 BMW 507 might have developed had it been an integral part of the BMW range in the intervening period. The evocative and exotic style of the Z8 echoes the concept design very closely. The broad kidney grille and small xenon headlights faired in by glass covers flow into a long bonnet with muscular wheel arches and wide doors rounded off by a shapely yet purposeful tail with four large tailpipes. The Z8 even bears the typical 507 air scoops on its front wings whilst a luxurious leather interior is set off by a central instrument binnacle typical of that elegant era of convertible cars. Under the skin the Z8 is pure technology. The Z8 is built on an aluminum alloy spaceframe and carries an all-aluminium body. The power unit for the vehicle is no less than the 5.0l V8 engine from the M5.

    For sale
  • BMW Z8 Roadster

    £199,995 £199,995

    Having covered just 25,450 Miles from new, this Z8 presents in superb condition supporting how well this car has been cared for from new. Accompanied by its full book pack, original spare key and exceptionally rare factory hard top roof, this Z8 is UK registered and is located in our showrooms just outside London and available to view immediately.

    For sale
  • 2002 BMW Z8

    POA POA

    2002 BMW Z8 Roadster finished in silver with black/red hide interior. Supplied new in Germany. 13,500 kms (8,500 miles) One of the lowest mileage examples left

    • Year: 2002
    • Mileage: 8500 mi
    For sale
  • 2002 BMW Z8 roadster

    $225,000(£173,542.50) $225,000(£173,542.50)

    2002 BMW Z8 roadster, Titanium Silver with red, S/N WBAEJ13422AH61732, only 7,485 miles from new, 5.0 litre 400hp normally aspirated V8 engine, 6 speed manual transmission, heated seats, factory removable hard top, extensive list of sundry items including: hard top stand, original owner’s manuals and spare keys, original window sticker, “coffee table” production book, Z8 car cover, Z8 hard top cover, wind deflector, soft top window cloth, tool roll, factory battery tender, factory first aid kit, delivered new May 2002 by Foreign Motors West, Natick, Massachusetts, this collector quality Z8 roadster has been in the Copley family from new.

    • Year: 2002
    • Mileage: 7485 mi
    For sale
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