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2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven

Fighting the competition in an all-new niche we didn’t know existed

The year was 2018, and it was time for BMW to have a Halo car outside of the aging i8, but BMW didn’t go for another EV or a high-powered supercar. Instead, after a 20-year hiatus, BMW decided that it was time to revive the 8 Series name, and that’s exactly what happened on June 15, 2018. The modern, sporty 2019 BMW 8 Series shot like an arrow straight to the heart of purists as BMW let out the roaring promise of crippling power in a sexy coupe silhouette – 523 horsepower in M850i form, to be specific. Since the return of the new 8 Series that hot day in the middle of June, the 8 Series lineup has expanded to include the 840i, M850i, M8, and the soon-to-launch Gran Coupe that should be offered in both M850i and M8 form.

Like most BMW fanboys, we started picking apart the new BMW 8 Series. We wondered: Is it worthy of the 8 Series name? Will it be worth the near-six-figure price? Can this large of a car really offer up the performance, handling, and luxury that not only have we come to expect from BMW but from something that wears the crown of a halo car? We’ve set out to find the truth on a number of occasions, and have even compared it on paper to the 6 Series, the Aston Martin DB11, and the Mercedes S-Class. It wasn’t until Summer of 2019 that we actually got to sit behind the wheel of the new 8 Series, though. But, when we did, we were graced with the honor of driving the M850i Convertible – a model that is said to blend 523 horsepower, world-class driving dynamics, and the best open-air feeling on the market.

The question now is, however, does the all-new 8 Series actually live up to the bold claims made by BMW? Well, we spent a whole week with the M850i Convertible, and this is our story. You might want to buckle up because things get interesting!!

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2019 BMW i8 Roadster Driven

2019 BMW i8 Roadster Driven

The reasonably powered supercar

The BMW i8 Roadster is the car you want to have if you want to make more statements at once. If you want to look wealthy, unusual, and with an eye towards our future, you should park an i8 in your driveway. The 2+2 sports car still looks fresh six years into its production cycle and, as much as we love the glassed roof of the coupe, this roadster version is the one to have during the summer months. We took one for a spin to see if BMW has lost the lead in the hybrid sports car segment or if the i8 is still the king of the crop.

Now, the first thing you must know about the i8 Roadster is the concession it pushes you to make: due to the fact that you no longer have a fixed roof over your head and, instead, you have to make do with a soft top, there are o back seats. The place where the back seats used to be is eaten up by the two-piece, electrified roof when it’s folded away from view. On the other hand, you do get just as much oomph as in the case of the Coupe, namely 369 horsepower combined that translate to a 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds. Also, the roofless i8 was the first to come with the 11.6 kWh battery pack that feeds the single synchronous electric motor on the front axle and the one that sits on the back axle, near the engine.

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BMW Teases Z4 Before Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Debut

BMW Teases Z4 Before Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Debut

The wait is almost over!

After years of rumors, spy shots, and leaks, it looks as though the full public release for the new BMW Z4 is just a few weeks out. The German brand is teasing the debut of an “all-new BMW production car” slated to drop cover during Monterey Car Week, and by all accounts, it’s looking like the hotly anticipated two-seater performance roadster will steal the spotlight.

Continue reading for the full story.

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A BMW 507 Brought in More Than $5 Million at the 2018 Goodwood Auction!

A BMW 507 Brought in More Than $5 Million at the 2018 Goodwood Auction!

It doesn’t get any sexier than the BMW 507 Roadster

A 1957 BMW 507 Roadster sold for more than $5 million at the recent Bonham auction at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed. The final price not only doubled the car’s pre-auction estimate — it was expected to fetch around $2.5 million — it also blew past the highest price ever paid for a BMW 507 by more than $2 million.

