Ryan Merrill © 2014, courtesy of Auctions America
The Z8 is BMW’s spiritual successor to the 1950s 507 roadster. Both have a long hood with short deck design, which creates a powerful and sporty appearance. This limited-production roadster with optional hard top is equipped with a 4.9-liter DOHC V8 as used in the M5, mated to a proper 6-speed manual gearbox and producing nearly 400 horsepower. The Z8 has electronic traction control and four-wheel ventilated disc brakes with ABS and factory alloy wheels. This example has fewer than 51,000 miles and is handsomely presented in Titanium Silver Metallic with a black leather interior. The removable hard top is in the same color as the body and has a rear-window defogger. The soft top is black and the remote mirrors are chrome. In developing the Z8, BMW married form and function like never before. The design is flawless from any angle, inside and out, carried over from Henrik Fisker’s Z07 concept introduced at Tokyo in 1997 and paying homage to the Count Albrecht Goertz-designed 507 of the 1950s with side vents, a sleek front end and such retro touches as a banjo-type steering wheel. With 50/50 weight distribution and the acceleration of a Ferrari 360 Modena, this was BMW’s fastest roadster to date, the movie car choice of James Bond and a true supercar with brilliant braking and cornering. Motor Trend magazine brought out its true “M” potential, achieving a 0–60-mph sprint of just 4.2 seconds, and top speed was reported as 155 mph.

SCM Analysis


Years Produced:2000–03
Number Produced:5,703
Original List Price:$128,000
SCM Valuation:$100,000–$125,000
Tune Up Cost:$400
Distributor Caps:$75
Chassis Number Location:Driver’s side dash at windshield
Engine Number Location:Top of block, stamped between cylinder banks
Club Info:BMW Car Club of America
Alternatives:1999–2004 Porsche 996 Carrera Cabriolet, 2001–04 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 1997–2004 Jaguar XK8 convertible
Investment Grade:C

This car, Lot 743, sold for $98,450, including buyer’s premium, at Auctions America’s Fort Lauderdale, FL, sale on March 16, 2014.

Conventional wisdom says that cars that may become collectible hit their lowest price at about 15 years of age. After that point, prices either stabilize or start heading back up, depending on the particular qualities of the vehicle and, of course, condition.

With an original retail price of $128,000 and 13 years gone by since this Z8 was new, the purchase price of $98,450 seems in line with expectations. SCM’s Price Guide shows a value range of $100,000 up to $125,000.

A total of 5,703 Z8 roadsters were produced from model years 2000 to 2003. A bit less than half (2,543 cars) of that production total was imported to the United States, but many gray-market examples have emigrated as well.

As a note, 555 units of the “Alpina” edition of the Z8 were produced for the 2003 model year, and 450 of those were imported to the U.S. In the Alpina, the 6-speed manual is replaced with a 5-speed automatic — and engine power drops to 383 horsepower. The Alpina trades the Z8 sports car mojo for Grand Touring comfort, and is worth about 10% more than a straight Z8. That tells you who is buying these cars — it’s sure not the boy racers who love tweaking their M3s.

Beating up on Corvette and Ferrari

There’s no doubting the Z8’s performance bona fides. The driveline and chassis of the Z8 are straight out of the deservedly popular M5, and 400 horsepower was a breathtaking amount when this car was built. The Z8 beat the state-of-the-art C5 Corvette Z06 by 15 ponies.

The Z8 also outperformed the Ferrari 360 Modena at the time of its introduction, boasting a 0–60 time of 4.7 seconds. Independent testing found that even that figure might have been understated, as Motor Trend launched one from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds.

Holding steady

So where is the market today? The Z8 seems to have held its value very nicely over the years, and I wouldn’t expect values to go much lower as the cars pass the 15-year basement. This isn’t a Miata that started off cheap and got parked outside — or even a Corvette that has been rendered frumpy by newer and sexier models.

If a buyer wants a BMW with M5 performance and a roadster body, this is the car. If you don’t choose the Z8, you either dig up the extra cash for an M1 coupe and the supercar lifestyle, or go pick up one of the many Z3 or Z4 models and keep a bunch of money in the bank.

Looking at this particular car, the mileage is reasonable, and like all of these models (except the one sawn in half in the service of James Bond), this one has been well cared for. It’s a good bet that the buyer won’t get any nasty surprises at his first oil change. With 50,000 miles on the clock, this car is no museum piece that would benefit from continuing the time-capsule treatment. It is a nice, powerful gentleman’s roadster that will turn heads and remain enjoyable for years to come — and then sell for a reasonable price, even if it doesn’t turn a profit.

However, that evaluation takes place in the mind of the buyer, and we don’t know his motivations. If he purchased this Z8 as a car to drive and enjoy, then we can fairly call the car well bought. If he thinks there’s a big financial upside in his future, then the car was well sold. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of Auctions America.)

Comments are closed.