A history of the BMW Roadsters, from the 30s to the present day
Drew and Alex love their sports
-- the freedom they afford the driver combined with speed and eye-catching looks are, all told, rather lovely. BMW does roadsters really very well indeed. Using traditional BMW design cues and engineering to create fast, good-looking, brilliant-to-drive cars that are attainable dreams for the vast majority of people. The boys decided to look at BMW's roadster background, Drew casting a bearded eye over the classics and Alex looking at the more modern 'Z' cars. There's some real unicorn cars in there. The 328, for example, is a prewar race car that boasts a 2.0-litre six-cylinder engine and a 90 mph top speed. However, it's also achingly beautiful and is an utter joy to drive. If a little dated, that is. Drew's highlight, though, is the ultra-rare 507. The 507 is a car that was going to get BMW back into the sports car game. It was supposed to be a cheaper alternative to the Mercedes 300SL, while being higher quality than the British roadsters on sale at the time. It was designed for the US market and came with a 3.2-litre V8 boasting a dizzying 150 bhp. As with all things that promised much...it flopped. Development costs pushed its price dangerously close to the Mercedes' and lack of interest nearly killed BMW for good.
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Alex's cars start with the Z1, a car that has a spectacular party piece -- you can drive it, legally, with the doors open. A neat trick that: "made driving down the M4 at 70 mph an invigorating experience. Never, ever, again." Before taking a look at the Z4, Alex spends some quality time with one of his favourite cars, the Z8. A former Bond car (sort of) and made in limited numbers, the Z8 combines killer looks inspired by the stunning 507 and a 400 bhp V8 to create some serious drama. This film looks at the evolution of BMW's design, engineering and dynamics over a pretty hefty period of time - one that saw a world war, assassinated presidents, the fall of the Berlin Wall and, of course, the proliferation of the Furby. Enjoy.