The BMW Z8 was a somewhat unloved car when it was in production between 1999 and 2003, a total of 5,703 Z8’s were built during its brief production run.
All of this was in spite of a strong bout of publicity via a brief and destructive appearance in a Bond film, the Z8 had a starring role in the 1999 Bond film ‘The World Is Not Enough’, this appearance marked BMW’s final tie in with the Bond franchise.
The Z8’s appearance was cut rather short in the film by virtue of it being cut in half by a circular saw hanging from a helicopter belonging to Bond’s arch enemy, Elektra King. Rest easy, though, the car destroyed in the film was a mock up with a tubular chassis and a V8 engine from a Corvette, this was due to the fact that the real Z8 was far from production ready when the film was shot.
The Z8 made its public debut in the form of the Z07 at the 1997 Tokyo Auto Show, at the time it was mind blowingly pretty with its mixture of retro styling and modern technology.
The reaction to the Z07 prompted BMW to put the car into production in 1999, the Henrik Fisker designed Z8 possessed a 4.9 litre V-8 motor producing 400hp and 370ib-ft of torque, all of this power goodness ensure the Z8 was quick for the time, 0-60 took a swift 4.7 seconds according to BMW, top speed was in line with German car-makers gentleman’s agreement of the time and was limited to 155mph.
Another oddity to go along with the Z8’s styling was that, worldwide it was only made in left-hand drive, even here in the UK, also in 1999, £80,000 was a lot of cash for a car that had the wheel on the wrong side, at the time the BMW M5 E49, also with a V-8 and 400hp was around £50,000 which made the Z8 look rather expensive a difficult to live with here in the UK.
Firstly the styling, in 1999 whilst it looked like nothing else on the road, the retro-tastic bodywork and the similarly styled interior was a bit much for some people, cars at the time were just beginning to take the shape of what we know and expect of modern cars, sat-nav screens built into the dashboard, along with various control buttons within easy reach of the driver, you kind of get the picture.
The Z8 for some reason had its dial cluster moved to the middle of the dashboard, which is not very driver focused at all, the retro steering wheel now it looks stunning, UK buyers, however, were not very thrilled, a total of 146 cars were registered in the UK. Around 2002 some of these brand new Z8’s were sitting at BMW dealers for a mere £50,000. By 2009 prices had begun to escalate with used Z8’s going for between £70k to £90k.
Here in 2016, the Z8 is a very rare car, currently, there are two for sale on Autotrader UK, these cars are priced between £180,000 to £199,995 having covered between 7k miles to 17k miles total.
The reasons for this massive price increase is simple, the Z8 looks like nothing else produced in the last two decades, it also has the performance to back up those looks and it’s also super-rare.
Just think in 2002 this was an unloved and somewhat unwanted car that dealers simply couldn’t shift, by the mid 2000’s prices had fallen even further still, I think the Z8 was ahead of its time, retro looks with modern hardware and all the awkwardness of the wheel being on the wrong side and the odd centre dials was a bit much for some people when asked to part with £50k.
Now however it’s a different story making it one of those cars you should have bought when they were cheap, if you own one of these, then we salute you, if you live in the UK then we double salute you as you must have been insane to part with £50k to £80k for one of these when it was new of lightly used.