Bmw Roadsters: 75-year anniversary

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

The German carmaker BMW will be commemorating its 75-year anniversary of creating sports cars familiarly known as Roadsters. The first Sports Roadster prototype was introduced by BMW in May of 1934 at the Berlin Motor Show with its long and smooth hood, low windshield, two seats and an emergency roof.

Since it was related to the 315 sedan, the car became known as the 315/1 and came with large wheel arches and rear wheels that were fully covered.

Power came from a 1.5-liter straight-six engine worth 40hp (29kW). In succeeding years, more potent variants were added and the car participated in many races where it became quite successful. After the 315, the carmaker came out with the 328 Roadster which came with an 80hp (59kW) powerplant. It was able to reach a maximum speed of 155km/h and remains the rarest BMW since there were only a limited run of 464 copies.

Then the 507 model came out which BMW introduced in 1995 at the New York event.The 507 is considered to be the defining model for the future of BMW's roadster program with its snub beefy rear section, flat kidney grill and widely flowing curves.

The car was powered by the series-production aluminum V8 unit, a first in the world, which came with a 3.2-liter displacement and generated 150hp (110kW). The top speed for the 507 was 220km/h and there were only 251 copies sold by the carmaker. Beginning with the Z1 which came out in 1988, BMW began the present Z class.

The original Z came with 170hp (125kW) 2.5-liter straight six powerplant. It tipped the scales at 1,250kg (2,765lbs), and was able to sprint from standstill to 100km/h in less than 8 seconds, and reached a maximum speed of 225km/h. Although the Z1 has steel monocoque body, its outer skin was totally made of plastic panels. Up to the year 1991 a total of 8000 Z1s were produced.

The Z3 replaced the Z1 and it came with a range of powerplant choices including the famous 325hp (239kW) 3.2 straight six from the M3. A rare Z8 that measured 4.4 meter came out and appeared in the 1999 James Bond movie entitle The World is not Enough. The Z8 was equipped with the 4.9-liter V8 that was found in the M5 at the time, enabling it to get 400hp (294kW). Then, in 2003 the Z4 era began with two variants until today with the hard-top version.

Topics: bmw, roadster

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