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1998 - 2002 BMW M Coupe

1998 - 2002 BMW M Coupe

Weird that goes fast

It’s been called the “clown shoe” on more than one occasion. Personally, I think it looks like a Dutch clog, but that’s just me. Whatever you want to call it, the BMW M Coupe is undeniably unique, and the individuality runs much deeper than simple aesthetics. From a numbers standpoint, it’s one of the lowest production BMWs ever made. Philosophically, the M Coupe was built by engineers for people who want to go fast, completely removed from the velocity-killing forces of branding and marketing. Rather, the approach taken here was more backyard-special than high-gloss advertisement – low weight, high horsepower, lots of rubber, and let the public think whatever it wants.

While at times unbridled and unforgiving, the M Coupe is still whip-smart, with handling that takes finesse and patience to master. A true enthusiast’s vehicle, Car and Driver called it “nerd chic,” while U.S. owners gather every year to share their passion at an event called Dorkfest. Let’s just say appeal is limited, at best.

While rarity and explicit weirdness have pushed the M Coupe into obscurity, car lovers of every stripe would do well to regard it as the fast, unhinged shooting-brake challenge that was never truly answered.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1998 – 2002 BMW M Coupe.

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Join us for our first-ever LIVE TopSpeed Podcast!

Join us for our first-ever LIVE TopSpeed Podcast!

***We will start this party at approximately 0945 US EASTERN TIME***

Ladies and Gentleman, you are invited to join us for a special early-week TopSpeed Podcast. The best part? It is totally live. Feel free to click the play button on the YouTube video to hang out with us; you can even chat and comment live to give us feedback and ask us questions.

I know the show is a few days early, but I have a special announcement to make. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it involves lots of horsepower and an epic road trip. You have to watch to see what the announcement is.

Beyond the special announcement, we are going to talk about Justin’s drive of the new 4-Series, the new McLaren P13 GT and the future of solar powered roads.

Mark is also going to regale us with tales of his time with the Chrysler Town & Country, and then we plan on discussing the changed coming to the 2015 Nissan Frontier and then we plan on covering the crazy Hyundai Veloster Midship Concept.

We may have another piece of news or two, and of course we will have viewer questions, and a round of Own, Drive, Burn.

Click that play button and hang out!

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Video: History of BMW Roadsters

Video: History of BMW Roadsters

BMW’s illustrious history began during World War I when the now-successful luxury car-builder developed fighter aircraft-engine. At the end of the WWI it switched to developing motorcycles, then in 1929, BMW bought its way into the car industry when it purchased the Dixi Car factory and started developing automobiles — some of its best were elegant roadsters.

The first roadster to roll out of Bimmer’s factory was the 315/1, which was based on the 315 saloon. From here, things evolved to the 328, which was one of the most successful roadster ever developed by BM and won the Mille Miglia in many times and the 1939 24 Hours of Le Mans.

After the WWII, BMW was in great trouble and it needed a car to rescue it, and BMW thought that car was the 507. It was indeed a great car, with one of the most gorgeous design languages in the era and a powerful engine under the hood. However, because of its high price — $10,500 — the 507 was almost responsible for putting the BMW into bankruptcy. Only 252 units were ever developed, despite BMW’s 5,000-units-per-year projection.

Next BMW started to develop the Z series, with the Z1 being the first model. What is very cool about the Z1 is that the doors drop down into the door sills so you can drive it with no doors. Next we had the Z3, Z8 and the current Z4. The black sheep of the family was the Z3, which never really looked or felt like a BMW.

Check out the video (above) to get a closer look at Bimmer’s history of roadsters.

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Auto Club Revolution Puts Your Digital Butt in the New BMW Z4 sDrive35is First

Auto Club Revolution Puts Your Digital Butt in the New BMW Z4 sDrive35is First

BMW has promised us the revised 2014 (2013 in the Euro market) BMW Z4 and its most anticipated version, the sDrive35is, sometime in the spring of 2013. Well, spring has officially sprung and we have yet to hear a peep from BMW regarding this revised model.

Fortunately, the folks over at Eutechnyx, the company that bring us the free online racing game “Auto Club Revolution,” have developed a special relationship with Bimmer and have permission to sneak the digi-version of the Z4 sDrive35is into the game a little early. Preorders for the car started today (April 11th) and it will set you back about 356 VPR on the game, which translates out to roughly $3.50 if you buy the credits. The Z4 is set to be released on the game on April 24th.

