Monterey | Lot 224
2003 BMW Alpina V8 Roadster
$401,000 USD | Sold
| Monterey, California
25 August 2018
- Only 736 original miles
- The 141st of 555 examples built
- Fully optioned and in as-new condition
- Numerous accessories, including owner’s manuals and tool kit
- Includes matching factory hardtop
BMW’s stunning Z8 roadster was a low-production image car intended to revive memories of the equally beautiful 507 styled by Count Albrecht Goetz in the late 1950s. The Z8 was a powerful brute, fitted with the same 395-bhp overhead-cam V-8 and six-speed manual transmission that powered the redoubtable M5 sedan. What could be better? The answer to that was the impressive drop-top created by famed BMW performance shop Alpina, located not far from Munich in the Bavarian town of Buchloe. For over three decades, Alpina has built small numbers of specialty models that were not practical for BMW to produce.
To make the already impressive Z8 even more desirable, Alpina first considered fitting the V-12 from the big BMW 7-series into the smaller car for greater urge, but it proved too large. Instead, Alpina took the E39 alloy V-8 from the 540i and punched it out to 4.8 liters. This new engine produced slightly less horsepower, but more torque; it was a good match with BMW’s very capable five-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. Thus emerged the BMW Alpina V8 Roadster, appearing just as production of the standard Z8 came to an end.
Testing the new model in early 2003, Car and Driver magazine noted that the driver could control shifting by pressing buttons behind the steering-wheel rim. The aluminum alloy body shell and chassis were produced at BMW’s Dingolfing factory, the new engine with its hand-matched pistons, connecting rods, and polished ports were assembled at Buchloe. The powertrain and chassis were then mated in a dedicated shop at the Munich factory.
This new roadster offered a more luxurious rather than hard-edged package; the suspension was more compliant, conventional low-profile Michelin high-performance tires rather than run-flats were mounted on 20-in. multi-spoked alloy wheels, the interior trim differed from the standard Z8, and of course, the new Alpina was loaded with comfort and convenience features. That said, the Alpina V8 Roadster was no slouch; it could see 60 mph in just five seconds and did not run out of breath until the speedometer read an electronically limited 162 mph.
Just 555 examples of this Alpina variant would be built, each with a specially numbered plaque between the seats, replacing the standard Z8 badging. Offered here is number 141. Presented in glistening black paint over a red/black leather interior, it is one of only 46 examples finished in that combination for the U.S. market. This Alpina V8 Roadster remains in as-new condition, with only 736 miles recorded and the factory’s plastic protective film still covering the carpeting. Equipped with a power folding top, power brakes with ABS, power steering, six-way electric seats, climate control, self-leveling Xenon headlamps, a high-end stereo with remote CD changer, navigation and satellite communication system, stability control, and a security system, it is also supplied with its original factory tool toll, owner’s manuals, spare keys, battery charger, first aid kit, tonneau cover, and front license plate bracket, as well as the original factory hardtop.
Rare and beautiful, this head-turning BMW Alpina offers tremendous performance and ultimate luxury.