Originally posted by Virtual_Insanity:
Yeah the Z8 is a great looking car
From what I have read is that this is the final year of production for it and I think either Dinan,Alpine or another BMW specialist will be making the last batch all with standard automatics and some suspension and engine tweeking.
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Your close on that - the car you are referring to is the Alpina Z8 Switchtronic and it actually uses an entirely different engine, replacing the car's standard M5 engine with a derivative of the X5's 4.6is engine that has been tweaked by Alpina.
The new engine actually makes a little less HP than the M5 V8, but it puts down more torque and has a better curve as well. The car also has significant suspension tuning changes to make the car softer, which compensates for the tiny rubber bands wrapped around the Alpina 20" wheelwheels; it features some interior tweaks and 20" wheels that look much nicer than what came stock. It's available in only black or silver in the US this year and I believe that this will indeed be the car's last year of production world wide.
You were right that the only transmission choice is indeed an automatic, but Alpina has added buttons to each side of the steering wheel to allow for manual upshifts/downshifts like several other companies offer. That's where the "Switchtronic" portion of it's name comes from.
The "manual transmission only" configration of the standard Z8 has actually served to hurt it's sales against cars like the Mercedes SL's and Jaguar XKR's which are both only available with 5-speed auto's. Unfortunately, the Z8 is already priced higher than the two cars I mentioned, so they're causing it to compete with cars that it really doesn't stand a chance against performance-wise. Personally, I would much rather purchase the new MBZ SL55 - which is an insane monster with it's new supercharged engine - for the same or possible less money than this Alpina Z8, or get a Modena for a little bit more.
BTW: I live rather close to BMW's West Coast R&D facility as well as their design studio known as DesignWorks, and have seen the blue Alpina Z8 concept twice now. One of those times I found it sitting in a fast food restaurant parking lot and ended up having a good 20 minute conversation with the R&D guys who were there with it - unfortunately, I couldn't trick them into giving me a ride. I'll share a photo of the car to give others an idea what we are talking about here. I simply love the Z8 in this blue color and it looks even better with the Alpina tweaks. It's quite a shame they aren't offering the Alpina in blue here in the US... not that I could afford one anyway.
[ 04-05-2003, 01:22 AM: Message edited by: Peloton25 ]