What’s more, the first 200 buyers to preorder it will get access to the car on the 17th, giving them a full week of drop-top-racing fun before everyone else. Now is the time to buy too, as “Auto Club Revolution” is having a flash sale through the 16th, which gets you up to 50 percent off of all the available cars.

If you’re not too sure if the Z4 is for you, you can see it in action in the above trailer.

You can download the game to your PC here. If you already have the game, you can preorder you digital Z4 sDrive35is here.

Click past the jump to read the full press release and more on the 2014 Z4

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Next BMW Z4 May be Built on Toyota GT86 Platform

Next BMW Z4 May be Built on Toyota GT86 Platform

BMW and Toyota recently signed an agreement that will bring the two companies new fuel-efficient technologies and at least two new sports cars: a new-generation Z4 sports car for Bimmer and a new-generation Supra for its Japanese partner in crime.

Rumors suggest that both the new Z4 and thenew Supra will be built on the same platform as the GT86 sports coupe. If these rumors turn out to be true, it will mean that the next Z4 will be a much more dynamic handling car than the current generation – not that the current generation is a slouch.

It has been also rumored that BMW is preparing a new V-6 hybrid system that will deliver about 400 horsepower, which is pretty big boost over the current 335 horsepower delivered by the most powerful Z4 version: the sDrive35is.

The new generation BMW Z4 is set to be unveiled in late 2015 as a 2016 model, so we will find out in a few years.

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2017 BMW Z2 Roadster

2017 BMW Z2 Roadster

Rumors of a smaller roadster known as the BMW Z2, which aims to capture the spirit of the departed BMW Z3, have been swirling for several years, but nothing ever happened. Well, Autocar has resurrected the rumors and we now have a little bit of unconfirmed information on this potential model. It looks like it is the real deal, but you’ll have to be the judge.

While the Z4 is slowly transitioning into a GT car, the rumored Z2 will be an open-top, entry-level roadster that gives the opportunity for roadster fans to buy one without shelling a small fortune, an aspect that made the Mazda MX-5 Miata legendary.

While BMW is bound to call this car a "Z3 successor," the omission of RWD alone isn’t deserving of that description. Let’s see what BMW has in store for us in this exciting project they may undertake.

Updated 5/12/2014: Car and Driver has brought to our attention that despite a lack of information, the FWD BMW Z2 is very much still alive and projected to hit the market in late 2016. Prices will range from around $30,000 for the base model to as high as $50k for the M variant.

Click past the jump to read more on the Z2 Roadster.

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2014 BMW Z4

2014 BMW Z4

While we are all waiting for the next-generation Z4, it looks like BMW has slid in a refreshed version for the 2014 model year for good measure. The model has been caught testing in many times and now it will be making its world debut in January 2013 at the Detroit Auto Show.

BMW’s decision to update for the current generation Z4 Roadster shouldn’t be a big surprise to anyone. First, the current-gen Z4 has been on the market since 2009 and secondly, a final decision on a third-generation Z4 is still to be made.

Of course, the updates on the 2014 Z4 aren’t very impressive; in fact, the U.S. market will be the only one not receiving the biggest update — a new entry-level model that features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine. Other updates will be limited to the exterior, and will include updated LED headlights and two new set of wheels… That’s pretty much it!

Updated 12/18/2012: This review has been updated with the official details, images and specs.

Updated 12/26/2012: BMW has unveiled two very cool video for their new Z4 Roadster set to be revealed in Detroit. The new video show the car in action, but also a few exterior and interior design elements.

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BMW i8 Concept Roadster Will Make its North American Debut in LA

BMW i8 Concept Roadster Will Make its North American Debut in LA

For people who have always wanted to see the the much-anticipated BMW i8 Concept Roadster, BMW will soon grant your wish.

