During a press trip with BMW, experiencing the all new roadster Z4 in Portugal, I had the opportunity to grab hold of a true legend amongst the roadster family.
The BMW Z8
Being given the opportunity to drive the BMW Z8, is somewhat being given the opportunity to experience the modern version of the BMW 507 – an opportunity one would not turn down!
After a shot of espresso and a quick breakfast I head towards the car park and there they were perfectly lined up, the roadster family. I talk to Benny from BMW Classic, whom gives quick instructions and then I (finally) get the keys handed over – the red beast is my first choice of the day and I am excited!
During the last years I have been lucky enough to inspect a few Z8’s and jump behind the steering wheel of one or the other. BUT, none of these experiences were about the pure driving pleasure, nor located in the “rain forest like” resort of Penha Longa in Estoril, Portugal. This morning was about to be one to remember.
Talking about the BMW Z8 one immediately is drawn back in time, nearly half a century. The “revival of the legend”, as BMW itself calls the Z8, was formed by a team around designer Henrik Fisker and Mike Ninic. The Z8 was for the first time presented during the International Motor Show in 1999. The series production followed in 2000 and within 3 years a total of 5.703 Z8’s left the factory. Back then one was able to be the proud owner of a Z8 by paying 235,000 DM – I believe rather happy customers.
Although, the Z8 is younger than some people’s day to day car, it seems to be an instant classic, a true classic car icon.
The BMW Z8 represents a revival of the concept of that classic roadster and ranks as its modern-day interpretation: breathtakingly beautiful, boasting classical proportions and bristling with innovative technology – quite simply, the revival of a legend.
In the words of Holger Lapp, Director of BMW Group Mobile Tradition: “The BMW Z8 represents a bridge from the past across the present and into the future. In many respects it is the modern-day rendition of the 507 theme. As a future classic it will give pleasure to its owners for many years to come and has already evolved into a sought-after collector’s item with enduring value.”
The almost endless bonnet of the Z8, its excessively dimensioned wheels and the lateral air intakes on each side all leave a serious impression. The Z8 also owns a “perfect figure” – 4.40 metres long, 1.83 metres wide and only 1.31 metres high.
The “look” of the Z8 shows unmistakably a BMW: Its wide kidney as well as small xenon-round headlights behind glass, importantly for brightness and a high signal effect, underlining traditional brand signature marks. The neon-light technology which appears in indicators, in rear & stop lamps also places on innovations.
The rear is at least as impressive with its body lines drawn downwards, the diffusor and two tailpipes of polished steel. The tailgate can be opened over the remote control integrated in the car keys, as well as through a switch in the A-pillar. The boot is big enough for the short trip of two people; here can be accommodated either a middle suitcase or two Golfbags.
Not only does this “classic” look stunning, it also performs accordingly. With nearly 400 hp, the V8 engine produces enough power to enjoy a quick ride across the countryside, without needing to worry about corners and turns.
Good to know: The BMW Z8 attained worldwide fame, already before the start of the real series production when it was used as “a company car” of James Bond in the “World is not enough” with extensive great hero’s equipment including a rocket launcher.
In 2003, readers of the magazine Motor Klassik also recognised the powerful
cult potential of the Z8. In voting for the “Classic of the Future” they duly
placed it 1st in the Convertible category by a wide margin.
Driving an instant classic through one of the greatest landscapes in Portugal is somewhat magical. Not many pictures were taken, as I concentrated on the road and driving experience, but here are a few impressions :) I hope you can enjoy them…