Here’s a simple fact for you: The BMW Z8 is one of the most beautiful cars ever manufactured. I always sort of forget about the Z8, because it had such an unusual place in BMW’s lineup — but then I saw one last week near Detroit, and it all came rushing back. And I’m glad it did, because … wow.
For those of you who don’t know about the Z8, here’s the situation: It was sold in the U.S. from 2000 to 2003, and it came with the same drivetrain as the highly appreciated “E39” BMW M5: a 400-horsepower 4.9-liter V8, mated to a 6-speed manual. Zero-to-60 was somewhere in the mid-4 second range, and the original price tag was around $130,000 — which, at the time, was considered absolutely massive money for such a vehicle. Back then, the M5 started at just $71,000, so this thing was double the price of an M5; imagine paying $190,000 today for a BMW roadster that shares its powertrain with the M5.
Initially, the Z8 started to depreciate a little bit, right after it was sold new — I remember seeing them advertised for $100,000 and below in the mid-2000s, and I remember hoping they’d fall even further so I could buy one someday.
Today, the average asking price for a Z8 on Autotrader is just a hair over $200,000, and I think there are a few reasons for it — namely, the fact that the market loves manual transmission cars right now, and also the fact that the market loves the M5, whose powertrain the Z8 uses. But the real reason Z8 values have exploded, I think, is this car’s appearance.
It’s beautiful. It’s gorgeous. Most importantly, it’s simple: a clean, fresh, handsome design that really stands out as timeless. Although it was intended to mimic the BMW 507 roadster from the 1960s, BMW did an excellent job modernizing it, to the point where it doesn’t look like a retro design. More importantly, in the days of aggressive styling, weird jagged lines and sharp edges, the Z8’s design just looks so nice. It isn’t trying too hard. It isn’t too much. It never was. Compare the BMW i8 to the Z8, and you’ll see what I mean.
There’s little other point to this, except to say that the Z8 is gorgeous. The Z8 is tremendously valuable now, partially because it’s gorgeous. And I wish I saw more Z8s on the road. Find a BMW Z8 for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.