BMW has announced that the North American debut of its concept, open-top supercar will occur at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, which opens its doors to the public next week. This debut will allow people to actually enjoy the design in person and will also give us some insight on the future design language that the Bavarian giant will employ.

It’s not only the design that will impress, but the theoretical performance of the concept is also to be admired. Powered by a frugal 3-cylinder gasoline engine that produces 134 horsepower and an electric motor that produces 220 horsepower, the total output of the powertrain comes close to 354 horsepower. With its modular carbon-fiber construction and 50-50 weight distribution, this hybrid powertrain propels the car from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and to a limited top speed of 155 mph.

With hybrid technology being this concept’s key selling point, you likely expect exceptional fuel economy. Well, the i8 definitely doesn’t disappoint in that aspect, as it features an impressive 78 mpg.

The i8 Roadster will be launched for sale sometime in 2014 and is expected to cost about $130,000. If this is true, then roadster enthusiasts, start saving up because this Bimmer is truly a keeper.

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2012 BMW Zagato Roadster

2012 BMW Zagato Roadster

When BMW and Zagato teamed up to introduce the BMW Zagato Coupe at the 2012 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este a few months ago, nobody had any inkling that the two companies had more than just one project up their collective sleeves.

Needless to say, all of us were once again caught by surprise when BMW released a teaser photo of another concept collaboration with Zagato, which made its debut at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance.

We weren’t about to assume what this new concept would be, but we easily made out the image of a BMW roadster, which lead us to think it could be a roadster version of the Zagato Coupe we saw a few months ago.

Well, we were right about it being a roadster version of the BMW Zagato, but what we weren’t expecting was for the new Roadster to carry many characteristics that were all its own. This isn’t just a drop-top version of the Zagato Coupe, this is a whole new level of awesomeness mixed with the superb styling characteristics of BMW and Zagato.

UPDATE 09/10/2012: BMW has unveiled a new video featuring BMW’s Head of Design, Karim Habib, as he explains the design concept behind the Zagato Roadster. Enjoy!

Hit the jump for full details on the BMW Zagato Roadster.

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BMW Shows Off the Z3 V-12 That Never Was

BMW Shows Off the Z3 V-12 That Never Was

BMW’s M division has been long known for doing some pretty crazy things with its cars. We’ve ended up seeing most of their crazy experiments on the roadways in one form or another, but one experiment was so intense that it was axed before it ever saw the light of day. This program was to stuff a V-12 engine into the compact Z3 roadster, which saw production from 1996 through 2002.

This project was kept so tightly under wraps that apparently, BMW had forgotten all about it and just released images of this prototype on Monday. The V-12 stuffed between the Z3’s fenders is unknown for certain, but we can assume that it is the same plant that powered the much larger 750iL, which was a 5.4-liter that pumped out 325 horsepower and 361 pound-feet of torque.

While that’s a ton of power for such a little car, the 5.4-liter engine is far heavier than the 4- and 6-banger engines the Z3 came with. This likely caused some serious handling issues, causing M to scrap the ill-planned idea pretty quickly.

This failed project has now become public knowledge, as the images are plastered on BMW M’s Facebook page, though they don’t tell us exactly what their plans were for it.

Have a look for yourself and imagine how much fun this thing would be in a straight line. Then think about how scary it would be to have to attempt to take a sharp bend.

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2012 BMW Z4 White Wold by Rowen Japan

2012 BMW Z4 White Wold by Rowen Japan

While BMW is currently designing the next generation Z4, Japanese tuner Rowen gave updating the current generation a try. We don’t necessarily think it needs updating, but to each his own.

The updates for the BMW Z4 began with the exterior where the base element was carbon fiber. The kit consists of a new front bumper spoiler, side steps, a side carbon under flap, rear bumper spoiler, and wing all made of carbon fiber. A new set of wheels complete the look, while the rear of the vehicle gets a new titanium high performance exhaust system that weighs 28 lbs less than the standard exhaust. However, Rowen has yet to reveal if this new exhaust system will translate into any changes under the hood, but it is very possible.

