Monday, December 22, 2008
When the BMW dealer handed me the plastic fob, he insisted I drive the 335i Convertible with the top down. Despite the cool, foggy San Francisco weather, I held the plipper's unlock button down and watched the show. As the hardtop began its elaborate three part dance into the trunk, I felt that old familiar flutter. The feeling was born when I started driving lessons in my Dad's 1963 Chevrolet Impala rag top, survived my first car (a 1962 VW Beetle convertible) and lead to my current stable of drop tops. Would the 335i live up to its predecessors?
Four wheel-drive sedans are divisive devices. Their buyers tend to split into two camps: snow scared drivers (who would no more cane their car in the dry than leave home without their wallet) and pistonheads (intent on boldly hooning where no front or rear wheel-driver would hoon before). Of course, pistonheads like the extra snow-and-go seating, but fear the four wheel-drive gubbins will add extra weight and sap steering feel. So, does the BMW 328xi coupe cater to both groups, dodging the dynamic bullet even as it pampers the paranoid?
I've had a thing for the BMW 6-Series ever since "Spenser: for Hire" shared airtime with Mötley Crüe. While Robert Urich had a cool Mustang, Avery Brooks had a vehicle worthy of his icy-cold demeanor: a white BMW 635CSi. Could there ever be a better vehicle in which a man could do the right thing by any means necessary? There is now. The BMW M6 has tons of M-tuned street cred and many of the right moves. Many, but not all.
Fifteen years ago, I lived in the Colorado Mountains. Naturally, I owned a Jeep. For someone who was constantly fording streams and driving through blizzards, the vehicle made perfect sense. Now that I'm living in California, I buy vehicles which make the most of the balmly weather and the pleasing plethora of paved surfaces. And yet my current employment has an agricultural element; there are times when I need a vehicle to traverse rocky trails and unpaved lanes. Workers who see me approaching to bum a ride in their truck have started to pretend they only speak Spanish. So I've been shopping for an SUV. I began with one of the brands I know best: BMW.
Chris Bangle's architecture is still a shock to the system. I still cringe whenever one of the BMW designer's "flame surfaced" 7 Series hoves into view. I still shake my head when I catch a glimpse of a 5 Series' mascara headlights. I still avert my eyes when any of his models drive past, for fear of glimpsing the rightfully reviled "Bangle butt." So I was flabbergasted when I encountered the new 335i coupe in the metal. From its balanced proportions to its elegantly cut creases and demure posterior, it's a stylishly conservative yet sporty design. Was Mr. Bangle on vacation when The Board of Directors approved this machine?
Chris Bangle will be remembered as the most influential automobile designer of the early 21st century. All of the hip cars of our times have Bangled butts and complicated interfaces. The BMW 650i convertible is arguably the finest expression of Mr. Bangle's "flame surfacing." Viewed from the front, the vehicle resembles a shark. In grey or dark blue colors, the 650i has a distinctly ominous presence. If you did nothing more than stare at the front end of this car, you'd feel it was $80k well spent. Unfortunately, eventually, you will walk around to the back …
The 650i's back end is the Bimmer's most badly Bangled bit. The chopped roofline of the soft-top narrows to a slit for the rear window, with dorsal fins protruding back from the rear edges. I'm not sure quite what visual impact Bangle's boyz intended, but the design sure makes backing-up or checking for cars on your flanks an exercise in trust in your fellow man. If you raise the 650i's trunk, step back and imagine what the vehicle might have looked like with a more conservative tail line, you get the feeling Chris snatched pretension from the jaws of greatness.
When I saw a mustard-colored Bentley GT rocketing towards my all time favorite highway exit, I knew lunch was served. Paddling from seventh to third and pressing go, I closed the gap between the M5's voracious prow and Bentley Boy's behind before the adrenalin could hit my bloodstream. As we entered the ramp, the Bimmer's heads-up display assured me I had enough rpm-age to blow-off anything that wasn't built out of carbon fiber and/or jet-powered. When the off-ramp widened for a few yards, I dove inside and dusted Bentley Boy into a fine powder. Despite my obvious, riotous supremacy, nothing changed. BMW's uber-sedan was not my friend.
