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The car being reviewed here is the 2000 BMW Z8. This car has been in the making ever since 1997, when the Z07 kept heads spinning across the motor show circuit's with flashback-retro BMW styling and V8 power under the long bonnet. To date, now the Z8 has arrived with M series power, and retro-sytling, similar to BMW's 507 roadster built in the late 50s. The vents on the side near to the engine compartment are pure oldskool BMW 507...believe me there so much heritage BMW in this car.
The Z8 fuselage is constructed with aluminium body panels in an aluminium jig welded body frame the resulting weight is 500 lbs less than the M5 super-saloon that will compete with the likes of Corvette's. But the M5 contributes its drive train system to this Z8. Under the long bonnet the Z8 packs-a-mean punch...a 5 litre, 4 cam, 32 valve M series V8 making 394 horses and 369 lb-feet of torque. I drove this car with traction control off which was not easy to get off the line with the best times, I tell you... but find the right compromise in power and traction and your at 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, and through the quarter mile in 13 seconds flat at 111 mph. With 13 inch vented discs behind the 18 inch 10 spoke wheels the braking was equally impressive stopping from 70 mph to zero in 165 feet with no fade, even with a little smoke dissipating from the pads.
I think that if you combine this car's performance with highly accurate rack and pinion steering and nearly perfect weight distribution, you have the ingredients for great fun on the road or track; with plenty of power to step the rear end out on demand. Though with 394 hp, in this car you always have to respect the throttle.
For a car that is just as much a fashion statement, it is also very potent bit of machinery, and on the road or track it was an absolute blast ! The show car styling was even more apparent on the interior..I could not see a single piece of BMW standard production hardware. Everything including the 6 speed gearstick was custom made in brushed aluminium. The dashboard was plastic for safety, but simulated quite well, the steel dash's from 50 years ago. The multi-spoke banjo style steering wheel is also a 50s throwback. The centre mounted gauges were easy to adapt to. Ignition was by key then starter button. The modern electronic stereo and modern navigation system and traction control hide under an aluminium panel, and everything else is covered in perfectly finished leather, including the twin roll bars behind the supportive bucket seats. Its the perfect car to spend driving on those sunny days on the country back roads, whilst listening to the exhaust tone of the V8, whilst its rigid chassis and sport tune suspension will have you carving corners with pure joy.
Overall I found the Z8 very involving to drive, and requires you to concentrate at all times, but that's why I liked it