On top of those changes, the package also includes a new LED reflector and a LED Z4 emblem to make it a bit more eye-catching.

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2015 BMW Z4

2015 BMW Z4

We brought the first details on the next generation BMW Z4 in the beginning of May 2012 and now British magazine, AutoCar, has put their investigative hats on to bring us even more news on the next Z4. The new details suggest that the next Z4 will be "more agile, athletic and sportier to drive."

The most important change will be made to the bonnet which will be shorter than in the current model. This change can’t be too drastic, however, because US customers are very fond of this feature. BMW opted for this aerodynamic change because it is believed the longer bonnet inhibited fast driving. The rest of the vehicle’s design will remain almost completely unchanged because BMW is adamant on keeping up the character of the Z4.

In terms of power, the next-generation Z4 will benefit from the downsized, four-cylinder N20 engines launched last year in the current generation Z4. Such a decision makes us hope that the famous Z4 M version will make a comeback, even though BMW officials have stated previously that a "business case for an M version of the current car is too weak to justify such a model. "

Expect to see the next generation BMW Z4 launched in 2015.

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2009 - 2012 BMW Z4 Roadster

2009 - 2012 BMW Z4 Roadster

The BMW Z4 is a relatively young model on the market. Its first generation was announced in 2002, and became a very successful model on the market thanks to its beautiful design language and its relatively cheaper price compared to other sports cars.

At the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, BMW brought out the second generation Z4. And, next to a new design language and new engines, the E89 model came with big changes to the line-up: the coupe version was dropped and so was the previous M version. Instead, BMW offered a Z4 sDrive35is version - the most powerful Z4 currently available on the market.

On the US market, the current Z4 line-up includes the Z4 sDrive28i,
the Z4 sDrive35i, and the Z4 sDrive35is with prices ranging from $48,650 to $64,200. In Europe, customers can also opt for the sDrive20i, sDrive23i, or sDrive30i.

Hit the jump to read more about the BMW Z4 E89.

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BMW works on sportier Z4 replacement

BMW works on sportier Z4 replacement

In the past few years, the BMW Z4 has been nearly forgotten. Practically no changes have been made to the sports car since the second generation was unveiled in December 2008, except for the addition of a new four-cylinder engine for the 2012 model year. Now, well-placed company insiders have confirmed that BMW is working on a replacement for the Z4 and that it will be launched in 2015. The new Z4 will be more agile and sportier, but the exterior changes will be "relatively modest in order to avoid alienating fans of the current sports car."

BMW plans to make the current hood a little shorter because they feel it inhibits fast driving. However, it is not very sure how short the new hood will be because customers are pretty excited about this feature, especially here on the US market. The next Z4 will also carry the current four-cylinder N20 engines because they are lighter and offer a more favorable weight distribution.

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BMW i8 Spyder Driving Footage

BMW i8 Spyder Driving Footage

Let’s check the facts on the BMW i8. We have learned that the i8 is heading into production and we know that there is an i8 Spyder now in the “concept” phase. One thing we haven’t seen or heard yet is real life driving videos. On April 2nd, Bimmerpost was kind enough to post a video of the i8 Spyder driving in several situations.

The first video is a nighttime drive in an “undisclosed” location, which is obviously Port Boulevard in Miami, right by the Heat’s home court – yeah, we played sleuth and got an actual picture from the exact position the cameraman was in (after the jump). The second video is of the i8 Spyder cruising through a car garage, which again is likely in Miami.

Okay enough of playing detective. This is the first time we have actually gotten good audio of this gasoline-electric hybrid running and it sounds absolutely awesome. In the first video you can hear the turbocharged 1.3-liter engine and the electric motor working in perfect harmony, making the perfect sound for a “future” car. Hearing it makes us think of The Jetsons meet Back to the Future Part II.

What we can’t wait for is the first time they let someone outside of BMW test the i8 and really push it hard. Hearing this car cranking away at high rpm is likely a sweet melody. We’ll just have to wait a while for that. Until then, we can just enjoy the videos.

Click past the jump for additional videos and our crack detective work on Google Maps.

