Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este

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A modern classic: the BMW Z8Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2024

A modern classic: the BMW Z8Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2024

The BMW Z8 made an immediate impact in 1999 when it was first presented at the IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt (Main). The automobile was a dream car equipped with the technical innovations of the future, while simultaneously being a hommage to the exciting contours of the BMW 507. The long engine bonnet of the Z8 seemingly without end, its generously dimensioned wheels and the side air scoops in the bodywork reprised the car’s legendary forebears. In visual terms, the roadster was one of the most extraordinary vehicles of its time with a length of 4.40 m, 1.83 m width and a height of 1.31 m. BMW Group Classic is celebrating its 25th anniversary at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.

Strikingly beautiful: The BMW Z8 pays homage to the exciting body lines of the BMW 507.

 

The Z8 was fitted with BMW’s most powerful engine at the time – the eight-cylinder powerplant from the BMW M5. Delivering 400 hp (294 kW), it provides acoustically impressive acceleration from a standing start in the sprint to 100 km/h within 4.7 seconds. The driver is able to regulate the raw power of the muscular V8 engine by engaging a precise manual six-speed gearshift with short shift travel. Joint and output shafts optimised for weight and strength deliver the breath-taking propulsive force to the rear wheels. The unremitting forward motion of the hugely impressive roadster only hits the buffers at 250 km/h, at which point the electronics curtail the speed.

The BMW Z8 was produced by means of precise artisan craftsmanship in a manufactory specially set up for the purpose at the BMW Plant Dingolfing in the period from 2000 to 2003. A total of 5,703 units rolled out of the factory gates. Sophisticated aluminium spaceframe technology was used here for the first time. Extruded aluminium sections form a ‘frame’ similar to the wooden structure of a house. The extruded aluminium sections and shell parts are then connected up to form the spaceframe using around 1,000 punch rivets and deploying Metal Inert Gas welding (MIG) to form 57 metres of fusion weld seams. The method of construction guarantees maximum stiffness combined with low weight. A ready-to-drive Z8 weighed in at just 1,585 kilograms kerb weight – a lightweight on the scales, a heavyweight when it comes to performance.

The BMW Z8 was precisely handcrafted in a specially equipped factory at the BMW plant in Dingolfing from 2000 to 2003.

 

The history of the BMW roadster models starts at the Berlin Motor Show in 1934. Back in the day, the marque presented the prototype of a sports roadster with strikingly beautiful contours. The BMW 315/1 Roadster ranked among the sports cars of its era to be taken seriously with a top speed of 120 km/h. This success was followed at the close of 1934 by the BMW 319/1 powered by a 1.9 litre engine tuned to generate 55 hp. On its debut at the Nürburgring on 14th June 1936, the legendary BMW 328 trumped the entire competition. 80 hp and a weight of just 830 kg propelled the elegant roadster to power development that remains impressive even to this day, and a top speed of 155 km/h.

From the mid-1950s, the follow-on sports two-seater in the form of the BMW 507 defined new accents in design and elegance. An extended bonnet, tailormade driver’s compartment and svelte rear end, elongated side lines and gently sweeping curvaceous contours resulted in a timelessly beautiful design. The BMW 507 wore a completely new but nonetheless unambiguously BMW countenance. 251 owners were privileged to take on stewardship of the exclusive car between 1956 and 1959.

It was not until 1988 that a roadster embellished with a white-and-blue bonnet emblem reappeared again in the marketplace. The BMW Z1 continued the legendary history with a trailblazing design. An extremely flat radiator grille and the sloping bonnet herald the extreme sporting credentials of the model from afar. The retractable doors set into the side sills provide a particularly authentic driving experience and additionally make this car a real eyecatcher.

Inspired by the success of the limited-edition BMW Z1, BMW launched the BMW Z3 as a roadster destined for an even bigger circle of customers. The combination of lightweight construction, two-seater open design and signature BMW dynamic handling proved to be an unbeatable formula. This is evidenced to this day in its successor, the BMW Z4. The current third generation of the roadster takes the Z concept to a new level. It features an unorthodox, radically progressive design empowered by the standard M Sport package and the latest engineering.

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