SVE Oletha Is The High-Performance Z8 BMW Never Made - story fullscreen Fullscreen

SVE Oletha Is The High-Performance Z8 BMW Never Made

Did SVE make the perfect BMW? This BMW Z8-lookalike is actually a Z4 with an M3 GTS V-8 Engine stuffed in It

For better or worse (definitely worse), it seems that old-school performance cars with driver engagement in mind will be built by boutique manufacturers and in very small numbers. Although we occasionally get cars like the Toyota GR86 and Nissan Z, modern cars keep getting heavier, more complicated, and more artificial. With that being said, Smith Vehicle Engineering (SVE) has taken a BMW Z4 E86 and has done something remarkable with it.

SVE Oletha Is The High-Performance Z8 BMW Never Made Exterior
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A proper driver’s machine
Power hits the rear wheels through a six-speed manual and a mechanical LSD

If you feel bad about not going for a BMW Z8, the Oletha, as named by its creators at SVE, features a bespoke carbon-fiber body that’s heavily inspired by the Chris Bengal-designed Z8, which in turn, was a modern tribute to the BMW 507.

Neither the Z4 nor the Z8 (or 507) were coupes. They were all roadsters, even though you could opt for a removable hardtop on both.

However, the people at SVE have mended that and their Z4-based Oletha is now a proper coupe.

This, no doubt, improves the structural rigidity of the car, which is important, especially given what’s under the hood – more on that in a bit.

SVE Oletha Is The High-Performance Z8 BMW Never Made Exterior
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Classic, ala 60s side profile
Clean lines and curved haunches are as classically correct as a BMW 507. The front fenders feature Z8-style air outlets

Design-wise, the car gives an accurate idea of what a BMW Z8 Coupe may have looked like. The front end has retained a more classic version of the kidney grille, similar to that of the Z8 and 507. There is also a hood scoop, which is a much bigger version of the one seen on the BMW 507. The headlights are almost identical to those of the Z8, although the projectors are positioned slightly differently. Nevertheless, it gets the idea across, while boasting astonishing looks.

The front fenders now feature BMW Z8-like air outlets and the fastback roofline gently swoops down towards the Z8-inspired rear end, which features thin taillights and two chunky exhaust tips on either side. To top it all off, there’s also an active rear spoiler, which is cleverly integrated at the rear.

SVE Oletha Is The High-Performance Z8 BMW Never Made Exterior
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Would you drive one?

Engine-wise, SVE says you’ll be able to choose between a couple of BMW’s most legendary engines. The S54 seems like a logical choice and, indeed, it will be offered. However, this particular example is equipped with the BMW S65 V-8 from the BMW M3 E92 GTS.

This means 450 horsepower at 8,300 RPM and 325 pound-feet (440 Nm) at 3,740 RPM.

In the noticeably bigger and heavier M3 GTS, the V-8 “brute” was good for a 4.1-second 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) sprint and a top speed of 190 mph (305 km/h). With a curb weight of 3,086 pounds (1,400 kg), the SVE Oletha is 322 pounds (146 kg) lighter than the E92 M3 GTS. Power from the 4.4-liter normally-aspirated V-8 is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox and a mechanical limited-slip differential.

SVE Oletha specifications
Engine V-8
Power 450 HP @ 8,300 RPM
Torque 325 LB-FT @ 3,740 RPM
Weight 3,086 lbs
Transmission six-speed manual
SVE Oletha Is The High-Performance Z8 BMW Never Made Exterior
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Design cues from the Z8 and 507
The kidney grille has been kept, while the headlights are true to the Z8 design. There’s also a hood scoop like the one on a 507, only bigger

Complementing the mighty V-8 are a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, cladding the forged wheels with a classic five-spoke design. SVE has also thrown in AP racing aluminum control arms and stainless-steel, adjustable KW dampers.

SVE hasn’t given us any interior shots yet, but they promise that the Z4’s driver-focused interior will be heavily revised and “dressed” in the highest-quality materials.

SVE Oletha Is The High-Performance Z8 BMW Never Made Exterior
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SVE also promises a bespoke, highly finished interior
Sadly, they haven’t provided any images yet

They really should be high-quality considering the price. Despite being based on the rather old BMW E86 Z4, the SVE Oletha has a starting price of $450,000. Granted, it’s a lot of dough for an old Beemer, but all that craftsmanship and high-end materials doesn’t come cheap. And let’s not forget that screaming V-8 engine. Moreover, you pay for the exclusivity as SVE plans to make no more than 100 of these.

Source: All images courtesy of Ted Seven Photography/Smith Vehicle Engineering

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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