Supercar scalping in a family four-door is a terrific way to kill an afternoon, but the original M5 earned its place in automotive Valhalla as the consumate all-rounder: a car that can schlep, thrash, coddle, cruise, potter and impress with equal aplomb. Make no mistake: while the M5's accelerative aggression and Nürburgring-fettled handling got the headlines, the uber-Bimmer's core appeal lay within its relatively humble origins, daily practicality and circumspect sheet metal. No other car-- at any price-- offered such a potent blend of ability and humility.
Call me an oxymoron, but I don't get the whole sports wagon thing. Fast wagon, sure. Hey kids! Watch Daddy wipe the smile off that smug bastard in the baby car. But "sports wagon" clearly implies high-speed cornering. Centrifugal force has this nasty habit of upending juice boxes, sending toys into black holes and making protective mothers scream with homicidal fury. I'd like to say BMW's 325xI Sports Wagon (SW) is an ideal high performance load lugger for lifestylers who don't share my domestic concerns, but I can't because it isn't.
The 325xI Sports Wagon's basic proportions look promising enough for wagon-loving corner carvers-- should enough of them exist to establish a consensus. Although it's a fair distance between the front and rear wheels, the SW's overhangs could double as window ledges, and the car itself is athletically compact. Or not. It's hard to tell. Thanks to BMW's kooky "flame-surfacing", their 3 Series five-door's perceived size depends entirely on the viewing distance, the angle chosen and the amount of time spent staring at the thing. Taken as a whole, the flat-nosed SW says "road rocket" like a pepperoni pizza says "dessert."
An electrical relay sitting in the front windscreen's rain gutter. Headliner that looks like mouse fur. Soft touch plastics that aren't. If you look closely at the new BMW 3-Series you'll see considerable evidence that Mercedes isn't the only German brand cutting corners at the low end of their lineup. But there's a difference: BMW says they let the whole obsessive compulsive construction thing slide so they could enlarge the 3-Series' performance envelope whilst holding the line on postage. In other words, they amped-up the driving dynamics rather than sweating the small stuff.
The new 3's helm justifies the justification. For far too long, BMW has pandered to America's [alleged] predilection for steering with all the feel and feedback of a Novocained bicuspid. Now, finally, The Boys from Bavaria have installed a rack-and-pinion tiller that rewards elbow grease with information. Whether you're giving it some mid-corner or jinking around a Volvo, the wheel tells you where you are in the pivoting process and what's happening underfoot. It makes driving, wait for it, fun. (Anyone who opts for Bimmer's anesthetic-- I mean, active steering system loses all pistonhead privileges.)
I swear I've haven't clipped a curb in decades. And yet there I was, cutting in front of a line of traffic in the great Rhode Island tradition, when I heard the muffled whump of the 645Ci's rear tire cresting concrete. It's not the kind of sound you want to hear when piloting a $70k "Ultimate Driving Machine"-- if only because it makes you seem a lot less than the ultimate driver. Not guilty. I blame mechanical foul play.
Firstly, the 645Ci is a hard charger. The moment your right foot touches the go pedal, every one of the coupe's 325 horses stampedes towards the horizon. That may not sound like enough horsepower to make you lose your bearings, but by God, it is. Thanks to a stepless intake manifold, double VANOS variable valve timing and other Bavarian black arts, the 3781lbs. luxobarge steams to sixty in a scarcely credible 5.5 seconds. More importantly, it strains to do so at every possible opportunity, to the point where the traction control idiot light sends out a steady stream of Morse Code.
