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In 2003, BMW partnered with Alpina – the Buchloe, Germany–based BMW tuner recognized as a full-fledged automobile manufacturer by the German Federal Ministry of Transport – to create a limited-production version of the BMW Z8. Named the Alpina V8 Roadster, it was the first Alpina model officially sold in the US. While a total 5,307 Z8 models were manufactured from 1999 to 2003, Alpina placed its badge on a scant 555 examples.
Conceived as more of a grand touring variant of the Z8, Alpina’s engineers replaced the Z8’s high-revving S62 V-8 engine and six-speed manual gearbox with an Alpina-tuned 4.8-liter V-8 producing 375 hp and mated to a ZF automatic five-speed transmission. Modifications made by Alpina included new camshafts, Mahle pistons and connecting rods, and cylinder heads which had larger valves and were ported and polished. The Alpina-built engines were installed in the roadster’s aluminum bodywork in a special shop in BMW’s Munich factory.
Other changes from the Z8 included more relaxed suspension tuning, 20" Alpina Turbine wheels, and a softer grade of Nappa leather that adorned the interior along with special Alpina gauges and a three-spoke steering wheel. Following a test drive, Road & Track magazine reported: “While I expected the car to handle well, its astonishingly good comfort for such a fast and sporting car was a real surprise.”
Incredibly, this Alpina V8 Roadster, car no. 151, displayed just seven miles at the time of cataloguing and is in exemplary, original condition. The striking Jet Black paint beautifully accentuates the car’s lines, which take design cues from BMW’s renowned 507 model. Similarly, the black leather interior also displays little discernible wear.
Included with the sale are the car’s original delivery items, including its original books, keys, tools, car and hardtop covers, wind blocker, BMW Motorola StarTAC cell phone, coffee-table book, and matching hardtop with its stand that has never been assembled and is wrapped in bubble wrap. This lowmileage Alpina V8 offers outstanding performance, wonderful aesthetics, and limited production. Perhaps the lowest-mileage example extant, this opportunity is unlikely to be repeated anytime soon.