BMW Alpina Roadster V8

Harry Metcalfe
29 Jun 2009

Alpina Roadsters were rare as hens' teeth, but shouldn't be overlooked if one comes up on the secondhand market

Three years ago, average Z8 values were drifting below the £50,000 mark, but since then the market has really taken off and today a good, low-mileage Z8 commands a price just north of £100K. For the ultra-rare Alpina Roadster version it’s even higher, a £10K premium not being unusual.

Of the 555 Alpina Roadsters produced in 2002-3, 444 went to the US, six to Canada and the remaining 105 to various other countries around the world, but mainly Japan. None, however, was sold in the UK and all were left-hand drive.

This car is apparently the only BMW Alpina Roadster V8 in the UK, its current owner having imported it from the US around 12 months ago. Its total mileage now stands at 3600 and, as you’d expect, the car is like new.

Alpina Roadsters came with a very different specification to regular BMW Z8s, the most notable change being the 375bhp Alpina 4.8-litre V8 taking the place of the standard car’s 400bhp V8, as the ZF automatic gearbox wasn’t compatible with the high-revving M5 engine. Alpina Roadsters have softer springs too, while the 20in wheels are a unique Alpina design, fitted here with Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tyres (regular Z8s came with run-flats).

Even after driving this Alpina briefly, it’s obvious it has a much more relaxed character than the standard car. The auto works beautifully and the ride is good and not too wallowy, but I really missed the bite of the snarling M5 engine, even if the standard Z8 manual gearbox was never the greatest. Vendor Clive Sutton expects this car will most likely find a home outside the UK. I can understand why.    

With thanks to vendor: Clive Sutton, London (0207 483 6500, www.clivesutton.co.uk)

test

• Exterior
Beautifully presented; unmarked, deep-gloss black paintwork. No scuffs to the Alpina wheels, tyre wear minimal
• Interior
Unmarked black leather interior with those lovely blue Alpina dials
• Mechanicals
Virtually as new, and just serviced too
• Should i buy it?
If you’re looking for one of these, you won’t find a better one anywhere
• FOR: It’s the only one available in the UK
• AGAINST: Very different to the regular Z8, and not necessarily for the better either

Specifications

Price £116,950
Year 2003
Engine V8, 4837cc  
Max power 375bhp @ 5800rpm
Max torque 383lb ft @ 3800rpm
0-60mph 5.0sec (claimed)
Top speed 161mph (limited)

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