The ultimate pie-eater's car? You're walking down the street, minding your own business. For once, you're not thinking about cars. Suddenly, you hear it: a low frequency, menacing rumble. The sound bounces off nearby buildings and hits your synapses like a football drilled into the back of the net. It's the burble. For a red-blooded pistonhead, the thrill created by a proper barrel-chested burble is irresistible. Involuntarily, your head swivels to identify the machine producing this mechanical siren song. It's a… BMW?
C'mon. TVRs burble. Old-fashioned muscle cars with engines that burst from their bonnets like biceps through The Incredible Hulk's shirt, burble. Well, so does the BMW M5. From the moment you turn the key, the 400 horsepower M-power plant burbles with as much conviction as a Shelby Cobra. The M5 may look like a mildly tweaked version of BMW's bread and butter barge, but it isn't. Anyone with ears knows this car is a serious piece of kit.
As I lowered myself into the new BMW 7-Series' micro-perforated, climate-controlled, buttock massaging passenger seat, I noticed that my diminutive driver seemed a bit, well, lethargic. He had the half-lidded laid-back look of the seriously pampered. Not what you'd expect from a professional race driver about to hurl 1945kg's of somebody else's luxury car around a racetrack. One chicane later and I shared his complacency. The new 7-Series can be driven at maximum velocity with no more drama than an episode of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Which is to say none at all, then a bit, then not at all. Hell, you could phone it in.
Or perhaps not. That depends on whether or not you know how to remove the sim card from your mobile phone. To use the 7's on-board telephony, you have to extract your sim card, open the phone drawer, take out a tiny plastic holder, fit your sim card into the holder and insert the holder into a small slot. Then, and only then, you can you use BMW's detachable 'portable' phone, or the new iDrive controller, or wheel-mounted buttons, or a separate (and miniscule) keypad, to phone a friend. I don't think the police would call the process 'hands free'.
BMW has finally released some pictures and details concerning the redesigned Z4 Roadster. It will make an even better appearance during the 2009 Detroit Auto Show. This new model from BMW features the sDrive30i 3.0 liter, inline-six engines that can produce 255 horsepower. The sDrive35i is more powerful and uses twin turbochargers and direct injection to offer more horsepower.
Six-speed manual transmissions connect the engine to the wheels. The sDrive35i comes optional with the seven-speed double clutch transmission. This allows it to go from 0 to 60 mph in under five seconds.
The exterior of the new Z4 has been changed slightly and features swept back headlamps and front air dam details. These help to make the model seem bigger. However, it keeps to its lean look thanks to the new ducktail - which has been produced will a less aggressive design. One of the biggest changes is the brand new power hardtop. This is a two piece aluminum rood that opens and closes in 20 seconds with just a simple push of a button.
BMW is once again working on creating an easier way for you to pay for things with your car keys. The new Smart Key (multifunction key) has been built with a security chip that gives it the ability to talk to a card reader over short distances. Right now it has limited function - but BMW is hoping that over the years they will be able to expand upon this idea.
It will be able to store access passes for different methods of public transportation and information to help facilitate electronic payments. These are only two things that BMW will hope to bring in customers and make their lives much easier.
The best thing is that it will be able to carry the drivers personal preferences between each car. Owners will have their own fib personalized to their ConnectedDrive preferences - which would help make those options available in any BMW model and not just their own personal cars. This is the best way for people to remember their favorite radio stations and other special services when traveling.
BMW is going to be changing a few key elements. For years they have been using the high revving and normally aspirated engines in their M models - but this will change. They will be taking a new direction and instead start offering the direct-injection turbocharged power plants in these high performance models.
The automaker stated that because of the tougher environmental emission standards and the increase in manufacturing costs something had to change. It is just too expensive and no longer practical to be producing large amounts of their specially designed V8 and V10 engines that can be found in the M3, M5, and M6 models.
The X6 xDrive M will be the first M model to carry the brand new turbocharged engines. It will be produced with a 4.4 liter V8 engine that can produce 500 horsepower and 516 pound-ft of torque. Reports from BMW lead us to believe that this same engine will be placed in the F10 chassis M5 - which we will see late in 2010.
