The BMW Sports Car You Probably Forgot About

The BMW Z8

The BMW brand is known for its style, luxury, and performance. The sportier coupes have long taken a supporting role in an otherwise standard line-up of great vehicles. Cars like the 350Z or Z4 are popular among BMW enthusiasts who want the power and luxury of a BMW in a two-seat sports car but are not nearly as popular as their M-sport sedans and coupes.

The Z4 has taken the stage again over the past few months as it has gone under scrutiny and comparison tests with the new Toyota Supra. But there is more to BMW’s history with small sports cars than meets the eye. In fact, there is one sports car that has been forgotten even by BMW enthusiasts: the BMW Z8.

31 Aug 2000: Greg Norman of Australia and the Prince of Bavaria test the new BMW Z8 at the high security BMW test track after the first round of the BMW International Open in Munich, Germany. Mandatory Credit: Paul Severn/ALLSPORT

Production and Styling

Produced from 2000 – 2003, this sporty two-seater is everything you may have dreamt of when you picture a sports car from BMW. With less than 3,000 models sold in the US, the car’s originally selling for $128,000 are now valued at over $200,000. With less than 6,000 ever produced the car will only become rarer.

While the Z8 has moderately similar body lines to the Z4, it lacks a lot of the characteristic styling of BMW cars. Ditching the stereotypical kidney bean grille, the Z8 features a thing, mustache-like grill nestled in a smooth front bumper.

Power and Handling

The Z8 is offered with a front-mounted 4.8L V8 engine that produces 375hp or a 4.9L V8 that produces 394hp. With rear-wheel drive and an aluminum chassis and body for weight reduction, this 3,494lb roadster can make it 0-60 in 4.7second and has a governed top speed of 155mph. Drivers have noted the Z8 offers excellent handling and acceleration that won’t leave you disappointed.

If you find yourself wondering why the Z8 may look so familiar, that’s because it took a starring role in a popular movie. Joining the ranks of cars such as the Lotus Esprit and Aston Martin, the Z8 was once the car of choice for James Bond. That’s right, this spunky BMW is cool enough for James Bond to drive. While many watchers have found themselves wondering what the car actually was, a quick search of the movie The World is Not Enough reveals it to be this lesser-known BMW.

With so few ever made, chances are you may never see one in person. The Z8 is a great example of the style and sport that BMW has always come to offer, and while it may just be part of the manufacturer’s lengthy history, the Z8 will live on in our wildest James-Bond-inspired dreams.