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2012 BMW i8 Concept Spyder

2012 BMW i8 Concept Spyder

In the past few months, we have seen tons of spy shots for the upcoming BMW i8 Coupe, but not even once have we heard rumors about a possible roadster version of the car. Somehow, BMW has been able to keep a tight lid on this project, but they are now unveiling the first details of the BMW i8 Concept Spyder.

Spyder models are generally top-less versions of their Coupe counterparts, but the new i8 Spyder has a slightly shorter wheelbase and overall length than the i8 Coupe. It has also received laser headlights, a semi-transparent "V" hood, and a rakish windscreen with an integrated spoiler.

Like its coupe brother, the new i8 Spyder combines two different power sources: a 131 HP electric motor on the front axle with a 223 HP turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine on the rear wheels. With a total of 354 HP, the new concept will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5 seconds and can hit a top speed of 155 mph. While running on electric only, the car has an autonomy of 19 miles.

Hit the jump to read more about the new BMW i8 Concept Spyder.

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2000 - 2003 BMW Z8 by Senner Tuning

2000 - 2003 BMW Z8 by Senner Tuning

The BMW Z8 was one of those cars that were great in theory, but lacked true ingenuity in production form. Before that realization, though, BMW built 5,703 units from March 2000 to July 2003, and 555 of those units were an Alpina version - meaning they were equipped with an an automatic gearbox and featured a wider radiator grill and side air intakes created by Henrik Fisker to get something good out of a design that didn’t exactly work out the way they had intended. Needless to say, the Z8 needed some work to crank up its style and Senner Tuning was able to get their hands on one of these models to do just that.

The BMW Z8 by Senner Tuning features a sleek, black exterior with a new set of 19" Work Schwert SC1 wheels in Diamond Black, wrapped around Continental Sport Contact 5P 255/40R19 and 285/35R19 tires. The wheels were then combined with a new set of Racing Gold varnished brake calipers and a new coilover suspension Variant 2 Inox-Line. The suspension comes with an adjustable rebound and a strut bar installed on the reinforced shock mount in the front in order to stabilize the front end. Nothing else was done to the look of the vehicle, which is probably okay because of the engine upgrade provided.

The original Z8 came equipped with a 5.0 liter V8 engine producing 400 HP and 370 lb-ft of torque. With a sports air filter set, a new a stainless steel silencer, and flame tubes designed with metal catalysts, the Z8 by Senner can now deliver an extra 50 HP and 25 lbs-ft, bringing it up to 50 HP and 395 lb-ft of torque. These figures make the Z8 good for a top speed of 186 mph, up from the standard 155.4 mph.

The full conversion kit for the BMW Z8 by Senner Tuning will set customers back 18,900 Euro (or $24,800 at the current exchange rates).

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2012 BMW Z4 by Anabolicar Magazine

2012 BMW Z4 by Anabolicar Magazine

Anabolicar Magazine is one of Germany’s biggest supercar magazines so obviously, they had to have a presence at the just finished 2011 Essen Motor Show. What we didn’t know was that they were bringing a humdinger of a project in the form of a tuned-up BMW Z4.

The show car, which was built specifically for the purpose of displaying it at Essen, comes with plenty of aerodynamic and performance enhancements that compliments the M Package the car already has. The exterior of the Z4 is highlighted by a Green reptile skin finish that was worked on by KK-Cocoon. In addition to that, the Z4 Anabolicar also has a new KW coil-over suspension, an Eisenmann exhaust system, a lowered M-chassis, and a new set of black, 19" OZ Racing alloy wheels. Meanwhile, the modifications for the interior include new M sports seats, a new M steering wheel, and a voice activated navigation system.

Under the hood of the Z4 Anabolicar lies a 3.0-liter inline-six cylinder engine that produces 265 horsepower. All that juice wrapped up in a fancy aesthetic dress results in a sports car that stole the show at the 2011 Essen Motor Show. Then again, we really shouldn’t have expected anything less from one of Germany’s biggest supercar magazines.

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