BMW decided to flaunt off and brag about their new diesel engines during the LA Auto Show. They stated that these diesel engines are a great alternative to hybrids in the U.S. like they are in other European countries. BMW had not planned to bring a diesel version of its 7-Series over to our fair shores - but we hear that its dealerships are urging them to.
They are now considering re-designing the range of 7-Series for 2009 and equipping them with a 4.4 liter twin-turbo V8. If this is successful we might see them expanding on this. We assume that they will start to import the diesel versions of the X5 utility vehicle and 3-Series with a twin-turbo six cylinder engine.
Averaging it out, a BMW is close to 20%-25% more efficient then the gasoline brands. Because of this having a diesel engine is beneficial to consumers to help lower the cost of fuel. It also helps manufacturers to meet the new CAFÉ fuel mileage stats.
Investigators unearthed a 2000 BMW 740I buried in a giant hole in North Texas 12 feet underneath the ground. Special Agent with the National Insurance Crime Bureau Tommy Reed stated that by the looks of it was "in the ground for nearly two years. It was in bad shape."
At first authorities noticed that the area was muddy and something did not look right about it. They brought in some machinery and workers and started to dig. Reed said that, "There was trash exposed. It was six to seven (feet) down, and we had to dig another four to five feet to get it out."
The BMW is now worthless - but at the time it was brand new and cost $60,000. Authorities said that they found it in two separate pieces. "I've uncovered vehicles buried before… Stolen vehicles buried before, but not one this deep," Reed said.
Records in the car show that it was once owned by Van Lewis who lives on the ranch. According to records at the NCIB Lewis' son filed a police report two years ago that stated that the BMW had been stolen. Obviously that report was a fake. "It was nearly eight-years-old. The insurance company paid $18,800 something for it. It's definitely insurance fraud," said Reed.
Insurance fraud is something that is becoming more and more common. "The percentage of insurance fraud is up there in the neighborhood of 30 percent," said Reed. "It causes our premiums to go up every year. Everyone pays for this." Authorities are still investigating and have not yet filed charges.
BMW's dual clutch transmission sounds like a complicated piece of equipment and it is. The dual clutch transmission was built in Munich and the people are not the only one who have had problems using it. BMW itself had a difficult trying to figure it out the first time they tried.
But they did manage to figure it out or they would never have installed it in their latest generation M3. However, that doesn't mean that many consumers will understand what it means. BMW has now issued a recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that the problem with the DCT is that it makes it hard for hard braking. The transmission was built to initiate a multi stage downshift when braking and this can cause the car to stall.
So now BMW is asking that the owners of the 2008 and 2009 M3 built with the DCT (which is around 2,500) bring it in for a simple software update. All they need to do is bring it into their nearest dealership and let them fix the problem free of charge. Now BMW owners can brake in peace.
New spy shots of the BMW Z4 were released showing the new hardtop convertible out and about and with very little camouflage. It was sporting a very unusual covering that wasn't able to hide the final shape of the car.
It is obvious that they have taken a different design strategy for the Z4 and we are loving it so far. It is a bit of an evolutionary process that we have not seen BMW take in a long time. They have cleaned up the design and made it similar to the 3-series with a larger twin kidney grille.
The proportions are also much more balanced and reasonably sized in the front end with a tapered rear. BMW has decided to put aside the soft top and replace it with a retractable hard top - which we prefer. It is a very good necessity to have.
Brabgam Racing is taking on the challenge of making the BMW M3 into something bigger and badder. Those who are familiar with racing will recognize this name and know that Brabgam was one of the biggest names in the racing world.
The company was founded by Australian F1 driver Jack Brabham in 1960. The company was strong and successful until 1992 when it went bust from financial liabilities. But before that happened they managed to win the F1 drivers' title four different times and also the constructor's crown twice. Brabham's 1966 title is the only championship that was won by a car using its driver's name.
After almost 16 years of quiet Brabham has returned and is beginning again by working on BMW models. The company will be offering the spruced up cars during the Essen Motor Show in Germany. This line-up will include the BT 60 based on the M5, BT 70 based on the X6, and the BT 92 based on the M3.
Executives from BMW and Ford are in the middle of talking about how Ford will sell Volvo to the German automaker. The executives have denied any talks so at this time this is still a rumor.
Marc Hassinger - spokesman for BMW - denied that the two companies were talking and having "talks or preliminary talks" about Volvo. However, it is possible that they are covering the talks up until more details have been discussed and are in place. This isn't the first time the two have gotten together.
Two years ago BMW and Ford were in talks over Ford's Land Rover and Jaguar brands. Ford sold these two brands this year for $2.3 billion to Tata Motors.
Ford has been struggling this year as their sales have plummeted 18.4% through September. U.S. sales for Volvo have also fallen by more than a quarter from the first nine months of 2007. They have cut off almost 6,000 jobs since June.
The BMW MINI Crossover and X1 Concept will be making their way to production. Norbert Reithofer - BMW CEO - stated that the company is confident that both models will do well despite the economic and fuel problems facing consumers in the U.S.
However, they will be killing off the X7 because is does not have the ability to "generate sufficient growth". The car was scheduled to be released in 2013. The MINI is now scheduled to the market in 2010 and the X1 will make its way to our shores in late 2011. Reithofer believes that even though the X6 is a current front runner in the market the X1 will take over and become a mainstream player.
Naturally many of us are curious as to the life of these cars and whether or not they will actually have a shelf life. Are they really worth buying in this economic crisis and recession that we are facing? We suppose there are many people out there who can afford it and won't think twice about purchasing one for themselves.
With the Z4 news starting to slow down for now, the focus seems to be on the "twins": the BMW X5 M and X6 M. We have been used to seeing spy shots of the X5 M being driven near the Spartanburg factory in South Carolina, but this time, the M SAV was spotted in Munich.
Wearing very little camo, the test mule is similar to the U.S based ones, but….we did learn something interesting recently. The BMW X5 M will be equipped with the headlights from its twin-brother, the X6 M. Basically, the X5 M will feature same fascia as the X6 M to enhance the "M look".
Most likely, the BMW X5 M will be powered by a modified version of the twin-turbo 4.4 liter engine, enough to compete with the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. The BMW X5 M and X6 M models have a projected delivery date set for September '09.
Let me finish with this question: is there a need for an M version of the X5? My opinion: no, there is not, but there are people waiting for it.
[Source: Autoblog.nl ]
BMW has been a leading force in automotive technology for years, especially on the electronics side. Their engines are no exception.
The "New Generation" engines incorporate the most cutting edge of these innovations. This article will basically cover BMW's 6 cylinder engines, touch a little on their V8's, and we'll have a poke at a V12.
First let's get a little techno speak. BMW uses 4 different letters in their engine identification codes.
1. M – for standard production engines
2. S – for Motorsport engines
3. N - for "New Generation" engines (all the current engines in use are now N designated. It has become the production code letter)
4. P – for prototype engines (have never seen, heard, or read of one. Surely they are well guarded).
The second character or first number designates the engine type.
· 2 – V6
· 3 - inline 6
· 4 – inline 4
· 5 – inline 6
· 6 – V8
· 7 – V12
· 8 – V10
The 3rd digit specifies the engine technology. There is no real key to go along with this one.
The M20 used only 2 valves per cylinder with a timing belt for the single camshaft and adjustable valves. Old school! The M30 , was the first "big 6" and was produced from 1968 – 1994 for E12, E28, E34, E24, E23 and E32 cars.
Still only a 2 valve per cylinder and an adjustable valvetrain, but upgraded to a timing chain. Timing chains are now used on all BMW engines. They are much more accurate and reliable than belts. There is also no maintenance interval for chains like there is for changing a belt every 60,000 miles or the catastrophic consequences with this common failure.
The first technical innovations came with the arrival of the M50 in 1989. Production ran until 1995 and came installed in E34's and E36's. These included 4 valves per cylinder, dual overhead cam valvetrain, direct stationary ignition (RZV) or coil-on-plug, and fully sequential fuel injection. Still modest technology compared to today's standards. A technically upgraded (M50TU) version came in 1993.
This saw the introduction of VANOS. The VANOS system was initially only used on the intake cam to provide a variable duration of valve timing to improve engine efficiency and power delivery . The "TU" variant also featured cylinder selective knock control, HFM (hot film meter) air mass sensing, and secondary ignition monitoring .
The M52 followed in 1996. This was developed to comply with OBD regulations at that time. What we now know as OBDII. Mechanically similar to the M50, the M52 basically introduced a new engine control system to comply with the regulations. A slight horsepower increase and a large increase in torque were beneficial side effects of the new management system. In 1999 the M52 received a technical update. The M52TU introduced most of the technology and laid the basic building blocks for the venerable M54.
The M54 came out the following year in 2000 and production continued until 2006, powering E46, Z3, Z4, E39, E60, X3, and X5 automobiles. The major mechanical change (in North America anyway) was from the M52TU's iron crankcase to all aluminum crankcase and cylinder head. Technical innovations included an electronic throttle (throttle cables were completely eliminated from the M54 onward), variable intake runner length (this will be referred to as DISA), Double VANOS (now intake and exhaust), and new emissions control devices that included "near engine" catalytic converters, and secondary air injection.
Then "new generation" engines will be the main focus of my engine technical articles. For 2 reasons; these are the engines I am personally most well versed in and spend the most time working on, secondly; they have the newest innovations which includes all of the aforementioned ones.
But since I don't want to overload you with too much information at once, I'll stop here but tune in this week when I will talk about the latest, exciting BMW engines.
G-POWER has done it again. The M3 Hurricane can now be named the fastest sedan in the world, breaking a long-standing record of the Brabus Rocket. Back in March, we wrote about G-Power's tuning program, named "Hurricane", and also about their 730 horsepower M5.
At the time, the M5 ran the track with a top speed of 200 mph, but G-Power had bigger plans for their M5. In November 2008, G-POWER M5 Hurricane RS achieved a top speed of 228.4 mph (367,59 km/h). The previous 227.2 mph (365,7 km/h) hold by the Brabus, has been broken. The test took place on tracks in Papenburg.
While the Brabus has a V12, G-Power uses only a simple V10 from the shelves of BMW and modified this engine with other two superchargers from G-POWER's technology partner ASA, with enlarged capacity.
According to G-POWER the BI-Kompressor system could be raised from 0,7 bar rel. to 0,8 bar rel., but the system has not reached its limit yet. Companies representatives confirmed that if needed, the system could be improved and the M5 Hurricane could be taken to a whole new level.
Which level that might be, time will tell. We're almost positive that Brabus has something in-works to regain the lost status.
[Source: Autoblog.nl ]
More photos after the jump
And here is a video with the M5 Hurricane beind drives on the Autobahn
Our friend Jonathan Spira just made available a beautiful 2009 Calendar featuring the new 7 Series. Jonathan was one of the first to drive a new BMW 7 Series through Europe. This calendar includes 13 photographs of the car and the trip. He drove 1600 kilometers on the trip, visiting Germanz, Austria, and Slovenia.
Mr. Spira is the author of "The History of Photography" (Aperture, 2001), named a New York Times "Best Book of the Year". This calendar captures the elegance and power of BMW's latest masterpiece, the all new 7 Series. If you're looking to replace your 08 calendar with something more bimmerish like, then this could be the perfect choice.
To preview the calendar, click here and then choose "Preview This Book"
The BMW Z8 and the old-timer Isetta are two cars that we don't get to see very often. If the Z8 could be spotted once in a while on the roads, Isetta can only be seen in museums or vintage car shows. The first BMW Isetta appeared in 1955 and it was powered by a BMW one-cylinder, four-stroke, 247 cc motorcycle engine making 13 hp (10 kW).
The BMW Isetta 250 started to become even more popular and the car was also redesigned to take a modified version of the 250 cc 4-stroke engine from the BMW R25/3 motorcycle and the front suspension was changed. The single-cylinder generated 12 hp (9 kW) at 5800 rpm. The crankcase and cylinder were made of cast iron, the cylinder head of aluminium. However, the head was rotated by 180 degrees compared with the motorcycle engine. The twin-bearing crankshaft was also different in the Isetta power unit, being larger and featuring reinforced bearings.
The power train from the four-speed gearbox to the two rear wheels was also unusual: fixed to the gearbox output drive was something called a Hardy disc, which was a cardan joint made of rubber. On the other side of it was a cardan shaft, and finally a second Hardy disc, which in turn was located at the entrance to a chain case. A duplex chain running in an oil bath led finally to a rigid shaft, at each end of which were the two rear wheels. Thanks to this elaborate power transfer, the engine-gearbox unit was both free of tension and well soundproofed in its linkage to the rear axle.
Isetta 300, the car featured in the photos taken by our friend Palbay, has seen some improvements from the previous version. The bubble windows were replaced by longer, slidding side windows and BMW had enlarged the single cylinder to a 72 mm bore and 73 mm stroke, which gave a displacement of exactly 298 cc, and at the same time they raised the compression ratio from 6.8 to 7.0:1. In this way the engine now generated 13 hp (10 kW) at 5200 rpm, and the torque rose to 18.4 N·m at 4600 rpm. The maximum speed remained at 85 km/h (53 mph). Isetta 300 was still possible to be driven without a license despite the fact that from 1956 first-time drifvers had to pass the test for Class III if they wanted to drive an automobile.
Also, according to history books, the 250 cc engine did not qualify for full tax discounts, so BMW moved the Isetta to 300 cc.
Now, let's talk a bit about the beautiful, rare, head-turning BMW Z8. The high-class roadster made its debut in 2000 and for its three years life span, there were 5,703 units built. The Z8 was the production variant of the 1997 Z07 concept car, which was designed by Henrik Fisker at BMW's Designworks in Southern California. The Z07 originally was designed as a styling exercise intended to evoke and celebrate the 1956-'59 BMW 507.
The original Z07 had been designed with production in mind. But due to regulatory laws and customer feedback some changes were made for the production model. The windshield of the Z8 was extended upward, and a larger front airdam was fitted. Both changes were implemented to provide aerodynamic stability and a reasonably placid cockpit environment. The four spoke steering wheel of the concept car was replaced by a three spoke design. The hardtop was changed from a double-bubble form with a tapering faring to a single dome with a truncated convex backside. The concept's exotic driver's side helmet fairing was eliminated to allow easy operation of the power soft top.
At $128,000, the Z8 was placed near high-end of BMW's lineup. The car had an all aluminum chassis and body and used a 4.9 L (4941 cc) 32 valve V8, that developed 400 hp (294 kW) and 500 Nm (363 lb·ft). This engine was built by the BMW M division and was shared with the E39 M5. The engine was located behind the front axle in order to provide the car with 50/50 weight distribution. The factory claimed a 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62.5 mph) time of 4.7 seconds, but faster times were achieved by professional drivers and car magazines. The usual stop on the top speed was present in the Z8 as well, 155 mph (249 km/h), but several tuners were able to achieve 186 mph (300 km/h) with an unlocked chip.
I won't get into many details now, we'll save those for a full review of the Z8, so I will rather have you take a look at the images that were snapped by Palbay.